So what if Zeke is a rookie? And they didn't draft him #4 overall, given that he's a prototype 3-down back, to have him in a timeshare with Morris or McFadden. Behind that line, coupled with his skills as a runner, receiver, and pass blocker, there's no way he should fall past the first round.
@Walter I don't see how you think Fitz is "fine" there, given the fact you pointed out Palmer's diminishing arm strength and generally not liking older players. I get he's produced with awful QBs and they're not running him deep anymore, but even so, the point you made about AP apply even more to Fitz. Bad pick
WR Kassim Osgood, G Justin Smiley, DE Aaron Kampman, ILB Kirk Morrison, OLB Freddie Keiaho.
Early Draft Picks:
DT Tyson Alualu, DT D'Anthony Smith, DE Larry Hart, DE Austen Lane.
WR Torry Holt, DE Reggie Hayward, DE Quentin Groves, DT John Henderson, DT Montavious Stanley, DT Rob Meier, OLB Clint Ingram, OLB Brian Iwuh.
2010 Jacksonville Jaguars Offense:
Or rather the 2010 Maurice Jones-Drew Offense. Given the responsibility for shouldering all of the carries for the first time in his career, Jones-Drew responded incredibly, rushing for 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns on a 4.5 average. He also ranked second on the team in catches with 53 for 374 receiving yards. Backup runner Rashad Jennings looked solid in limited action, but it's safe to say that if Jones-Drew gets hurt, Jacksonville won't be able to score any points.
The Jaguars' leader in receptions was Mike Sims-Walker, who grabbed 63 balls for 869 yards and seven scores. Sims-Walker was inconsistent, but that was largely because of a nagging calf injury that plagued him throughout the second half of the season. If Sims-Walker stays healthy, he should be able to eclipse the 1,000-yard barrier for the first time in his career.
Getting Sims-Walker the ball is David Garrard, who returns as the starter despite rumors of the team drafting Tim Tebow or opting to go with Luke McCown instead. Garrard, steady but unspectacular, has 30 touchdowns and 23 interceptions the past two seasons with a mediocre 6.9 YPA. Garrard could have a better 2010 campaign if one of his two young receivers step up. Mike Thomas and Jarrett Dillard are both somewhat promising second-year wideouts. Thomas was solid last year, catching 48 balls for 453 yards. He's a sleeper in some fantasy circles.
The greatest question mark concerning Jacksonville's scoring unit is the offensive line. Second-year tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton are penciled in as the starters. Both struggled last season, allowing a combined 14 sacks. They should improve now that they have some experience, but it's still unknown if they'll pan out as NFL players.
As for the interior of the front, the Jaguars made a nice trade in acquiring Justin Smiley from Miami for a seventh-round pick. Smiley is always hurt and has a shoulder that's about to pop out of its socket, but if he can stay healthy, he'll be a huge upgrade over Uche Nwaneri, who would then slide over to center to replace the horrific Brad Meester. If Smiley can't play, however, Jaguar fans will likely have to endure Meester's pathetic blocking for yet another season.
2010 Jacksonville Jaguars Defense:
In today's pass-happy NFL, teams usually have to be able to put consistent pressure on the quarterback to have success on defense. The Jaguars finished 24th in points allowed and 27th versus the pass because they weren't able to do this. In fact, Jacksonville finished last in the league in sacks (14), as no player had more than three.
The Jaguars inked defensive end Aaron Kampman to a 4-year, $24 million deal in March. Kampman was a brilliant pass-rusher for the Packers, generating 38 sacks between 2006 and 2008. However, he struggled last season in the 3-4 prior to tearing his ACL in November. If healthy, Kampman could dominate for the Jaguars, but the fact remains that he's a 31-year-old coming off knee surgery. It's highly unlikely that Kampman will be close to 100 percent during the early and middle stages of the 2010 season.
If Kampman can't get to the quarterback, no one on Jacksonville will. Derrick Harvey, slated as the left end, is stout versus the run, but has only six career sacks in two seasons. The nickel rusher is Austen Lane, who is a mere rookie. Under tackle Tyson Alualu is also a rookie - Gene Smith's infamous reach at No. 10 overall. Alualu produced 7.5 sacks for Cal in 2009, but figures to be a major liability against the run. Making up for that is Terrance Knighton, who was a stout rush defender as a rookie last year.
The Jaguars should be more desperate to generate a consistent pass rush than the average team because their secondary is an abomination. No. 1 cornerback Rashean Mathis is talented, but he's turning 30 soon and has missed 10 games the past two seasons. Free safety Reggie Nelson blows more coverages than anyone in the NFL. Strong safety Gerald Alexander is a backup at best (but much better than reserve safety Sean Considine). No. 2 Corner Derek Cox was torched often as a rookie, though he did play better as the 2009 campaign progressed. Secondary depth does not exist here.
The linebacking corps is Jacksonville's defensive strength. Daryl Smith, playing on the strong side, is one of the more underrated players in the NFL. Kirk Morrison, acquired via a trade with Oakland, will be stout in the middle. Weakside linebacker Justin Durant is a good run defender.
2010 Jacksonville Jaguars Schedule and Intangibles:
The Jaguars are the laziest team in the NFL. They try hard in only two scenarios: If they're playing a divisional opponent or if they're a big underdog. Here's last year's proof:
Divisional Games (6): 3-3 (4-2 against the spread), 24.5 ppg, +1.5 point differential.
Non-Divisional Games (10): 4-6 (1-9 against the spread), 14.3 ppg, -9.9 point differential.
Take note that six of those 10 non-divisional games were against the Rams, Chiefs, Bills, Seahawks, 49ers and Browns. The same dichotomy existed in 2008. Jack Del Rio is a lazy coach with no work ethic, and his lethargic attitude clearly rubs off on his team (and the fans, who don't put forth enough energy to come to the games on Sunday).
And speaking of the fans, maybe they can actually fill the seats for a change. In Week 14, Jacksonville, at 7-5, had a crucial game against in-state rival Miami. The Jaguars and Dolphins were essentially competing for one playoff spot, so it was almost a must-win. Despite this, there were tens of thousands of empty seats at the stadium. Making matters worse, when Miami scored a touchdown, it was met with a roaring applause from thousands of Dolphins faithful who traveled north to see their team.
The city of Jacksonville does not deserve a football team, and in the wake of losing approximately $170 million in 2009 (according to Forbes), owner Wayne Weaver will be looking to move the franchise to Los Angeles as quickly as possible.
If you don't believe that, consider the following two items. First, some analysis from an LA Times writer regarding that Miami game: "The Jacksonville Jaguars have an inside track on an NFL playoff berth, one of the league's most marketable stars in running back Maurice Jones-Drew and play in a sun-splashed region filled with passionate football fans. Then why, in winning Sunday for the seventh time in 10 games, did the Jaguars draw a home crowd of just 42,079, the smallest in franchise history?"
Second, just recently, Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com wrote that he strongly believes that the Jaguars will be moving to Los Angeles, London or Orlando soon (probably the former in 2-3 years). Freeman cites that the other owners are very frustrated with this small-market experiment gone wrong.
Moving on, Jacksonville's hot and humid climate contributed to its outstanding 67-37 home record from 1995 to 2007. However, the Jaguars were just 2-6 as hosts in 2008, beating only Houston and Green Bay, and somehow losing to Buffalo and Cleveland. Jacksonville was 5-3 at home last season, but three of those victories were field-goal games against the pathetic Rams, Bills and Chiefs, who combined for 10 victories.
Josh Scobee mustered the worst kicking percentage in his career last season, going just 18-of-28 for 64.3 percent. Five of Scobee's misses were from 50-plus (where he was 4-of-9), but that doesn't excuse his 3-of-7 from 40-49.
Adam Podlesh, one of the worst punters in the NFL, maintained a shameful 41.9 average and hit just 23-of-72 attempts inside the 20.
The Jaguars failed to score a special-teams touchdown, though Mike Thomas maintained a decent punt return average of 8.4. Unfortunately, Jacksonville allowed a kickoff to go back for six.
Jacksonville has a pretty balanced schedule. On one hand, it battles easier non-divisional opponents like Denver, Buffalo, Kansas City, Cleveland and Oakland. On the other hand, the team has tough non-AFC South foes like the Chargers, Eagles, Cowboys and Giants.
2010 Jacksonville Jaguars Analysis: The Jaguars won seven games last year, but three were field-goal victories at home over the woeful Bills, Chiefs and Rams. They also lost to the likes of the Browns, 49ers (by 17) and Seahawks (by 41). Yet, they were able to slay the Texans twice, and come within three and four points in two meetings against the Colts.
If Jacksonville tried its hardest every week, it could contend for a playoff spot. Unfortunately, that won't happen because Jack Del Rio and his coaching staff mail too many games in. It's simply amazing that Del Rio is still employed. His lame-duck status and growing lethargy will likely drag this team into the NFL cellar this season.
Nothing I write will top the two Millen grades below, so let me defer my Los Angeles Jacksonville grade analysis to e-mailer Eric M., a Jaguars fan, who sent over this great message after the 2010 NFL Draft:
I need to send a 'thank you' note to Gene Smith. He helped me determine that my money was better spent on the golf course than in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.
Here in Jacksonville, polls have been held everywhere to see if the fans wanted Tim Tebow. Overwhemingly, the crowd wanted the local hero. Gene took a poll as well, but his only included current season-ticket holders. (which is about 42 people) Anyway, 45 percent of them wanted Tim.
My point is that when only about 53 people in Jacksonville make millions of dollars to play a kids game, while everybody else who make a minor fraction of that invest thousands of dollars toward their paychecks. Perhaps the Jaguars front office should listen when, for one time in the team's history, that fans request a particular player.
NOPE. Instead they went out and drafted 6 guys we have NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE!?!?!?!
I'll just have to stick to watching my high school win titles and my college lose every week.
Overall 2010 NFL Draft Grade given on 4/26/10: D
2010 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
10. Tyson Alualu, DT, California
I love it. The Jaguars probably could have moved down 30 spots and still obtained Tyson Alualu. This is a joke. Jacksonville sets a new low for an NFL Draft grade. (Pick Grade: Millen on LSD)
74. D'Anthony Smith, DT, Louisiana Tech
What!? Was the Tyson Alualu pick so bad that the Jaguars forgot that they made it? I'm sorry that Jaguar fans have to go through this. (Pick Grade: Millen on crack)
143. Larry Hart, DE, Central Arkansas
Another reach. Maybe all of these picks will be awesome and Gene Smith will look like a genius. But maybe I'll go out on a hot date with Alison Brie tomorrow too. (Pick Grade: C)
153. Austen Lane, DE, Murray State
Finally, a Jaguars pick that I like. Austen Lane was a Round 3-4 prospect. He's a steal in the middle of Round 5. (Pick Grade: A)
180. Deji Karim, RB, Southern Illinois
The range is right for Deji Karim, but does he even see the field behind Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashard Jennings? (Pick Grade: C)
203. Scotty McGee, KR, James Madison
The Jaguars had to improve their return game. This pick makes sense. (Pick Grade: B)
Key Undrafted Free Agents:
Kevin Haslam, OT, Rutgers
Chris Hawkins, CB, LSU
Robert Malone, P, Fresno State
Chris McGaha, WR, Arizona State
If the Jaguars went 7-9 but no one was there to see it, did they really go 7-9? Jacksonville's fans were nowhere to be found, as the team failed to sell out all but one home game in 2009. The Jaguars responded in kind; they didn't put forth any effort against any of their non-divisional foes (with the exception of the Jets for some reason).
Dolphins sign DT Montavious Stanley
Jaguars cut DE Reggie Hayward
Raiders sign NT John Henderson
Jaguars acquire G Justin Smiley from Dolphins for 7th-round pick
Jaguars waive RB Allen Patrick
Bears sign OLB Brian Iwuh
Saints sign OLB Clint Ingram
Jaguars sign LB Teddy Lehman
Jaguars sign ILB Freddie Keiaho
Jaguars cut OLB Brian Iwuh
Jaguars cut DT Montavious Stanley
Jaguars cut DT John Henderson
Jaguars withdraw tender from OLB Clint Ingram
Jaguars acquire ILB Kirk Morrison from Raiders for 4th-round pick
Raiders acquire DE Quentin Groves from Jaguars for a 5th-round pick
Patriots sign WR Torry Holt
Jaguars re-sign DE Reggie Hayward
Jaguars sign DE Aaron Kampman
Jaguars sign WR Kassim Osgood
Jaguars re-sign G Kynan Forney
Jaguars re-sign DT Atiyyah Ellison
Jaguars tender OLB Clint Ingram
Jaguars sign TE Ernest Wilford
Jaguars re-sign WR Troy Williamson
Jaguars cut WR Torry Holt
Jaguars cut DT Rob Meier
Ticket Sales and Fan Interest: Jaguars home games look like ghost towns. And don't give me "the fans will come if they win" argument. Jacksonville at 7-5, had a must-win home contest against in-state rival Miami. As it turns out, there were tons of Dolphins fans in the stands - Miami received a standing ovation when it scored a touchdown - and yet the game still didn't sell out! That's pathetic! There is only one man who can save Jacksonville football (at least temporarily) and help owner Wayne Weaver recoup a lot of the money he lost. That man is Tim Tebow. Say what you want about his passing mechanics; people in Florida love him and followed him just to watch him throw in practice at the Senior Bowl. He is that much of an icon down there. Jacksonville must obtain him this April. That's their No. 1 priority this offseason.
Head Coach: The Jaguars need a head coach who actually gives a damn. Jack Del Rio is the laziest coach in the NFL. I know he's not going anywhere, but his horrid work ethic rubs off on his team.
Defensive End: Priority No. 1 is getting Tim Tebow so fans actually come to the home games. Priority No. 2 is finding a pass-rusher. Jacksonville had only 14 sacks in 2009. It's pretty much a lock that they'll draft Derrick Morgan or Jason Pierre-Paul at No. 10/11 overall this April. Signed Aaron Kampman; drafted Austen Lane and Larry Hart
Free Safety: It seems like Reggie Nelson is getting worse every year. His tackling is atrocious, and rumor has it that some Pee Wee football coaches used film of Nelson to teach their players what not to do.
Center: Brad Meester, 33, couldn't open up any running lanes for Maurice Jones-Drew. He desperately needs to be replaced; perhaps a Round 3-4 choice can knock him out of his starting role. Traded for Justin Smiley
Right Guard: Uche Nwaneri spends too much time trash-talking players who aren't on his team, and not enough effort blocking for Maurice Jones-Drew. He'll need to be upgraded. "PERIOD." Traded for Justin Smiley
No. 1 Wide Receiver: The good news is that Mike Sims-Walker emerged as a solid starting wide receiver. The bad news is that Torry Holt was a bust signing and Jacksonville still needs a No. 1 wideout. A Round 2-5 selection may be used on this position. Signed Kassim Osgood
Inside Linebacker: The Jaguars don't really have anything at inside linebacker. Traded for Kirk Morrison; signed Freddie Keiaho
Nickel Cornerback: I'd like to see Jacksonville add some talent behind Rashean Mathis and Derek Cox. A mid-round selection could be used to bring in competition for Tyron Brackenridge.
Defensive Tackle Depth: Depth behind John Henderson and Terrance Knighton should be brought in. A successor for the former has to be considered as well. Drafted Tyson Alualu and D'Anthony Smith
Punter: Adam Podlesh isn't a very good punter. The Jaguars need someone who has greater than a 42.2 career average.
2010 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Aaron Kampman, DE, Packers. Age: 30. Signed with Jaguars (4 years, $26 million; $11 million guaranteed)
Aaron Kampman compiled 38 sacks between 2006 and 2008, but struggled to transition into Green Bay's new 3-4 last year. Kampman is one of the top unrestricted free agents on the market, and the only reason why he's not a 5-star player is because he's coming off a torn ACL (though he claims he should be fine for training camp.)
Freddie Keiaho (RFA), ILB, Colts. Age: 27. Signed with Jaguars (1 year, $635,000)
A capable backup middle linebacker. Did a good job spelling Gary Brackett for a few games in 2009.
Kassim Osgood, WR, Chargers. Age: 30. -- Signed with Jaguars (3 years, $6.6 million; $2.2 million guaranteed)
Jacksonville Jaguars Free Agents:
Salary Cap (As of Feb. 18): No cap.
John Henderson, NT, Jaguars. Age: 31. Signed with Raiders (1 year)
Capable of playing in both the 4-3 and 3-4, John Henderson is stout against the run. He was released by the Jaguars because they couldn't afford to pay him.
Clint Ingram, OLB, Jaguars. Age: 27. Signed with Saints (1 year)
Clint Ingram really struggled when the Jaguars experimented with the 3-4. He's a traditional 4-3 strongside linebacker.
Montavious Stanley, DT, Jaguars. Age: 28. -- Signed with Dolphins
Torry Holt, WR, Jaguars. Age: 34. -- Signed with Patriots (1 year, $1.7 million)
Divisional Rival History: Houston Texans: Remember when Houston gave Jacksonville fits? Well, the Jaguars have won three of four in this rivalry. Indianapolis Colts: Most of these games are close; 14 of the last 16 meetings have been decided by eight points or less. The Jaguars won one of the black-sheep contests, 44-17 on Dec. 10, 2006. David Garrard got hurt in the other. Tennessee Titans: If you watched old and improved NFL Primetime you might remember that Chris Berman always said, "The Titans know all and tell all at Alltel Stadium." That's definitely true; Tennessee has won five of the previous seven in this heated rivalry.
Features to be Posted This Offseason:
2010 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well - Live on Draft Day!)