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Sensitive subject matter


The Jaguars' draft-day braintrust entertained questions from reporters today, but answers were limited. Of course, that was to be expected.

Personnel boss James Harris hammered home the team's position on drafting the best available player, and head coach Jack Del Rio was adamant about doing whatever it takes to put the best team on the field next fall, but each man was careful not to give any indication of where the team stands on the sensitive subject matter of the future of the Jaguars' quarterback position.

"We'd like to have Mark Brunell as our quarterback. If we select a quarterback with our first pick, it would be because he's too good to pass up," Harris said when asked if the Jaguars would attempt to trade Brunell if the team selected a quarterback with its first-round pick. Harris didn't directly answer that question. "We think he's one of the more talented quarterbacks in the league," Harris added.

So, the question remains: Would quarterback Byron Leftwich be too good to pass up? We'll have to wait until Saturday, when the Jaguars will decide what to do with the eighth pick of the NFL Draft.

"Those are the types of things we're discussing right now. We're going to accumulate the best players we can and put the best team we can on the field in the fall," Del Rio said.

"It'll be a Jaguar selection," Harris said of the choice, which will involve the combined opinions of Harris, Del Rio and the team's college scouting director, Gene Smith. "If all of us disagree, we'll go to the next player," Harris added.

"That's why we spend so much time locked in that draft room; so we can get on the same page," Del Rio added. "Where he is on our (draft) board," the coach added of specific players, "that's not something you're going to get from us."

The pre-draft is about calculated deception. Never show your hand. Trade up or down depending on the quality of the offer. Consider all of your options.

"We are looking to upgrade our roster and we will make each position as competitive as possible," Del Rio said.

Read between the lines if you wish, or just wait until Saturday. Eventually, every team will have to show its hand. Then the post-draft begins, and the post-draft is all about grading team's decisions.

"We're not going to pass on a great player and take a good player to fill a need," said Harris, who's draft philosophy is firmly cast in the best-player-available science. "We haven't indicated we're going to take a quarterback, an offensive lineman. We've said we're going to take the best player available," Harris added.

Del Rio was asked if anything should be read into the delay in re-structuring Brunell's contract. "Is there a correlation or is it a coincidence? We are in negotiations with Mark. You can draw your own conclusions," Del Rio said.

And what about the future of Kyle Brady? "We're in negotiations. He's hired a new agent. That's where that is," Del Rio said.

"We'd like Brady and Donovin (Darius) to be part of the team," Harris added.

Harris also said he wouldn't consider drafting injured Miami running back Willis McGahee in the second round. McGahee would've been a top-five pick had he not suffered a major knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl.

And on the issue of the Jaguars' offensive line, which lost three players in free agency, Del Rio said: "We feel like we're going to be better in our offensive line this season."

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