Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

First steps toward a bright future


It was drafting with an eye toward the future. It was an exercise in discipline.

Two picks are in the book and those who were hoping the Jaguars would do something sexy, such as picking a wide receiver, are no doubt disappointed. Those, however, who understand the long-term importance of what the Jaguars did on Saturday and have the patience to wait for the rewards, will probably fall asleep with a smile on their face.

"Big can be sexy. It depends on your appetite," coach Jack Del Rio joked following the selection of offensive tackle Eben Britton in the second round. Britton was preceded by first-round pick Eugene Monroe, making the day a tackle-tackle sweep.

Huh? Two offensive tackles? That's right. You gotta get the big guys early. Finally, the Jaguars would seem to have learned that lesson. Bye-bye wide receiver fever.

"Anybody who understands the game knows what happens in the trenches decides whether you can have success in this league. These are guys you can plug in and they can play for a long time," Del Rio said.

In selecting Monroe, the Jaguars passed on wide receiver Michael Crabtree. In picking Britton, the Jaguars passed on cornerback Darius Butler. Why? Because before the Jaguars can concentrate on winning downfield, they have to first win at the line of scrimmage.

That's what they didn't do last season. They were 23rd in the league in sacks allowed per pass play. They fell hard from second in the league in rushing in 2007 to 18th last year; they didn't come close to producing a 1,000-yard rusher.

In short, the Jaguars didn't protect the passer and didn't open holes for the running game and that's a bad combination. The selections of Monroe and Britton were made for the expressed purpose of reversing the downward trend.

Yeah, there were sexier picks available to them, but those picks would have to wait at least another day. Truth be known, they may have to wait another year. The draft is like that. You can't pick everybody. It takes time to rebuild a football team and, clearly, the Jaguars are in rebuilding. The Monroe and Britton picks say it all.

So, will we look back some day and think how smart and disciplined Gene Smith was in his first-ever draft as general manager to make picks the impact of which would likely be years down the road? It's time we think that way.

"The first guy is a left tackle. That's what he is. He's going to battle to win that job. Whether he wins it or not, he's going to be our left tackle in time," Del Rio said of Monroe.


"We expect him to compete at right tackle or right guard. They'll be our bookends at some time," Del Rio said.

Bookend tackles. Doesn't that sound good?

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content