Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Gene Smith’s Team

There’s a lot you can say about the Jaguars draft. You can complain they don’t know what they’re doing. You can say it’s not “sexy.” But you can’t say they didn’t follow exactly what they said they were going to do.

New General Manager Gene Smith told us all along that he was going to trust his research, trust his scouts and trust “the process” when it came time to make his picks, including his first one.

“We believe there will be value at the eight spot,” Smith said last Tuesday.

When it came time to make their selection, Smith and the Jaguars didn’t hesitate. “It was a no-brainer,” Smith admitted. Eugene Monroe was there at #8 and he was by far, the highest rated player on there board so they took him. “We’ll take the best player available,” Smith said all along and he was true to his word.

Monroe was expected to be gone in the top five but when he was there at eight , the Jaguars jumped on him. They passed on Michael Crabtree and a bunch of other flashy, skill players to take an offensive tackle. It’s pretty clear they weren’t making that pick to sell tickets and get people to buy jerseys. It’s about building the team for the long haul.

Again, you can disagree all you want but we really don’t know how this draft will work out until a few years go buy.

Tra Thomas and Tony Pashos? They’re just like any other player in the league, penciled in on the depth chart and trying to keep their jobs. Could Pashos be moved to guard? Is he a backup? Who knows? They now have at least seven offensive linemen who could be considered starters in the league, not a bad scenario to create.

Perhaps you consider drafting tackles not good enough when it comes to addressing need. The Jaguars are far enough away from being an elite contender that starting anywhere is a good spot. Wide Receiver? Unless you think there’s a star available, (and I don’t think Michael Crabtree will be a huge star) then there’s no difference between drafting a receiver in the 2nd round or the 5th.

It doesn’t matter. They all have the potential to be stars or busts.

It’s not about what guy on television said he thought about the picks. And it’s not about the stats at the combine. It’s about who will become “football players.” That’s what teams are looking for.

The Jaguars aren’t done dealing either. I’m sure they’re going to be looking during training camp to see who’s being released, particularly among defensive lineman, tackles to be specific. They’ll also keep their eye on receivers as well.

But when it comes to this draft, we’ll check again in 2011.