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Trust your judgment


Whatever the position, Gene Smith didn&39;t offer much in the way of clues.

Smith, entering his third season as the Jaguars&39; general manager, on Thursday during a luncheon with the media to discuss the 2011 NFL Draft did what anyone who knows him would expect him to do.

He talked a lot about generalities and offered few specifics.

That was true of just about every position, and when discussing quarterback – a position of particular interest to fans and observers – Smith reiterated what he has said several times this off-season:

David Garrard is the starting quarterback.

And whatever the Jaguars do at the spot in the draft, that likely will remain the case for the short-term future.

"Well, we have a good situation here," Smith said. "We have an established starter in David Garrard and we feel like, if in fact we did have an opportunity to get a quarterback, the guy would not have to come in here and play right away.

"We have a very good situation from that standpoint."

While Smith said getting production from draft picks is generally the aim, quarterback offers a different dynamic.

 "The quarterback is a unique position," he said. "It's not one where you would like to have to play the guy right away. There are some positions that are less mental and more physical that you can come in and play right away as a young player.

"Quarterbacks, I would like to think if you can, can through the on-the-job training and be more prepared when they step out on the field to help you win."

Smith also said while he has said the Jaguars would like to draft a quarterback in the April 28-30 NFL Draft there&39;s no guarantee it will happen.

"If that's the case then that's the case," he said. "We go into every draft trying to target certain players, trying to come out of it accomplishing certain goals, but we're not always able to do that. We don't have complete control over who we are able to draft. There are other ways to do it. Player personnel is a year-round process. I know the draft is the biggest part of it, but we're in a continual evaluation mode throughout the year trying to acquire players that can help upgrade our team."

Smith on Thursday also discussed:

*The idea that the Jaguars are in Year Three of a four-year plan: "I never really put three, four or five years . . . I want to win as soon as we can. I think sometimes people look at four years, maybe you look at that in college, you look at that in the NFL when you're trying to build something, you're trying to establish a new way of doing business. I want to be good every year. It's not just about one year. I have never put (a time) on any goal I have had. I'm going to do it as soon as I can and I'm going to try to do it the right way so we can sustain it."

*His first two draft classes as general manager: "Could we have done some things better in both years? I will always tell you yes. I think if you're satisfied with what you've done then I don't know if you are improving. I think it's still too early to tell. With last year's class, there are a couple players that weren't able to impact us the way they will this year. I think a lot of it is about building a roster, not just one or two draft classes; building a roster. Some guys play better as you get better players around you. We're not where we need to be yet, but we're getting closer."

*The idea of high-character guys being known as "Gene Smith guys:" "I'm okay with it. I'm just a firm believer that people with good character have a greater chance to maximize their talent. I think it's evident, not just in sports, but in other professions. I want kids, coaches and teachers to be able to look at our organization and say, 'You can compete at the highest level and still do things right.' You can be a talented player, have good character. Certainly you have to be a top competitor to compete at the highest level in the NFL. Character will impact the level of anyone's success, including my own success."

*The pressure on his position during the draft: "Pressure is being unprepared. There are a lot of demands on you, but if you study in earnest before the final exam and you do it in a very good manner, which I didn't learn until later in my high school career, you are ready to go into the draft with the mindset to thrive. I think if you don't prepare really well and study very hard then you're going in trying to survive. My whole goal is to try and thrive."

*His approach on draft day: "We feel like we have done the work and we're going to trust our judgment. We know we don't have all the answers. We're not trying to get all 254 players right in this draft. We're trying to get the seven or however many we take right. That's our number one goal."

*His approach to drafting lesser-known players: "What's gratifying in scouting is seeing a player become what you thought he would. Sometimes it takes a few years so I've never worried about where a guy gets drafted. I worry about where he's going to play based on how I graded him. Some of these guys don't play early for a number of different reasons and it's not so much about where they're drafted but how they play. Our goal here is to reward our own, draft well and if guys do well on and off the field, try to reward our own, and I think you create better pure leadership on your team when you do that."

*On questions about Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett&39;s character: "There have been a number of things published, a number of things that he has said, and he hasn't tried to hide anything. So I think for people that have interest you have to do your work and you have to make a decision." 

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