Jags picks satisfy needs

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It's almost certain to be the smallest draft class in Jaguars history, but it could produce one of the most major impacts.

"He's productive, he has good size and he's proven to be a playmaker," Jaguars personnel boss James Harris said of first-round pick Marcedes Lewis, a 6-6 tight end who should provide the final weapon quarterback Byron Leftwich and the Jaguars need to become an explosive passing attack.

The Jaguars' first day draft haul was all about addressing needs and Harris said they were able to do that and still pick from the top of their value board. In selecting Lewis, the Jaguars made the pick with several minutes remaining on their pick clock, which usually indicates the player selected had been targeted.

"We have no reason to believe he couldn't come in and be productive," Harris said when asked if Lewis can have an immediate impact on the Jaguars passing attack.

"(Kyle) Brady is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league and he's still an asset to us," Harris said of the Jaguars' veteran starting tight end.

Brady's blocking remains critical to the Jaguars' running game, but he had become an afterthought in the Jaguars' passing attack and the need for a big receiver in the middle of the field and down the seam was strong. Following the selection of Lewis, coach Jack Del Rio told reporters Lewis' presence in the middle of the field should help create room to the outside for the Jaguars' wide receivers.

Second-round pick Maurice Drew, another UCLA product, addressed the need for explosiveness in the punt-return game and at running back. Though Drew is only 5-7, Del Rio did not discount the possibility he could grow into a big role at the running back position.

Drew scored a touchdown every 11 ½ times he touched the football last season for the Bruins. "He's short but he's not small," Del Rio said of Lewis, a thickly-built and powerful runner at 209 pounds.

When asked if Drew compares favorably to former Giants star running back Joe Morris, a three-time thousand-yard rusher despite being only 5-7 and 195 pounds, Del Rio said: "That's a fair comparison. This guy might be a little stronger, a little faster.

"I'm very pleased with the first two picks," Del Rio added. "When you make a selection, you better feel good about it."

The Jaguars' third-round pick, linebacker Clint Ingram, addressed the Jaguars' greatest need going into the draft. It's hoped Ingram can become an immediate fixture at outside linebacker, though it's not clear whether Ingram will be used at weakside or strongside.

Ingram intercepted five passes at Oklahoma last season and routinely lined up opposite the slot receiver. Harris described Ingram as a player who was used in space and that would indicate he could play the strongside position. Current strongside linebacker Daryl Smith is capable of playing the weakside, too, which means Smith and Ingram give Del Rio and defensive coordinator Mike Smith flexibility in arranging the linebacking corps.

Ingram has 4.5 speed and a 42-inch vertical jump. At 6-1, 240 he fits the Jaguars mold of smaller, quicker linebackers.

Attention on day two turns to picks at number 160 and 197, and intense efforts to make up for what the Jaguars lack in draft picks by signing free agents.

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