Under the leadership of general manager Gene Smith, the Jaguars are becoming known as the gunslingers of the NFL Draft. Although each team's value board differs from the others, the Jaguars obviously trust their scouts and stick to their board regardless of public perception.
"We felt like all of these players would come in and certainly upgrade our roster," Jaguars general manager Gene Smith said. "They all have a future here. Again, we're just happy to have five players wearing the Jaguars' helmet that we feel have the profile that we want. I do believe it is talent, character and competitiveness."
The Jaguars draft will be judged upon the success of first-round pick Blaine Gabbert, who will likely see the field sooner than later.
"I think the kid's going to be a great quarterback," Jaguars VP of personnel Terry McDonough said. And if you have the chance to get up and get a franchise quarterback, that can affect the city, the franchise, everything about Jacksonville in the next decade, and I feel strongly about that."
Although it would appear that Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio is on the hot seat based on eight seasons with no division title, it's important to remember that owner Wayne Weaver backed off on his "playoffs or bust" statement from earlier in this offseason. This would allow Del Rio to coach without having the undo stress of the "grim reaper" coming every week.
"I ask our players all the time to be unselfish and to do what's best for the team," Del Rio explained. "That's what I'm doing myself. I'm not going to ask them to do something I wouldn't do myself. We're going to sacrifice where we need to."
With Garrard's near $8 million salary for 2011 and the money the team will have to pay Gabbert, it simply isn't likely that the Jaguars incumbent quarterback will be on the roster at his current rate. With the Jaguars being a potential suitor for defensive help in free agency and the size of the market and attendance issues, Jacksonville will have to cut salaries somewhere, and Garrard is a great place to start.
It would be naive of anyone to believe that Jacksonville can be any better than a .500 team at this point with Garrard. It's best that the team moves on with Gabbert so he can get his rookie bumps and bruises out of the way early, especially with a solid set of young weapons and offensive line.
"I think a couple of things can help," Del Rio said when asked about Gabbert playing early. "One, I think he's a super-intelligent kid. Two, once we do go into camp it would be best for him and us, but in particular for him, to have a chance to play early if he gets himself here, gets himself signed and in camp, so that will be important."
All signs point to Gabbert playing earlier and the Jaguars moving on from the David Garrard era. It will be difficult for Garrard to succeed knowing that it's just a matter of time before he's replaced, and the fanbase and everyone involved knows it. Add in the money and the mediocre results and it becomes a no-brainer.
Charlie Bernstein is the host of "The Sports Crunch" 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
Expect Gabbert To Play Soon
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