JACKSONVILLE – A little more than three days out, David Caldwell is ready.
That’s one of the first obvious things Monday afternoon at the Jaguars’ 2013 pre-draft luncheon – that Caldwell, in his first year as the franchise’s General Manager, hardly could feel more prepared with his first NFL draft less than 80 hours away.
The scouting has been done. The meetings have taken place.
And yes, a decision essentially has been made.
“We’re pretty much done with the voting and the polls are closed,” Caldwell said early Monday afternoon on the third floor of EverBank Field in downtown Jacksonville.
As for whose name will appear on the Jaguars’ “ballot” – the draft card that will get carried to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at Radio City Music Hall in New York City Thursday – Caldwell on Monday wasn’t saying.
The Jaguars hold the No. 2 overall selection in the first round of the draft, and with the Kansas City Chiefs not yet saying who they will select No. 1, Caldwell said recently he is down to two selections. He reiterated Monday that he pretty much knows the selection.
“I think we have a pretty good idea,” Caldwell said during an hour-long luncheon Monday also featuring Head Coach Gus Bradley.
Caldwell also said that despite pre-draft conversations with teams around the league regarding a trade there’s a pretty good chance the Jaguars indeed will be using the No. 2 selection.
“I’d be surprised if we don’t draft second,” he said, adding that the Jaguars’ first selection of the second round – the No. 33 overall selection – still could be the more valuable selection in terms of trade value.
“The 33rd pick will be a valuable pick,” he said. “What happens is every team sees how the first round unfolds and then coming into the second round everyone has their game plan to see who’s still available. There are always going to be one or two players available where teams say, ‘Wow, I didn’t think he’d fall through the first round.’ Hopefully, that’s the same this year.”
Caldwell said that overall he agrees with the widely held belief that while there may not be a superstar at the top of this year’s draft, it is a deep, solid draft, overall.
“I think it’s a good draft,” Caldwell said. “Where we’re picking at two, we’re going to get a good player, and we think we’re going to come out with at least seven good football players.”
Bradley and Caldwell each said the Jaguars enter the draft with significant needs around the roster, and that the idea of this draft isn’t to try to fill every need as much as it is to acquire talent at as many positions as possible.
“Ideally, if it’s best available, it fits a need,” Caldwell said.
Bradley has said often since his hiring that the idea of the first year is to get better every day, and to have as much open competition around the roster as possible. He and Caldwell each said again Monday that remains the approach and that the process of putting together the roster will continue after the draft – not only into college free agency after the draft, but through training camp and into the season.
“We won’t be able to meet all of our needs and we understand that,” Bradley said. “Our focus is on, ‘Let’s take the best available and stick to that.’ If you’re building for the future, you want to try to take the best available.”
Caldwell, late in the luncheon, was asked if he was nervous as his first draft approach.
“Not yet,” he said, smiling and adding, “I think I’ll be OK. It is what it is and we’re excited to be a better team after this weekend.”