Did the Jaguars Make the Right Decision?

Did the Jaguars make the right decision by dealing high draft choices to acquire Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey with the eighth overall pick in the draft?

The debate continues in Jacksonville.

In order to get Baltimore's pick at that spot, the Jaguars gave up their No. 26 overall selection along with a pair of third-round choices and a fifth-round pick. Analysts pondered whether Harvey was worth a top-10 selection. Jacksonville doubted it could land Harvey without making the deal.

In the Jaguars' collective opinion, too many other teams between the eighth overall pick and Jacksonville's initial spot wanted Harvey. Baltimore was the only team willing to make a deal, the Ravens needing to do so to protect their interest in Joe Flacco once Matt Ryan was taken off the board by the Falcons on the third pick.

Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio was adamant that the team did the right thing and did it for the right reason -- to shore up an area that was a concern a year ago and would likely continue that way heading into the 2008 season.

"Going into the draft, the week before, if you said that the Jaguars were somehow going to come out of the draft with Derrick Harvey, everyone would have laughed," Del Rio said. "Nobody thought that was possible, including us. We felt it was a great weekend where a lot of things went our way.

"In reality when you talk about the number of players you gave up, you can give up 10 sixth-round players, but you can't get up there (in the top 10 overall). It's just a matter of value and the fact that Baltimore was willing to slide back on the chart and get a couple of additional picks and still take the quarterback they wanted."

Skeptics continue to weigh in, saying the club gave up too much for Harvey, who projects as an every-down player but who has a history of taking plays off. The Jaguars then gave up another fifth-round selection to move up several spots in the second round to grab another defensive end in Quentin Groves.

Had the Jaguars not traded up and been forced to execute their own pick, No. 26 overall, they could have grabbed Lawrence Jackson, an end from Southern California who was also very high on their board, or they could have opted for tackle Kentwan Balmer from North Carolina. He would have cushioned the loss of the departed Marcus Stroud in the offseason. And the Jaguars still would have had a pair of third-round picks and another fifth-round choice in their possession.

After missing on previous first-round picks Reggie Williams and Matt Jones in 2004 and '05, respectively, and with the jury still out on No. 1 picks Marcedes Lewis and Reggie Nelson, Harvey will need to produce impressive numbers -- double-digit sack totals -- early in his career to justify the team's investment.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was one of those perfect storms, where things just aligned and both teams got what they wanted." -- Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio regarding the deal Jacksonville made with Baltimore, giving up multiple draft choices for the eighth overall pick, used to select Florida DE Derrick Harvey.


Jags Illustrated Top Stories