Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Jags turn back to draft


They got a look; an idea of what they have. Tomorrow, head coach Jack Del Rio, personnel boss James "Shack" Harris and their staffs return to the all-important task of preparing for the draft. It will be the two most important weeks in the young history of this new era in Jaguars football.

What decisions will they make? How will this past weekend's three-day mini-camp impact how the Jaguars draft? Will they panic and draft for need? Or will they base their decisions on patience and foresight?

"We'd like to take the best player, upgrade the roster, create competition," Harris said following the Sunday-morning mini-camp closer. "We're not going into it with the thought (we have to address a position). We don't want to go in with the mindset that we have to overdraft a position."

Clearly, the Jaguars have positions that beg for attention. Consider tight end, where starter Kyle Brady was a no-show this weekend and his future with the team is in doubt. With Brady absent, the position was left to second-year man Chris Luzar, long-snapper Joe Zelenka and street free agent Johnny Mitchell, a 33-year-old former first-round pick who spent Saturday and Sunday auditioning for a roster spot.

How's that for need? Time to panic?

Not for Harris, a calm and considered man. Harris will not have his hands held to the fire.

"As a group, we're going to do what's right. We're going to focus on the best player," Harris said.

This was a mini-camp that revealed a roster that featured some strength in specific areas, but cause for alarm in others. The two lines lack depth. More significantly, the future of the defensive end position is sketchy, with Tony Brackens' recovery from major knee surgery in doubt and free-agent acquisition Hugh Douglas about to turn 32.

Yeah, there are needs, and this mini-camp brought them to light. And that's why the next two weeks are so critical. The April 26-27 NFL Draft will allow the Jaguars to address the greatest of all their needs: The need for good football players.

"A mini-camp without pads is not a complete evaluation," Harris said. "I think we already had an idea what our needs are. This gave us a chance to see some of the guys."

Del Rio saw a young quarterback, David Garrard, with a lively arm. "He had a good weekend. I told him to play football and worry about what you can control," Del Rio said, referring to Garrard's comments Friday about concern the Jaguars might draft a quarterback in the first round.

And Del Rio made a point to single out free agent linebacker Mike Peterson. "He showed he's going to be a great addition for us," Del Rio said.

"I came away very impressed with what our offensive staff was able to accomplish. Defensively, we are learning the little things and the details of the assignments are what separates teams from being great," the coach added.

Now, it's back to the really important stuff. The team has met its coach and its coach has had a look at his team. Opinions have been formed and now decisions must begin being made.

These are the days that will decide this team's future.

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