They had no option but to pick. They couldn't move up and they couldn't move back. All they could do was pick, and it wasn't as simple as that.
Kenechi Udeze's alleged shoulder injury made it difficult. So did the fact that Shawn Andrews' weight ballooned to 400 pounds in January.
Through eight picks of the draft, the choices were easy. The players came off as expected. Everybody knew the names. Then, all of a sudden, the draft reached a soft spot.
You don't take chances with the ninth pick of the draft, and James Harris didn't. The selection of Washington wide receiver Reggie Williams surprised most fans and draftniks, but close examination of the pick would suggest the Jaguars' decision was logical.
Reggie Williams may not have Roy Williams' speed, but the former is an ultra-productive pass-catcher who has the size and skill to be a force in the red zone. Quarterback Byron Leftwich needs a touchdown-maker, and Harris believes Reggie Williams can be that player.
That's how this pick will ultimately be judged. You don't draft catch-and-fall-down guys with the ninth pick of the draft. The top 10 is reserved for wide receivers who are touchdown-makers, and if Williams proves to be that kind of player, he will not have been a "reach."
Roy Williams fell far enough to have teased the Jaguars. He was only two players away and everyone felt the Jaguars would trade with Detroit to bring the Texas star to Jacksonville. But it didn't happen. The Lions, who selected wide receiver Charles Rogers with the second pick of last year's draft, wanted to team Williams with Rogers for young quarterback Joey Harrington.
The Jaguars were in "love" with cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Had the Falcons not selected Hall with the eighth pick, Hall would've been the Jaguars' pick.
When it was the Jaguars' turn to pick at nine, they knew Reggie Williams was their guy. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was available and it was thought the possibility existed that Pittsburgh at 11 or Buffalo at 13 would trade up into the nine spot to draft Roethlisberger. It would've been nice if the Jaguars could've picked up a couple of extra picks, moved down and still got their man, but it didn't happen that way.
Pittsburgh had resigned itself to the fact Buffalo would trade with the Jags, but the Steelers were not willing to part with the picks necessary to keep the Bills out of the spot. The irony is that Buffalo was not willing to part with picks either. The Bills used their first-round pick the previous year to select Willis McGahee, who would be lost for the year as he recovered from knee reconstruction, and the Bills didn't want to spend a second consecutive first-round pick on a player who would not give them immediate impact, as it is felt Roethlisberger is a developmental project. Later in the draft, after having selected wide receiver Lee Evans, the Bills would swing a trade they would use to select quarterback J.P. Losman, a developmental project.
The Jaguars had no options. All they could do was pick. They couldn't entice Pittsburgh or Buffalo with Roethlisberger, because the Steelers and Bills each had other options. The Steelers liked Andrews. The Bills would turn to Losman.
All of this will be forgotten if Reggie Williams returns full value for the pick that was used on him. He won't have been a "reach" if he scores touchdowns.
"I think he's going to be a pleasant surprise. I know he's a bit of a shock because we didn't talk about him much," coach Jack Del Rio said of Williams.
"We knew we would probably have to go up to get the guys who were highest on our board, and if we didn't do that, Reggie Williams would probably be the highest guy on our board at number nine," Harris said.
"We're happy with what we did today," he added.