Grading the Draft: Jacksonville Jaguars

Its' a franchise under new management as coach Jack Del Rio and James "Shaq" Harris now make the calls after the release of Tom Coughlin. This is a team that's had several solid drafts on the lines of scrimmage recently and they now looked to build around that base.

Round Pick Player Pos School
1 7(7) Byron Leftwich QB Marshall
2 7(39) Rashean Mathis S Bethune
3 8(72) Vince Manuwai OG Hawaii
4 7(104) George Wrighster* TE Oregon
4 35(132) LaBrandon Toefield* HB LSU
6 3(176) Brandon Green DE Rice
6 6(179) David Young S Geo. Southern
6 20(193) Marcus Ogden C Howard
7 4(218) Malaefou MacKenzie HB Southern Cal

UDFA of Note: Chris Brown/CB/UAB, Damon Duval/PK-P/Auburn, Josh Foster/OT/Colorado, Cortez Hankton/WR/Texas Southern, Matt Leonard/DT/Stanford, Seth Marler/PK/Tulane, Curtis Randall/LB/Louisiana Tech, Brett Romberg/C/Miami (Fla.), Kevin Simmonds/WR/Howard, Joe Smith/RB/Louisiana Tech

With Mark Brunell on shaky ground the team targeted Byron Leftwich ever since it looked like the big armed quarterback could fall to them at pick eight. And when it seemed Baltimore would make a move to grab Leftwich the Jags did the smart thing calling the Vikings to feign interest into moving up one slot. It all ended with precious time being wasted, the clock running out on Minnesota and Jacksonville sprinting to the desk with Leftwich's name on the card.

This was a sensational pick for the organization as Leftwich can sit behind either Brunell or maybe even David Garrard and see spot duty as a rookie. Leftwich is a player to build a team around yet he comes into a situation that already includes a pair of young, solid bookend tackles and a terrific running back. While he would've preferred to be the first pick of the draft, this is a good situation for Leftwich.

Rashean Mathis in the second round was good value. We've scouted Mathis heavily since he was a sophomore at Bethune Cookman, even making a special trip to Florida last year to scout him live. He is a defensive back with tremendous cover skills and though the Jags presently have him at corner, they are not sure he'll stay there as the franchise is looking to life without Donovan Darius after this season.

Like the previous two choices Vince Manuwai was a bargain. The big guard fell down draft boards after a poor showing at the Senior Bowl but is still a quality blocker who should be starting by the middle of this season.

As Kyle Brady's future with the franchise is uncertain, tight end was a need position. Chris Luzar did not impress anyone last year after the organization drafted him in round four so they took a chance on George Wrighster in the same frame this year. An athletic prospect with solid pass catching hands, Wrighster will never be a number one tight end until he learns to block but his ability to run plus reliable hands makes him an enticing target on third down.

LaBrandon Toefield was worth the risk of a late fourth round choice but is the perennial boom or bust prospect. At the top of his game Toefield is a one-man show and a ball carrier that can be a team's feature runner. Problem is Toefield is rarely at the top of his game as his career has been marred with major injuries.

Round six was a bit early for Brandon Green, an undersized yet explosive pass rusher who may have been better off in a three-four defense at outside linebacker.

David Young was a surprise pick but offers assurances and a cheap back-up as a hard-hitting safety while the Jags revamp their secondary. Young should be a terrific special teams player.

In that same round they selected Marcus Ogden, brother of Ravens All Pro Jonathan. This was a tremendous selection as Ogden is a blocker with the versatility to play any position on the line and should offer inexpensive depth, with the potential of starting in the future.

Final choice Malaefou MacKenzie could replace Stacy Mack, who was lost in free agency.

Seth Marler was a major free agent signing and it was surprising he was not selected after his combine showing. He has a big-time leg and the Jags have a big time need for a kicker.

Analysis: This could turn out to be a terrific draft for the Jags as the top three players could quickly be number one on the depth chart and have an impact while all the rest have a real opportunity to make the final roster and contribute.


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