The Jaguars Chronicles: An outlook for the future

Wayne WeaverI was sent this article by a fan of TheJaggernaut, Matt Mochal. I thought his six page rant about the Jaguars was deserving of a guest post on the site. Enjoy!

This season brings up a lot of potential problems within the team. As many experts and columnists have been writing, Jack Del Rio is on the hot seat. Something that we all knew last year, but the team played well enough to keep him his job for another year.

The same experts have also questioned why the Jaguars would draft a developmental quarterback as well as trade another high pick to acquire that quarterback. Many questions have been raised by these writers, as a consequence of the draft.

“Does Wayne Weaver not want Jack del Rio to succeed this coming season?” Or, “Does Wayne want to use this as bulletin board material?” Or even the question, “Will Wayne bring back Jack regardless of the season results?” 

This brings up an interesting debate within itself. Why take a “franchise” quarterback and submit him to one system if you plan on firing Jack next season, bringing in a new staff and system and also offensive principles and philosophies? That is exactly what happened to Alex Smith in San Francisco, which greatly hindered his growth and development as a starting quarterback.

This brings up a lot of possibilities as to how the Jaguars could handle the coaching staff. Personally, I wouldn’t be opposed to bring in a “hot shot” coordinator to be the head coach and surrounding him with veteran coordinators.

Moving onto the player personnel and the players on the team. I fully expect Gene Smith and Terry McDonough to keep their word and snag up 2-4 starting caliber free agents when the market opens up. I also see us cutting a lot of our “fluff” this season.

When I refer to “fluff” I am talking about those roster fillers who are there as an “oh no” stop gap: See Jordan Black, Guy Whimper, etc. Smith and McDonough came out and said that they wanted to add 19, yes you read that right, 19 free agents, including undrafted and current NFL free agents.

My guess is, based on all of the facts laid out in separate interviews with Smith and McDonough, that it will be four key starting-caliber free agents and 15 undrafted free agents added. (I will be attaching my top 16 undrafted free agents and top Gene Smith undrafted free agents at the end).

Looking towards the building the future of the team and franchise, I have a theory that explains the reason the Jaguars took the “franchise” quarterback this year with the intention to have him sit and wait a year. The Jaguars drafted two defensive ends last year. The idea of the transition to the 3-4 defense with these players never really developed, rather their selections were attributed to the rebuilding of the trenches and getting players to fill needs on the defensive line.

Why would the Jaguars then decide not to stay put and take a defensive end at #16 or in the second round? That would be Gene conceding defeat and claiming both of those picks were busts and not good enough for the NFL.
That same reasoning can be used to explain the Jaguars not taking the top-rated cornerback, Prince Amukamara (he was on the board when we traded up), because Smith believed that Derek Cox was the best corner in the 2009 draft and traded away a second round pick to take him. Or could it be that Gene saw something no one else saw in both Amukamara and Rod Issac, and that Issac is a better player and will put up better stats and starts in the NFL?

The Jaguars need to move, trade or replace Vince Manuwai with UDFA as well as find a developmental player for Brad Meester to teach this offseason. Taking a look at other positions that need to be addressed in the near future, one is the wide receiver position. Looking at the roster the Jaguars currently have seven receivers on the current active roster, with Cecil Shorts III soon to be the eighth.

During the free agency period and training camp, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the cutting, waving, or trading of John Matthews, Tiquan Underwood, and Jarret Dillard. The other practice squad players are also on my chopping block (as in total we have 12 on the roster). The Jaguars will probably be staying put in the free agent pool when it comes to wide outs, but they could very well take a few in UDFA.

The Jacksonville secondary last year was porous and beyond atrocious. The secondary will have to lose a couple of players to make room for the new talent coming in. Among these expendables are William Middleton; if Rod Issac earns the spot as a nickel back, then there is no roster spot for Middleton. I can also see Tyron Brackenridge and Scotty McGee being replaced with a big name free agent or a Gene Smith small school special in undrafted free agency.

With how weak the Jaguars secondary (more so the safeties) looked, I see Don Carey cut for Chris Prosinski, as well as Mike Hamlin cut. Sean Considine will almost surely not be resigned and will enter the free agent market.

Moving on to the linebackers and defensive tackles. Justin Durant is on his way out and Kirk Morrison’s future with the Jaguars is uncertain. He is most likely going to earn a backup spot due to inconsistency, and Daryl Smith will return as the team’s best backer.

There are three “unknowns” behind them, but the only one I see keeping their roster spot is Russell Allen. That opens up three spots assuming Kirk Morrison returns as a backup. This is where things become interesting.

There are rumors that the Jaguars could be targeting 49ers linebacker Manny Lawson and Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny. What people fail to see is that Manny has the elite size, speed, and coverage ability, needed to be an above average, to very good 4-3 outside backer. The reason for Manny’s poor stat lines are that he was told to cover the slot WR and TE.

Unfortunately, Posluszny is a near lock to stay in Buffalo, so looking elsewhere is necessary. However, I could see Stephen Tulloch (might be too much money) or Dhani Jones. The other possibilities on the outside could be Thomas Davis, Thomas Howard, or even Ernie Sims.

That leaves only the defensive tackles. While I don’t see many issues, I do see Leger Douzable and C.J. Mosley being cut. Now that I have prefaced what I see for this franchise, here is who I think could be some targets in both free agency and undrafted free agency. I want to try and keep this as realistic as possible, so my targets make sense, not like some Madden franchise.

First off are my NFL Free Agency targets:

Stephen Tulloch, MLB
Chad Greenway, OLB (although he was tagged)
Thomas Davis, OLB
Manny Lawson, OLB
Dhani Jones, MLB

Defensive Line
Charles Johnson, DE
CJ Ah You, DE

Defensive Back
Brent Grimes, CB (if he doesn’t take tender with ATL)
Johnathan Joseph, CB
Richard Marshall, CB
Brandon Carr, CB
Melin Bullit, S

Offensive Line
Logan Mankins, OG
Alan Faneca, OG
Ryan Kalil, OC

Given some of these signing, Lawson could replace Durant. Joseph could move Mathis to FS (or preferably lead to a trade). Dhani Jones could replace Morrison. That could also mean Rod Issac would fill in as the starting nickel back or play as a special team ace.

With the recent poaching by the UFL of the “top” undrafted free agents, let’s take a look at who are my available players left. These are ranked in no particular order, but are my top 16 left.

David Mims, OT Virginia Union
Ryan Bartholomew, OC Syracuse
Joe Lefeged, SS Rutgers
Sealver Siligia, DT Utah
Nick Bellore, MLB/OLB Central Michigan
Adrian Moten, OLB Maryland
Alex Wujiak, MLB Maryland
Ray Dominguez, OG Arkansas
Jeron Johnson, SS Boise State
Dane Sanzenbacher, WR Ohio State
Jeffry Maehl, WR Oregon
Mario Harvey, MLB Marshall
Zachary Hurd, OG UConn
Kendrick Burney, CB University of North Carolina
Kyle Hix, RT Texas

Small School UDFAs.

Ryan Jones, CB Northwest Missouri State
Height: 5110
Weight: 198
40 Yrd Dash: 4.46 //20 Yrd Dash: 2.61// 10 Yrd Dash: 1.61
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 19 //20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.18
Vertical Jump: 40 //Broad Jump: 10’08” //3-Cone Drill: 6.84

Marc Schiechl, DE Colorado School of the Mines
Height: 6022
Weight: 252
40 Yrd Dash: 4.65
20 Yrd Dash: 2.68
10 Yrd Dash: 1.66 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 38
Vertical Jump: 35
Broad Jump: 10’05”
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.50
3-Cone Drill: 7.18

Martin Parker, DT Richmond

Anthony Gray, DT Southern Mississippi

Cedric Thorton, DT Southern Arkansas
Height: 6031
Weight: 309
40 Yrd Dash: 5.25
20 Yrd Dash: 2.87
10 Yrd Dash: 1.82 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 23

Mana Silva, SS Hawaii
Height: 6006
Weight: 206
40 Yrd Dash: 4.43
20 Yrd Dash: 2.55
10 Yrd Dash: 1.52 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 23
Vertical Jump: 40
Broad Jump: 10’03”
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.16
3-Cone Drill: 6.97

Quinto Spears, DE Prairie View A&M
Height: 6046
Weight: 236
40 Yrd Dash: 4.69
20 Yrd Dash: 2.60
10 Yrd Dash: 1.62 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 21

Stephen Franklin, OLB/MLB Southern Illinois
Height: 5113
Weight: 244
40 Yrd Dash: 4.62
20 Yrd Dash: 2.69
10 Yrd Dash: 1.61 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 18

Michael Lockley, OLB/MLB Florida Atlantic

Vince Agnew, CB Central Michigan
Height: 5100
Weight: 192
40 Yrd Dash: 4.38
20 Yrd Dash: 2.53
10 Yrd Dash: 1.50 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 14

****Josh Gatlin, CB North Dakota State*****Remember this name
Weight: 196
40 Yrd Dash: 4.38
20 Yrd Dash: 2.55
10 Yrd Dash: 1.53 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 08

Brent Vinson, CB/SS North Alabama
Height: 6002
Weight: 205
40 Yrd Dash: 4.50
20 Yrd Dash: 2.58
10 Yrd Dash: 1.56 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 15

Sean Middleton, OC Southeast Missouri State
Height: 6014
Weight: 315
40 Yrd Dash: 5.47
20 Yrd Dash: 3.21
10 Yrd Dash: 1.90 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 19

Trevis Turner, OT Abilene Christian
Height: 6071
Weight: 333
40 Yrd Dash: 5.39
20 Yrd Dash: 3.04

10 Yrd Dash: 1.93 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 22

Kevin Hughes, OT Southeastern Louisiana
Height: 6035
Weight: 302
40 Yrd Dash: 5.19
20 Yrd Dash: 2.93
10 Yrd Dash: 1.72

*****Cameron Bradfield, OT Grand Valley State******
Height: 6037
Weight: 301
40 Yrd Dash: 4.81
20 Yrd Dash: 2.77
10 Yrd Dash: 1.72 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 30

What does all of this mean? It means the Jaguars are no more than two years away from being a very real contender in the AFC South, but more importantly the AFC Conference. Grabbing players this year to fill the needs at linebacker, cornerback, and safety will all but ensure the fact that the 2012 draft will be one addressing “wants” and BAP rather than being forced to hit “needs” again.

This offseason the Jaguars have found replacements for Garrard, Meester, and Mathis. Looking more at the 2012 draft, it appears to be (at this time) stacked at the WR, DB, and LB positions. The Jaguars could be able to get a big play WR in the 1st. They could then follow that with a shutdown corner or safety in the 2nd, with a solid LB in the 3rd and spend picks 4-7 to fill depth.

2012 Jaguars Mock Draft:
Round one: Manti Te’o*, ILB, Notre Dame
Round two: Nigel Bradham, OLB Florida State
Round three: Marvin McNutt, WR Iowa