General Manager Gene Smith worked the phones in a furious attempt to trade up into the second round for the purpose of drafting Penn State linebacker Sean Lee. When Smith's attempts were unsuccessful, he returned to the security of his value board and selected defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith.
"We aggressively worked the phones as he was sliding," Smith said of Lee, a player the Jaguars were known to covet. Lee was selected with the 55th overall pick by Dallas, which traded with Philadelphia. "They elected to go with someone else," Smith said of the Eagles.
"As he started sliding, we started talking to every team we thought we could trade with. It was picks. People were not interested in players at that point. Not many people want to do players on the clock," Smith added.
The selection of Smith cements the nearly total reconstruction of the Jaguars defensive line in this offseason. He joins first-round pick Tyson Alualu at the under-tackle position. The Jaguars, of course, signed defensive end Aaron Kampman in free agency. The Jaguars general manager wouldn't rule out picking another defensive tackle before the draft is complete.
"That's why we finished last in the league in sacks. We didn't have enough guys winning one-on-one's up front," Gene Smith said.
His most recent defensive tackle selection is a near carbon copy of his first-round pick. D'Anthony Smith and Alualu are of similar size and style of play.
"You have to have depth at this position if you want to compete at the highest level. We're staying with the board. Just because we have needs doesn't mean we're not going to take advantage of the system," Gene Smith said.
He confirmed that veteran defensive tackle John Henderson has been the subject of trade talks.
"Teams have called," Smith said. The problem is that the "teams that were calling us are teams that drafted tackles in the second round."
The Jaguars were manhandled up front in their season-ending loss in Cleveland. That's a situation that should change as a result of the Jags' first two picks in this draft.
"It left a lasting impression on me and I hope it left a lasting impression on all of our players," Smith said.