It is, to say the least, a bold move, the boldest move of Gene Smith's young career as a general manager.
"We did a lot of work on this guy," Smith said of William and Mary cornerback Derek Cox, who the Jaguars made an aggressive move to trade into position to draft. "The last guy I evaluated out of there is Darren Sharper."
If Cox turns out to be the player Sharper was, Smith will be praised for the trade. Until then, however, there will be questions. Smith said he expected them.
"I knew I would have more questions. That's fair," Smith said to a media that grilled him on the Cox pick.
It wasn't as much the pick as it was the trade Smith made with New England to make the pick that raised questions. After selecting Terrance Knighton with the 72nd overall pick, Smith traded a seventh-round pick this year and second-round pick next year to New England for the pick immediately following the Knighton selection. Quickly, the Jaguars selected Cox.
"When you make a move like that you have to feel confident he can play at a level like that," Smith said.
The draftnik books barely acknowledged Cox as a draft prospect; he wasn't even invited to the scouting combine. What gives, Smith was asked?
"Judge him when he gets here," he said.
Cox is a guy the Jaguars had targeted. They think he addresses a desperate need at cornerback. He's an intelligent, high-character, two-time captain whose pro-day workout was eye-popping and supported his on-the-field play on the Division I-AA level.
"Though they were a little under the radar," Smith said of Knighton and Cox, "they weren't from a player personnel standpoint. We do feel he can come in and compete at the cornerback position.
"You get a guy who you feel is a second-round talent. That's why you do it," Smith said of why he made the trade.
With the selection of Cox, all of the Jaguars' first four picks are premium-position players.
"It's a position people covet," Smith said of cornerback. "We'll trust our eyes."