Draft Q&A: Bernstein and Steuber

The draft appears to be the primary subject on the minds of the Jaguars organization and their fans. JagNation Editor-in-Chief Charlie Bernstein chatted with Scout.com NFL Draft Expert Chris Steuber to try and find out which players would be good fits in Jacksonville, as well as what positions tend to be the safest picks.

Charlie Bernstein: The good thing about selecting near the end of each round is that it means the team was pretty successful a year ago. Unfortunately, you are still picking at the end of each round. The Jaguars main area of need is on the defensive line, mainly in the form of a pass rusher. Is there anyone who will slip to #26 who can get after the quarterback, or must the team use their extra picks to try and get into the #17-22 range?

Chris Steuber: The Jaguars won't have an opportunity to select Chris Long, Vernon Gholston or Derrick Harvey, as they will be gone within the top-15 picks. But they could try to move up in the No. 17 – 25 range and target Phillip Merling or Quentin Groves. Although, if they stay at No. 26, Miami's Calais Campbell should be available and would give the Jaguars a young, enticing DE with a lot of upside.

Charlie Bernstein: The Jaguars have always claimed to be a BPA (best player available) team, but their selections in round one each and every year of the Del Rio administration strongly suggest otherwise. Over that time, they've appeared to more or less strike out at worst, or at least not get great returns from their initial draft picks. In rounds 2-7, they seem to take a more pure BPA approach, and have hit home runs with players such as Rashean Mathis, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Daryl Smith among others. If you were the final decision maker, would you take need into account, or would you just pick the next guy available on your board?

Chris Steuber: It all depends on who's on the board at the time when you make your selection. For instance, if you need a defensive end, and the fifth ranked DE on your board is the best player available, you may want to reevaluate your first round strategy. I believe in drafting the best prospect available, especially when you're drafting late in the first round. If a player who's projected to be a top-15 pick falls in your lap, you have to take that as a gift and select that player, regardless of the position he plays. You can worry about need later in the draft and identify players who fit your system.

Charlie Bernstein: Jacksonville has seemed to be interviewing and working out a lot of cornerbacks, and have even visited a certain quarterback that played his collegiate ball in the first state of the union. Is this smoke, or would they actually take another corner, with three high priced guys in Rashean Mathis, Brian Williams, and Drayton Florence already on the roster?

Chris Steuber: Every team has to do their due diligence and take a look at the prospects their scouts and personnel are impressed with. If they don't, they're not doing their job. There's a chance the Jaguars will take another cornerback, especially if he's the best player on the board. But I believe the top-four corners (Aqib Talib, Leodis McKelvin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Mike Jenkins) will be off the board, and the Jaguars will focus their attention on another area.

Charlie Bernstein: Defensive tackle Trevor Laws from Notre Dame seems to be rising on everyone's draft board, and in my most recent mock; I had the Jaguars selecting him in round one. Would they be reaching if that was indeed the course of action?

Chris Steuber: Not at all, Laws is my wildcard selection in the first round. You have to remember, teams drafting late in the first round won't have an opportunity at players who're projected to be early second round picks, unless they trade up into the early portion of the second round. So, if they like a player, but the player isn't graded as a first round prospect and their No. 1 option has already been taken, they will consider taking that player because they fear he will be gone before they make their second selection.

Charlie Bernstein: Considering the fairly high bust rate of top 10 quarterbacks, are teams getting almost scared to pick one at the top of the draft?

Chris Steuber: I'm sure they are, but you have to trust your evaluations and be confident that the QB you select is the right one for your offense.

Charlie Bernstein: It seems as if not too long ago, the first-overall pick was something that teams coveted, almost so much as they would possibly "tank" games at the end of seasons to be in the best position to get help in the future. These days, it appears that the number one overall selection is more of a burden, being that it's so highly scrutinized, as well as the ridiculous guaranteed money that those particular players will command. It's so bad that the top pick seems just about untradeable right now. What are your thoughts on that?

Chris Steuber: It's a shame. I remember back when teams were awarded the No. 1 pick overall, the franchise and its fans were so excited and optimistic that the collegiate player they selected had the opportunity to turn the struggling team's fortune around. Now, with all the guaranteed money these unproven commodities are slotted to earn, it makes teams uneasy, because if you make a mistake with the top pick it can hurt your franchise for many years. It's the nature of the beast, and it's unfortunate, but teams have to be comfortable with the player they select because they're investing so much in that player.

Charlie Bernstein: I did some research before last season and found that over the past five or six years (2001-2005), the position of safety was the safest pick in the first-round of the draft, being that almost every first-round safety selected had made the Pro Bowl at least once, and all were still starters. What do you believe is the safest position specific pick?

Chris Steuber: I would agree with you that safety has been a very productive position in the first round. If you draft a safety in the first round, you better be sure he's the right selection, because a safety isn't considered a front-line position that warrants a top pick. But, it seems the success rate is pretty high and has worked out for a lot of teams. Another position is tight end. If you draft a tight end in the first round, he better be a difference maker. Over the years, there have been a lot of hits and some misses, but overall teams have done a good job at selecting first round TEs.

Charlie Bernstein: Outside of Vernon Gholston, Chris Long, Sedrick Ellis, and Glenn Dorsey, can any other defensive linemen be impact players in their rookie seasons?

Chris Steuber: You're leaving out Derrick Harvey and Trevor Laws. Harvey is a very good pass rusher who's a bit streaky, but has the ability to make an impact. Laws plays with such a high motor that if he gets in the right defensive scheme, he can have an immediate impact in his rookie season.

Charlie Bernstein: You have the final say on all draft matters for Jacksonville. At #26, Trevor Laws, Calais Campbell, and Antoine Cason are all still on the board, who do you select and why?

Chris Steuber: That is a tough question, and I do think all three will be on the board for the Jaguars. If I had the final say in Jacksonville, I'd go with Calais Campbell. You're talking about a 6-foot-8, 290-pound defensive end who entered the draft after his junior year and won't turn 22 until the season begins in September. He's a promising young player with a lot of ability and has the chance to be dominant with the right coaching.


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