The Jaguars used their first-round pick on a wide receiver, his name is Williams and they didn't have to trade up to get him. Reggie Williams, not Roy Williams, is that wide receiver.
"We felt Reggie belonged in the same class with the two guys ahead of him," Del Rio said, referring to the first two wide receivers selected, Larry Fitzgerald and Roy Williams. "Everybody is going to have their own take on their boards. We have ours, you have yours."
The Jaguars did a very good job of hiding their interest in Reggie Williams, though he was one of the many players who visited Alltel Stadium prior to today's NFL draft. It was thought the Jaguars might trade up for Fitzgerald, Roy Williams or tight end Kellen Winslow, and it was widely considered USC defensive end Kenechi Udeze would be the team's pick if it stayed at nine.
But rumors that Udeze had suffered a shoulder injury that would require surgery may have scared off the Jaguars, and even though Roy Williams got to within two picks of the Jaguars, Harris and Del Rio were not willing to part with picks to move up.
"We wanted to protect our draft. We didn't want to give away our draft for one player," Del Rio said of the many conversations the Jaguars had with teams above them in the draft order.
By the time the draft got to the Jaguars' spot at number nine, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was the only consensus premium pick remaining, and the Jaguars were not going to pick a quarterback in the first round for the second consecutive year. Pittsburgh, who selected Roethlisberger at 11, and Buffalo at 13 inquired about the possibility of trading into the Jaguars' spot. Buffalo was thought to also want Roethlisberger.
"Never anything concrete or anything for which we were willing to risk Reggie Williams," Harris said. "Just to get another pick to go back, we were not interested."
"We didn't want to get behind people and give them a chance to get him," Del Rio said of selecting Williams. Udeze was available, but "we decided this is a better fit for us," he added. Del Rio said Udeze "did not fail" the Jaguars' physical, as it was rumored he had.
The major concern about Williams was thought to be his speed. Harris said the best 40-time Williams ran for the Jaguars was 4.49. Some reports had him in the 4.6's.
"Some people have a different time on him. He picks up speed as he runs," Harris said of a trait widely used to describe all-time great wide receiver Jerry Rice's running ability.
"This has been a dominant player. He's a big receiver. He can work underneath. You're getting a solid, productive player with size and speed. We were looking for a play-maker," Harris said of Williams, 6-4, 225.
Del Rio referred to Williams as a "big, physical, fast wide receiver that has been productive since the day he arrived at Washington. Clean medical bill; clean, solid background."
Williams is represented by the Postons, one of the toughest negotiating teams in the league, but that didn't scare the Jaguars off. "This had been worked out in advance," Del Rio said of the pick.
"We realized he was the next receiver on the board. We had our guy," said Harris, who feared a run about to begin at the position. "We felt if we had taken anybody over him, we would've been reaching down."
The dominant opinion of the Williams pick is that the Jaguars were bound and determined to provide quarterback Byron Leftwich, last year's first-round pick, with a young wide receiver that would combine with Leftwich to form the team's passing attack of the future.