Marcus Stroud... Is Gone

It's officially the end of an era in Jacksonville. The Twin Towers of the Jaguars defensive line are broken apart. Marcus Stroud is now a proud member of the Buffalo Bills and John Henderson is without a partner in crime. Marcus excelled with the Jaguars as a three time Pro-Bowler, but greatly declined into a shell of his former self in 2007.

It's been more than rumored that Stroud wasn't going to return to his Pro-Bowl form, despite his reputation. The Microfracture surgery that he underwent was certainly nothing that has a sure recovery, and the powerful bull rush and aggressive approach of his previous seasons just wasn't there in 2007. What made Marcus Stroud so impressive as a lineman was for his massive size he was quick enough to get penetration and disrupt plays up the middle. There wasn't a pocket in the league that Stroud and Henderson couldn't collapse up the middle, and the ballet between the two is priceless.

In 2007, that grace and power was gone. Stroud without his quickness makes him just another big guy on the defensive line. A very good big guy, but not a five or six million dollar a year sort of guy. Marcus got beat more often on the line last season and didn't provide the intensity that the Jaguars or their fans expected. Remember, Stroud was to be the highest paid player on the team, and the $5 million due to him in 2008 was an awfully high price for inconsistent and non-dominant play. If you add in the four game suspension for a positive performance enhancing substances test, it just felt like the right time for Stroud and the Jaguars to part ways. It's by no means on bad terms, it's just the right time.

Marcus Stroud (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
In evaluating the deal, let's be honest, it appears that the Jaguars absolutely fleeced the Buffalo Bills. With Stroud's current physical health and dropoff in play, most would think the Jaguars would have been lucky to get one pick for Stroud, but Jacksonville took advantage of a hot market for defensive tackles and received two picks, a third and a fifth. Though I might be too harsh here, Buffalo needs a guy like Stroud, and they did have an extra 3rd and 4th round pick, so it isn't as if they gave away their only picks, so good for them. Hopefully Stroud will return to his dominant form and gives the Bills the extra boost they need to seize control or at least compete in the AFC East.

Jacksonville is deeper at defensive tackle than most teams, and the Jaguars can move on gracefully. Sure, they will likely try to grab another tackle in the draft, but these extra picks may give Jacksonville the firepower to possibly move up to grab the defensive end that they need to generate a pass rush and take the defense to the promised land.

The last 48-72 hours have appeared to be a rousing success for the Jacksonville Jaguars. They've created more space under the cap and gained two more draft picks by moving Marcus Stroud, and they found depth at the wide receiver, cornerback and quarterback positions. The Jaguars are set to go into the draft with open options to move and the ability to fill the position they need. Jacksonville still has plenty of room to re-sign David Garrard in the next few months, and that will secure the keys to their offense.

It will take roughly six or seven months to find out whether the Jaguars front office were geniuses, idiots, or something in between, regarding this past weekend's activity, but this has certainly been the most exciting beginning of the NFL calender year in some time for the Jaguars and their fans.

Chris Harris is a special contributor to

You can read more of Chris' editorials and blogs at

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