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The Jacksonville Jaguars selected linebacker Kevin Hardy from Illinois ‹ the top defensive player in the nation ‹ with the second overall pick in the 1996 NFL draft held April 20-21. It was the second consecutive year Jacksonville has had the second pick in the draft.

With the third choice in the second round, the Jaguars again went for defense, selecting Texas defensive end Tony Brackens, a player most people thought would go in the first round. Also in the first round, Jacksonville drafted Michael Cheever from Georgia Tech, the top-ranked center. Later in the draft, Jacksonville selected two defensive backs, an offensive tackle and four wide receivers.

³We started with the idea that we would go heavily to defense, because we had a definite need there,² said Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin. ³We feel very good about coming away with two outstanding defensive picks, what I consider two first-round picks ‹ an all-purpose linebacker in Kevin Hardy and Tony Brackens, who¹s an outstanding pass-rush prospect who I think will develop into an every-down player.²

³Do I wish that were able to accomplish all of our goals in the draft?² asked Coughlin. ³Certainly I do. But I feel very good about it. It¹s a very solid draft. If we can hit on some players that come in here and fill some roles, that would help a lot.²

Round Pick Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Age College

1 2/2 LB Kevin Hardy 6-4 245 22 Illinois

2a 3/33 DE Tony Brackens 6-4 260 21 Texas

2b 30/60 C Michael Cheever 6-3 296 22 Georgia Tech

3 2/63 DB Aaron Beasley 5-11 194 22 West Virginia

4 15/110 WR Reggie Barlow 5-11 187 23 Alabama State

5 14/146 OT Jimmy Herndon 6-8 304 22 Houston

6a 3/170 SS John Fisher 5-10 197 22 Missouri Western

6b 18/185 WR Chris Doering 6-3 191 22 Florida

7a 18/227 WR Clarence Jones 6-0 184 23 Tennessee State

7b 19/228 WR Gregory Spann 6-0 215 23 Jackson State


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