Jaguars college scouting director Gene Smith is confident the team made the right moves on draft day.
"Media types can have their opinions. They have a job to do. I don't agree with (Mel Kiper's) assessment but that's OK. That's his job and that's what they do," Smith said, referring to the ESPN draft analyst's opinion that the Jaguars should've traded their first-round pick for Jason Taylor, instead of trading up and using that pick to select defensive end Derrick Harvey.
"We did work on both players. We did work on Taylor and obviously we did a lot of work on Derrick Harvey. We chose to go with the young, ascending player coming out of college," Smith said.
"I think it was consensus around the league that he was at the top of people's draft boards," Smith added of Harvey, who Kiper claims was a reach pick at number eight overall. The Jaguars, of course, moved from pick number 26 to number eight in a trade with Baltimore that gave the Ravens two third-round picks and one pick in the fourth round. According to all numeric trade-value tables, the picks with which the Jaguars parted did not equal the points value they gained in the move from 26 to eight.
"I never thought before the draft we could move from 26 to eight. If you value the numeric table and value where the guy was on boards … and then come back in the second round and do the same thing. We feel we got two guys of value and addressed need on our football team," Smith said.
In round two, the Jaguars moved up six spots and selected defensive end Quentin Groves (pictured). The Jags traded with Tampa and moved one spot ahead of the Steelers, who the Jags thought were interested in Groves.
"I was at the Auburn workout and Pittsburgh had their staff there. That was a coveted player for them. We knew that was one of the teams we had to get up in front of," Smith said.
The Titans had the pick after the Steelers and the Titans selected defensive end Jason Jones of Eastern Michigan.
"You have a chance to address your ability to pressure the quarterback," Smith said. "Any time you can get an every-downs defensive end you get value. The two of them (Harvey and Groves) can put the quarterback under duress. We feel we got two young defensive ends that can help provide pressure on the quarterback in the future."
As a top 10 pick whose strength is his premier pass-rush ability, Harvey would logically be expected to play right defensive end, the premier pass-rush position. Groves, however, is a pass-rush specialist who would logically be more of a liability against the run on the left side, which means Harvey may have to play left end to make room for Groves on the right side.
"We thought (Harvey) could play left or right defensive end. I think the way it's worked out, he'd be best-suited on the left side and Groves on the right side," Smith said.
"Getting pressure on the QB was the number one thing media people thought we needed to do, but I don't think it was the only thing we were trying to address. We were trying to address depth on our football team and I think we did that with our picks in the fifth and seventh rounds," Smith said, referring to the selections of linebacker Thomas Williams and cornerback Trae Williams in the fifth round and running back Chauncey Washington in the seventh round.
"We got depth. We got a linebacker who has the ability to be an outstanding special teams player. The corner, certainly, we feel can come in and help in our sub package. Whether he ends up to be a third or fourth, we feel he's a guy who can fill a role. The running back, we did lose LaBrandon Toefield and we feel he can fill that role," Smith said in capsule analysis of the Jaguars' last three picks.
What's the final analysis of the Jaguars' 2008 draft class?
"I think we made a good team better. You have to disrupt timing in the NFL and the first place you do that is up front," Smith said.