Jags Looking for Help on Defense

Jaguars scouts have been busy traveling the country trying to find talent in preparation to April's NFL draft. To say teams are secretive about who they are interested in is a massive understatement. Still, JagNation has done a little spying and found Jaguars executive director of college and pro personnel Gene Smith. Find out where he was and which players he was looking at.

With Smith being a graduate from Heidelberg College, we can only assume that his presence at the Clemson-Wake Forest game Thursday night was for business purposes. Some of the top draft eligible prospects on defense from that game are Clemson defensive end Ricky Sapp, defensive tackle Dorell Scott, and safeties Michael Hamlin and Chris Clemons. Wake Forest featured cornerback Alphonso Smith, linebacker Aaron Curry, and strong safety Chip Vaughn.

The Jags are finding out this year that you really can never have enough talent up front, and the interior of their defensive line is aging and the recent results have been big rushing games by the likes of Mewelde Moore and Michael Pittman. A player that may be able to remedy the situation is Dorell Scott of Clemson. Scott is a 6'4", 310 lb. tackle who was an honorable mention all-ACC player a year ago. Scott plays well at the point of attack and he's been able to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Scott hasn't had a superb statistical season up to this point, as he has 18 tackles, three TFL, and a sack. Scott is considered an early second day pick at this time.

Another player that may have caught Gene Smith's watchful eyes is Clemson defensive end/outside linebacker, Ricky Sapp. Sapp would have to play a DPR role at the next level as he stands 6'2", 242 lbs. Although he doesn't have great size, Sapp is speedy, as he reportedly runs in the low 4.4's. Sapp is a big play guys as four of his 10 tackles have been for loss, and he a sack and a pass defensed already this year.

Another Tiger that could change from stripes to spots is safety Michael Hamlin. The 6'3", 206 lb. strong safety has great range and doesn't shy away from oncoming blockers. The team captain is a very instinctive defender, and he currently leads the ACC in interceptions.

One of the top prospects playing in last Thursday's game is Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith. Smith is small in stature at 5'9", 190 lbs., but runs in the 4.3's and has excellent ball skills. Smith tackles well for a player of his size and will not back down from contact. He possesses an ability to make big plays and is better suited for a zone type of scheme, a scheme which the Jaguars employ. At this point, Smith is considered a first or second-round pick.

Outside linebacker Aaron Curry is currently the top ranked outside linebacker in all of the draft, and Gene Smith must have liked what he saw out of the 6'2", 246 lb. Demon Deacon. Curry is great in coverage, and his 4.5 speed is enough to make plays all over the field. He currently leads his team with 39 tackles, four of which for loss, one interception, and a fumble recovery. Curry is expected to be a first-round pick.

Chip Vaughn is a 6'2", 214 lb. strong safety that was Wake Forest's leading tackler in 2007 (105 tackles). The honorable mention all-ACC performer from a year ago is as solid a tackler as any safety in the country, and he is on the Thorpe Award watch list. Vaughn has 25 tackles, one interception and one pass defensed this season and is expected to be an early second-day selection at this time.

With the Jaguars defense in need of depth and repair, don't be surprised if one or more of these names are on the Jaguars draft card next April.


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