Jaguars Draft Blog- Defense

Although it's difficult to tell how highly the Jaguars have prospects ranked because just a few key members of their staff have access to their draft board, we know who they're looking at. Based on their appearances and visits, you can tell a few things about each position. Find out what we've learned about the Jaguars draft interests and how they feel about the players on their current roster.

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Defensive Ends



The Jaguars have been shopping in the defensive end aisle as they've looked at Da'Quan Bowers, Aldon Smith, Ryan Kerrigan and Ricky Elmore. Where Bowers and Smith appear to be classic 4-3 defensive ends, Kerrigan and Elmore seem best suited for the 3-4. Jacksonville has also looked at 3-4 DE/OLB types such as Arizona's Brooks Reed, as well as Colorado School of Mines proudest son, Mark Schiechl.

What does this tell us? It's not much of surprise that the Jaguars need more pass rushers, as the team finished 30th in the NFL in sacks in 2010. As publicly committed as they appear to be to the 4-3 defense, last year's draft and the prospects that they're investigating this season seem to contradict a 4-3 base. Sources tell us that the Jaguars are telling prospects that they will play a hybrid defense in 2011.

Defensive Tackles



Jacksonville has dabbled in the defensive tackle market, mostly looking at middle round picks like USF's Terrell McClain, UCLA's Bruce Carter and Northwestern's Corbin Bryant. The Jaguars took the obligatory look at Auburn DT Nick Fairley, but he will be long gone by the time Jacksonville goes on the clock.

What does this tell us? The Jaguars spent their first two draft picks on defensive tackles a year ago, so it's highly unlikely they will go that route, especially early on- even if a defensive tackle is the best available player. The fact that they're looking at DT's at all signals that the team isn't confident about D'Anthony Smith returning from his Achilles injury.

Linebackers



The Jaguars have test-driven plenty of linebackers, both inside and outside this offseason. Some of the names they've worked out include Michigan State product Greg Jones, N.C. State's Nate Irving and Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews. Some of the lesser known guys include Valdosta State's Larry Dean, Connecticut linebacker Lawrence Wilson, Central Michigan's Nick Bellore and Mississippi State's Chris White.

What does this tell us? The Jaguars haven't been happy with the play of their linebacking corps outside of Daryl Smith. Don't be surprised if the team addresses this position both in free agency and during the middle rounds of the draft. Unless there is an extended lockout and limited free agency period, both Justin Durant and Kirk Morrison aren't likely to be retained.

Cornerbacks



Jacksonville has looked at plenty of second or third tier cornerbacks as there likely isn't a cornerback that fits the value of their first or second round selections that will still be available. The Jaguars have shown interest in Tennessee-Chattanooga's Buster Skrine, Southern Illinois' Korey Lindsey-Woods, Richmond's Justin Rogers and Buffalo's Josh Thomas.

What does this tell us? It appears that the Derek Cox experiment will last at least one more season (or part of one more season) and the team will try to squeeze another year out of Rashean Mathis, who didn't play as bad as many would think last season. Look for Jacksonville to make a run at some free agent cornerbacks.

Safeties



The Jaguars have spent time and resources researching draft-eligible safeties this year. They've looked at the projected top safeties in Rahim Moore, Quinton Carter and Marcus Gilchrist, as well as some under the radar prospects like Wofford's Tommy Irvin, Harvard's Colin Zych and Boise State's Jeron Johnson.

What does this tell us? Anyone who watched the Jaguars last season knows how atrocious the safety play was. Jacksonville will likely try to address this need in free agency in addition to the draft. It would be a surprise if there wasn't two brand new starters at safety for the Jaguars to open the season.

Charlie Bernstein is the host of "The Conundrum" on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie

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