2008 record: 5-11
Needs: OT, DT, WR, QB, CB
2009 top draft picks:
Rd 1 - OT Eugene Monroe
Rd 2 - OT Eben Britton
Rd 3 - DT Terrance Knighton, CB Derek Cox
Rd 4 - WR Mike Thomas
With so many pressing needs, the Jags could have gone in several different directions with their first pick, the eighth overall, and their fans could debate for years the choice of Eugene Monroe over B.J. Raji, Michael Crabtree and Josh Freeman.
Jack Del Rio made a statement that Jacksonville was returning to a smash-mouth running attack not only with the selection of Monroe but also by following it up with another tackle as their second pick. This was a draft rich with first-round talent at the position and the Jaguars were fortunate that Eben Britton fell to them in Round Two. As two of the top tackles, Monroe and Britton, along with free agent acquisition Tra Thomas, will solidify an o-line that was a patchwork job last year with injuries and the senseless loss of Richard Collier. The Jags hope that Monroe at LT and Britton at RT could turn out to be their version of Michael Roos and David Stewart.
The Jaguars came back to further address their power-running game in the seventh round by complementing Maurice Jones-Drew with big RB Rashad Jennings. It looks like the Jaguars are trying to rebuild a one-two punch in the Fred Taylor/MJD mold, running behind a strong o-line. With all of this investment in the running game, Jacksonville fans will hope it pays off by making David Garrard a more effective quarterback.
Turning to defense in the third round, Jacksonville selected wide-bodied DT Terrance Knighton, hoping he can replace the sorely-missed Marcus Stroud. If he pans out, he'll take some of the pressure off the man next to him, Big John Henderson.
Their other third-round pick was a real puzzler, since the Jags traded away next year's second-round selection to get him. The Titans did much the same thing, but there's a big difference. Tennessee's selection of Jared Cook, a highly rated prospect, drew a lot of praise as an astute move. Jacksonville's selection of Derek Cox, who wasn't rated that highly, was widely questioned.
If he works out, it will really help the Jaguars secondary. But if he isn't the second coming of Rashean Mathis, Jags fans will be very upset with management. Like Monroe, the selection of Cox will be scrutinized for years in Jacksonville.
The last notable pick, fourth-rounder Mike Thomas, is a slot receiver who should augment the passing attack while veteran wideout Torry Holt will be counted on as the go-to guy.
Jacksonville rounded out their draft with two more receivers and a project at tight end.
If some of these picks develop, the Titans-Jaguars matchup could be reminiscent of their earlier rivalry. I'm not suggesting that either of their first two draft picks will be another Tony Boselli, that Knighton will become another Henderson or Stroud, Cox will be another Mathis or that one of the receivers will turn into the next Jimmy Smith. But those are the standards by which this draft class will be judged by Jaguars fans.
Like the drafts of the other Titans' division rivals, this one gives some insight into the team's philosophy. Titans fans, what do you think about the Jaguars' draft?