Shock and Awe in Jacksonville

That loud thud you just heard was the entire city of Jacksonville's collective heads hitting the table. The Jaguars were in a prime position to change the hopes and fortunes of a franchise that has resided in last place for two consecutive seasons and instead...took a 295 pound defensive tackle from California? Really?

One thing you can say about the Jaguars is they keep their big board a secret. Nobody outside of the Alualu family believed that the California tackle was even a first-round draft pick and much less a guy which would be selected in the Top 10.

"I was real surprised," the newest Jaguar said. "It came as a shock to so many people here and myself."

The Jaguars have successfully avoided taking a quarterback early (up to this point at all) for the seventh-consecutive year and they leave their fans asking questions....again.

It's all a matter of value, and in the minds of the fans perception is reality. The perception, as false as it may be is that Tyson Alualu could have been had much later in the draft. When the Jaguars preach about trading back and acquiring more picks and then reach for a player who no team would've selected in the next ten slots, it appears as if they didn't maximize their value...not even close.

"I've gotten a lot of questions about him at number 10 and I completely understand it," Jaguars general manager Gene Smith told reporters. "The more work we did, the better we felt about him."

The Denver Broncos traded back two slots at the 11th pick and picked up a fourth-round pick. Miami moved back from the 12th overall pick to pick #28 and received Seattle's 40th overall selection. Denver then moved back from pick #13 to pick #24 and received a pair of third-round picks from Philadelphia.

All of these were moves that Jacksonville could have made and likely still have grabbed Tyson Alualu.

Many predicted that a new era of Jaguars football would come Thursday evening. Technically they were correct, as the selection of Alualu likely means that the reign of John Henderson patrolling the middle of the Jaguars defense is over, as the new "twin towers" will be made up of the rookie from California and last season's third-round pick, Terrance Knighton.

Gene Smith hinted that a deal is forthcoming.

"He's on our team right now and I'll listen to what anybody has to say about any of our players," Smith said of Henderson. "That doesn't mean you're going to do a deal. We're going to do calls tonight."

Jaguars fans were looking for a new start with a new quarterback that would instill new hope. Instead the Jaguars will enter this season without their three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle who subsequently led the team in sacks a year ago. At least they didn't trade up this time.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, a member of the Pro Football Writers of America, and also the co-host of CB Sports Radio on ESPN 1420 in St. Augustine, FL. You can contact him at charlie@jagnation.com or follow him on twitter @nflcharlie


Jags Illustrated Top Stories