Jaguars Too Greedy?

In the year and a half since current Jaguars general manager Gene Smith has taken over, the team has experienced an infusion of youth at key positions while they've said goodbye to popular veterans such as Fred Taylor and John Henderson. Smith's moves in the 2009 draft have earned him the benefit of the doubt at the very least with many Jaguars fans and rightfully so.

2010 is a new season and although we've yet to see a single Gene Smith draftee bust out or not look like anything but a very good value, Smith has earned the right for some good natured criticism.

The brunt of the questioning of Gene Smith revolves around April's draft. As we all know, the Jaguars made a splash, so-to-speak with their first-round pick as they selected California defensive tackle Tyson Alualu. Alualu was considered a mid-to-late first-round pick by many experts, and the Jaguars liked him enough to pull the trigger at pick number 10. All reports thus far have shown Alualu as a solid selection, but how much can really be shown in non-contact OTA's?

Clearly Alualu will be what Gene Smith's 2010 draft class will be judged upon, and for the record we believe he will be a solid player. Unfortunately, Smith didn't maximize value at the time and unless Alualu has a Richard Seymour like impact, the Jaguars will appear as if they were short-changed on the selection.

If there were no trading partners available that's one thing, but there are reports that surfaced from the Bay Area that the Jaguars were offered a fourth-round selection to slide back to San Francisco's pick at number 13. A fourth-round pick may not turn out to be much, but last year's Jaguars fourth-rounder (wide receiver Mike Thomas) may be their starting wideout opposite Mike Sims-Walker in 2010. Another advantage from trading back would be that the team wouldn't have had to pay Tyson Alualu tenth-overall selection money, which could save a cash-strapped organization millions.

If Smith was looking for more out of his tenth-overall selection, the joke was obviously on him as the Jaguars were "stuck" selecting a player who they really liked, but could have had later on.

Do we know for sure that the Miami Dolphins wouldn't have selected Tyson Alualu with their 12th overall selection? No, but the odds of them selecting him there were extremely unlikely.

The greed of Gene Smith and the Jaguars struck not just once in this year's draft, but twice. Veteran defensive tackle John Henderson was effectively worked out of the Jaguars plans when they selected Alualu, and later Louisiana Tech defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith (third round).

The Oakland Raiders were interested in Henderson's services and reportedly offered up a fifth-round pick to the Jaguars for the two-time Pro Bowler. Instead of realizing that Henderson was no longer a commodity and taking the Raiders very generous offer, Smith decided to play hard-ball again and demand a fourth-round selection. The Raiders wisely refused and then on Friday ended up agreeing to terms with the eight-year veteran without giving up any consideration.

It's easy to defend Smith's personnel choices thus far in his relatively short tenure as the Jaguars "czar", but Smith's non-actions in April's draft cost the team two valuable draft picks. With a team that's attempting to dig its way out of the last-place hole its been in for two consecutive seasons, they must take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves and Smith and the Jaguars came out empty.


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