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Jaguars get Groves, too


In pre-draft hype, Jaguars fans debated whether the team's first-round choice should be Phillip Merling or Quentin Groves. So what happened? The Jaguars picked Groves, in the second round, after they traded up and selected Derrick Harvey in the first round.

Wow! Talk about addressing a need. The Jaguars went from a team with a pass-rush problem to a team with a mouth-watering potential to sack the quarterback in 2008.

The Jaguars traded a fifth-round pick in this year's draft and a seventh-round pick in next year's draft to Tampa Bay to move up six spots in the second round and select Groves, a cat-quick natural pass-rusher who might remind Jaguars fans of Tony Brackens.

Groves, considered to be more of a 3-4 rush-linebacker prospect than an every-downs defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, will likely be used as a pass-rush specialist by the Jaguars in his rookie year, but the combination of Harvey and Groves could become one of the league's top pass-rush combinations of the future.

"What makes him real special is his talent to close on the quarterback," coach Jack Del Rio said of Groves. "He'll naturally grow a little bit. He weighed 259 the last time we worked him out."

Groves fell in the draft rankings as a result of a recent heart procedure in which his heart was returned to a normal rhythm. He missed time last fall due to a foot injury.

"There was an issue. He had a (heart) procedure and our doctors are satisfied the issue has been resolved," Del Rio said.

The Jaguars traded up one spot ahead of the Steelers, who employ a 3-4 defensive scheme and were a likely candidate to select Groves.

"He was standing out a little bit," Del Rio said. "We drafted him to be a right end, a pass-rusher."

Del Rio seems to believe Groves can gain enough weight and strength to become an every-downs end in the future.

"We saw enough on tape. He can stack the point. He did 30 (bench-press) reps. He can roll his hips," Del Rio added.

Jaguars personnel boss James "Shack" Harris said the team is excited by its first two picks.

"Going in, we were looking for help at the defensive end position," Harris said. "In Derrick Harvey, we added an every-downs end. Groves is a 4.5 guy."

Is it safe to say you've improved your pass-rush, Del Rio was asked?

"Safe to say," he said.

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