Daryl Smith was an easy pick for the Jaguars in the second round. Smith is a player on whom the Jaguars said they had a first-round grade, and he also addressed a distinct need at linebacker.
Jaguars personnel boss "Shack" Harris referred to Smith as a player the team "had targeted. We really didn't think Daryl would make it to us," Harris added.
Smith, 6-2, 234, was a four-year starter at Georgia Tech, where he was a captain who twice led the team in tackles. He was a middle linebacker for Tech, but Smith is expected to move to outside linebacker with the Jaguars.
"He shows the athletic ability to play outside. We think he'll be very good in pass-coverage," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said of Smith.
The Jaguars signed linebackers Tommy Hendricks and Greg Favors in free agency. Favors would seem to have the inside track on the starting job at strongside linebacker, but Smith might represent the long-term future at that position.
"I anticipate it being very competitive," Del Rio said of the prospects at linebacker. "I feel like we got some good, athletic guys who will scrap and get after it, and the best will come out of that group."
Just before the Jaguars made Smith the seventh pick of the second round, the Steelers traded up into the sixth spot and selected Tusculum cornerback Ricardo Colclough. The move raised suspicion the Steelers were attempting to cut off the Jaguars.
"Maybe they thought that was our player, but we got the player we wanted," Harris said of Smith. "This was the best player left on our board, by far. He's the best player and he's also need."
The Jaguars addressed a major need at cornerback in free agency, but the one position that remains a major concern is defensive end. The Jaguars are desperate to find a pass-rusher, but they're now left with pass-rush specialists in this draft.
Del Rio said there were three top every-downs defensive end prospects – Will Smith, Kenechi Udeze and Jason Babin – and all were selected in the first round. The Texans made what appeared to be a panic trade into the bottom of the first round to reel in Babin.
"We would've had to gut our draft to do it," Del Rio said of trading into the second half of the first round to draft Udeze, who went to Minnesota with the 20th overall selection. Of course, most thought the Jaguars would select Udeze with the ninth overall pick.
Harris said he was concerned about Smith lasting to the Jaguars' position in the second round. The smiles on Harris' and Del Rio's faces seemed to indicate great satisfaction with their second-round pick.