Jaguars Eye 24K Prize

The Jaguars have not shied away from drafting Florida natives in recent years, as they selected both Reggie Nelson and Mike Walker in the 2007 draft, and currently boast eight players on their roster that have local roots. Find out which Florida native the Jaguars were impressed with last week at his pro day…

Although the running back position may hold the most talent on the Jaguars roster with Pro Bowler Fred Taylor, and all-around star Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville may add a third back in the middle rounds of the draft to eventually take his proper place in their current rotation. Jaguars assistant head coach/offense Mike Tice took the short drive to Orlando Thursday afternoon and took in the UCF Knights pro day, which featured the Knights ultra-productive star running back, Kevin Smith.

Kevin Smith is one of the most accomplished backs in this years draft class, as the early entry draft candidate came out after finishing his junior year with the second most rushing yards in NCAA history with 2,567, which was just 61 yards shy of Barry Sanders all-time record. Smith was named the co-Offensive Player of the Year in Conference USA en route to setting UCF records in rushing yards and touchdowns with 29.

The chiseled 6'1", 217 lb. running back is a very patient runner who has rare agility and quickness for a player of his size. Smith's best attribute is his vision, although he is very explosive when attacking the line of scrimmage. Smith is one of the few running backs that plays faster than his timed speed, which was an attribute similar to that of the NFL's all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith when he came out of the University of Florida and entered the NFL draft.

At Smith's pro day Thursday, scouts had him clocked anywhere from 4.40-4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash, which was a significant improvement from last month's NFL combine, in which he ran a 4.53. Smith spoke of his pro day experience—

"I got some good feedback from the teams. It wasn't perfect, but if they're not lying to me, they said I did a good job. It was my first one, but I was comfortable. I feel like I'll improve and get better for the later workouts," Smith said.

Smith's upright running style and slim, lanky limbs are likely what is keeping the productive runner from being rated amongst the top running back prospects in this year's draft. There are also questions about the level of competition he faced while starring in Conference USA. currently has Smith rated as the #8 running back prospect, and NFL Draft Scout figures him to be a third to fourth-round pick.

If the Jaguars can grab a player of Smith's talent in the middle rounds of the draft, they will have a legitimate replacement for their two back system when Fred Taylor decides to call it quits in the relatively near future, as Taylor turned 32 years old in January. The Jaguars would be afforded the opportunity to bring Smith along slowly, as they already have two stars at the position, and Smith would be able to learn from one of the best in the game, in Taylor.

Jags Illustrated Top Stories