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Ballard swells DL ranks


Off-the-wall picks started showing up early on the second day of the draft, giving credence to claims this is one of the weakest draft classes in recent history.

The Jaguars selected little-known defensive tackle Clenton Ballard of Southwest Texas State in the sixth round. Ballard, 6-2, 325, was described by one draftnik publication as a "massive widebody with a frame as wide as the White House lawn." Coach Tom Coughlin described Ballard as value that did not represent a reach.

"A large young man who can play; a short-area-quickness player who will obviously be better against the run, but he had 6.5 sacks," Coughlin added.

Ballard, a team-elected captain, provides the Jaguars with another candidate for their depleted defensive line ranks. He will attempt to carve out a niche as a stop-the-run specialist.

"You don't have to be an elite player to make an NFL team, but everyone wants that. The thought here is competitive depth," Coughlin explained. "I would've liked to have gotten a cornerback. You need four," he added.

Several NFL teams made obvious reach-picks in the sixth round, which brought into focus questions about the depth of the pool of talent available to the league's 32 teams.

"You're just in a constant hunt for players who can do a service to the game. Parity has been an obvious goal and it's working," Coughlin said of the shrinking talent base.

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