Despite a 2009 draft that landed them four new starters, including two along the offensive line, the Jacksonville Jaguars still finished under .500 at 7-9. The Jags needed a similar draft in 2010 to keep pace with the rest of the AFC South, which was the only NFL division in 2009 where every team finished with at least seven wins. That’s a difficult task when you consider Jacksonville had just six picks in the 2010 draft and only two in first four rounds. Chris Tripodi breaks down Jacksonville’s 2010 draft, which focused heavily on improving a front seven that registered the least sacks in the NFL last season.
With the 10th overall pick in the first round Jacksonville drafted California defensive tackle Tyson Alualu. His size (6-2, 295) and speed (4.98) won’t blow you away, but he plays bigger and faster than his measurable and has a nasty streak. Alualu beats blockers to the point of attack with a quick first step and has excellent hands to shed blocks when engaged by larger offensive lineman. He’s a smart player who keeps his feet moving through blocks and plays hard until the whistle blows. We had him rated as a late first or early second-round prospect so this pick was a bit of a reach for the Jags with more explosive lineman on the board, but Alualu should find his way into Jacksonville’s defensive line rotation right away with John Henderson and Terrance Knighton.
Since Jacksonville traded this year’s second-round pick to move up and draft Derek Cox last season, the Jags didn’t choose again until early in round three. They went with another defensive tackle at this spot, Louisiana Tech’s D’Anthony Smith. Rated as a sixth-round prospect here at Draft Insider, Smith is another reach at a position of need for Jacksonville.
Smith is a good athlete for his size (6-2, 304) and has a quick first step to go along with a strong upper body. He lacks the moves to shed blocks once engaged at the point of attack and is a marginal pass rusher, but has the ability to collapse the pocket and make plays in the backfield. Smith has some definite upside if he can refine his game and improve his ability to get off blocks and should be the fourth defensive tackle in Jacksonville this season.
Jacksonville didn’t draft again until the fifth round, taking Central Arkansas outside linebacker Larry Hart and Murray State defensive end Austen Lane.
We had Hart rated as a free agent, as he will need time to develop from playing defensive end in college to the NFL linebacker position. At just 6-0, 246, teams can run at Hart successfully and while he has adequate football instincts, he will need work on his angles of pursuit and coverage awareness to stick in the league.
Lane looks like a steal this late as we gave him a third-round grade. At a lean 6-5, 276 pounds he has the size to play at the next level and the growth potential to get stronger. He showed off his potential during post-season workouts at the Senior Bowl and the combine and, while he will need time to adjust from the Ohio Valley Conference to the NFL, his speed off the edge and array of block-shedding moves will serve him well once he adjusts to game speed at the next level.
With the first of two picks in round seven, Jacksonville drafted Southern Illinois running back Deji Karim. Karim’s lack of size (5-8, 205) and strength after initial contact will prevent him from ever being a featured runner in the NFL, but his speed (4.43) and elusiveness combined with good vision and the patience to follow his blocks could make him a solid situational skill back and a poor man’s Maurice-Jones Drew.
James Madison cornerback Scotty McGee was Jacksonville’s final pick of the 2010 draft and, while his size (5-8, 184) will limit him to nickel and dime duty on defense, he is a game-changer on special teams with 4.37 speed that can affect field position and alter momentum on kick and punt returns.
Grade: D+ Jacksonville continued the trend they started last season, using most of their picks on players from non-traditional football powers after a disastrous 2008 draft that included Florida’s Derrick Harvey and Auburn’s Quentin Groves. It worked for them in 2009 when they had four picks in the first three rounds, all of which turned into starters, but with such a shallow stable of picks this season it may prove to be a very risky approach. This is especially true when you consider the picks of Alualu, Smith and Hart were reaches. The Jaguars addressed one area of need along the defensive line but ignored all others and the lack of any instant-impact starters in this draft class will make it difficult for them to match their 2009 win total in such a competitive division.