What Separates the Jaguars and the Giants?

After every Super Bowl each of the 31 NFL teams try to figure out how the champion accomplished what they did and what adjustments need to be made. We're going to look at why the Giants won the Super Bowl and the Jaguars finished in third place in the AFC South.

New York has the two most key components in today's NFL- a great quarterback and the ability to hit the opponents quarterback. The Jaguars hope that they have the signal caller in Blaine Gabbert and their pass rush has been improved each of the last two seasons.

We know the Giants have better football players than the Jaguars do, and plenty of other teams can make that same assertion. To answer why you don't have to look any further than the first round of the draft.

Although the Jaguars have struck it rich with Maurice Jones-Drew in the second round and Terrance Knighton in the third, their first round picks have simply not been impact players. Here is who the Super Bowl champs have selected with their first picks from 2004 through 2010: Eli Manning (via trade, first overall), Corey Webster (second round, 43rd overall), Mathias Kiwanuka (32nd overall), Aaron Ross (20th overall), Kenny Phillips (31st overall), Hakeem Nicks (29th overall) and Jason Pierre-Paul (15th overall).

We know that Manning has turned into one of the very best quarterbacks in the game and the rest of their initial picks are all standouts. Webster is a Pro Bowl caliber cornerback, Kiwanuka is a solid starter, Ross is a solid starter at a premium position, Phillips when healthy is a playmaking safety, Nicks is a Pro Bowl wide receiver and Pierre-Paul is one of the best defensive ends in football. There wasn't one wasted pick from the last seven drafts (excluding 2011) and three of the players have not only grown into some of the best at their position but they all play premium positions.

During the same period of time the Jaguars have selected the following players: Reggie Williams (ninth overall), Matt Jones (21st overall), Marcedes Lewis (28th overall), Reggie Nelson (21st overall), Derrick Harvey (eighth overall), Eugene Monroe (ninth overall) and Tyson Alualu (10th overall).

Of the seven selections, only Lewis, Monroe and Alualu are still with the team and Lewis is the only player who has earned a Pro Bowl selection. None of the players selected can be considered impact players and none of the skill position or premium position players aside from Monroe are even still with the team.

The Jaguars have had two different GM's in charge over the past seven years and both done an equally poor job. Whereas James "Shack" Harris gets most of the blame for the Jaguars poor drafting, there really hasn't been much of an improvement with Gene Smith. Smith has opted to select "safe," non-statistical positions aside from Blaine Gabbert in 2011 and none of the players are of the impact variety. The "base-hit" drafting philosophy simply doesn't work in today's NFL when you are void of playmakers.

Great coaching, an elite quarterback and some timely free agent band-aids helped make the Giants Super Bowl champs. Their front office and the scouting department is the reason why New York is a legitimate threat and another title could find them as the league's latest dynasty. If the Jaguars are going to catch up in the fall it has to happen during April's draft.



Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering 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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