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Jaguars forced to change linebacker plans


Tom Coughlin began round three of the draft looking for a linebacker. He concluded the first day of the draft by adding a middle linebacker, a strongside linebacker and an extra fourth-round pick, but not until Coughlin lost the player he wanted the most.

The Jaguars had their eye trained on Kansas State linebacker Ben Leber in the third round, but Leber was drafted by San Diego a few picks ahead of the Jaguars' selection. That caused the Jaguars to go into a minor panic, trading with Cleveland to move down from the 76th pick to the 79th spot, a deal that also brought veteran middle linebacker Wali Rainer to the Jaguars.

Then the Jaguars traded with Washington, moving down from the 79th pick to the 89th pick, and also acquiring Washington's fourth-round pick (118th overall).

With the 89th pick, the Jaguars selected Purdue outside linebacker Akin Ayodele, 6-2, 257, a player Coughlin described as a "tough guy; strong at the point. It was a productive round for us."

Rainer will compete for a roster spot, after having been targeted by Cleveland coach Butch Davis as a must-leave player.

Coughlin was intent on addressing his need at linebacker in the third round, even after losing the prospect of drafting Leber, and in a year in which the linebacker crop is considered to be very weak. He said he would address several more needs in rounds 4-7 Sunday.

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