Austen Lane

2010 Draft Grades: Jaguars

Wow, where do I even start with this…

I can honestly say that no 1st-round pick has ever shocked me as much as seeing Tyson Alualu go 10th overall. I’ve heard some people defend Gene Smith by saying only time will tell whether it was a bad pick. I disagree 100%. Only time will tell if Bradford was a bad pick for the Rams or Suh a bad pick for the Lions, etc. But Alualu was a bad for the Jaguars no matter what happens.

There’s simply no way that any other team had him graded as a top-20 pick. Some likely didn’t even have him graded as a 2nd-round pick. After the Jaguars selected Alualu 10th overall, both the 11th and 12th picks were promptly traded – further making the Jags look foolish. They easily could have traded with San Diego (who eventually traded up to No. 12) and taken Alualu in the late 1st round. Or at the very least, traded back to No. 13 with the 49ers (who traded up to No. 11) and at least gotten something in return.

Despite my criticisms of the pick, I do need to say this: I really like Tyson Alualu. I was fully prepared to praise someone for grabbing him in the early 2nd round, or even the late 1st (maybe the Colts or Saints). However, he does have his flaws. He’s a pass-rushing interior lineman, but may not have the size and strength to excel at the next level. As much asĀ  like him, he just wasn’t worth a top-10 pick.

If the selection of Alualu wasn’t bad enough, they spent their next pick on another defensive tackle, D’Anthony Smith. I can understand adding one tackle, as it allowed them to release John Henderson, but two? Terrence Knighton was impressive as a rookie last year and I don’t see how Smith fits into their plans as anything more than a backup.

They finally added some pass rushers in the 5th round with Larry Hart and Austen Lane. Although I wonder if Hart will eventually be switched to strong-side linebacker. He’s slightly undersized and may not be a great fit for playing with his hand on the ground in the NFL. I love the selection of Lane, however. I think he can be groomed as the eventual replacement for Aaron Kampman.

Deji Karim could be a steal in the 6th round. I like him a lot, but the only problem is, he may be too similar to Maurice Jones-Drew. Both are small bowling ball-type running backs. For that reason, I think he’ll struggle to beat out Rashad Jennings as the backup job. They need someone who’s a change of pace from Jones-Drew, not a clone.

Scotty McGee was a questionable 6th-round pick. There were better return specialists on the board. I’m rarely surprised to see a name come off the board by the 6th round, but I was genuinely surprised to hear his name called at all on draft day. They did need a return specialist, however, so I can’t argue too much with taking a chance on one in that late in the draft.

This was a terrible draft from start to finish. Gene Smith, who put together a fairly impressive 2009 draft class, embarrassed himself with the selection of Tyson Alualu. If Alualu fails to pan out, he’ll be out of a job sooner rather than later. For a franchise that desperately needed to make a splash to excite the fan base, they failed miserably.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Jaguars Comments Off

10 Players Who Should Put on a Show at the Combine

10. Taylor Mays S USCCFB: Notre Dame vs USC NOV 29 Mays will put on a show, we know that for certain, but will anyone care? We know he’s fast. We know he’s strong. We know he can jump out of the gym. Expectations for Mays’ performance are so high that will be almost impossible to live up to the hype. Even if he does, there are enough skeptics out there that it may not help his stock. Unless Al Davis grabs him in the top 10 that is…

9. Jared Odrick DT Penn State For an interior lineman, Odrick is a chiseled athlete. Unlike most tackles, Odrick isn’t carrying around too much excess weight; he’s 300 pounds of muscle. He should be one of the faster interior linemen in Indy and should also show off some impressive strength. His blend of strength and athleticism make him a perfect fit at defensive end in a 3-4 scheme.

8. Everson Griffen DE USC Griffen is overshadowed by the elite athletes at the defensive end position (Pierre-Paul, Dunlap, Morgan, etc) but he’s no stiff. At 6’3″ and roughly 280 pounds, Griffen could open some eyes if he runs in the 4.6 range in the 40. It’s tough to call anyone from USC “underrated” but Griffen may be just that. He’s more athletic that he gets credit for, and should prove that at the combine.

7. Mike Iupati OG Idaho Iupati may not be the most athletic player in Indy, but his brute strength is sure to catch the eye of scouts. He’s already solidified his place in the 1st round, but his performance on the bench press may further improve his stock. Teams that are looking for a power run blocker will keep a close eye on him all week.

Ole Misss Dexter McCluster in the AT&T Cotton Bowl6. Dexter McCluster RB/WR Mississippi
All eyes will be on McCluster when he lines up for the 40-yard dash. He’s expected to run in the 4.3 range, and it could crack the 4.2 barrier. He’ll likely do some drills as a receiver and a running back, giving him ample opportunities to impress teams with his versatility.

5. Aaron Hernandez TE Florida
Hernandez doesn’t have the height of an elite tight end (he’s only 6’2″) but he may be the most athletic player at the position to enter the draft since Vernon Davis. He has the skills of an over-sized receiver and should be one of the standouts at Indy – especially if Jermaine Gresham and Rob Gronkowski are unable to work out.

4. Austen Lane DE Murray State
A little-known defensive end from Murray State could be the star of the combine. At 6’6″, 267 pounds he clearly has the size to take his game to the next level. What scouts want to see, however, is how he stacks up athletically with the premiere prospects. With an impressive performance, he could skyrocket up the draft boards.

3. Chad Jones S LSU
In any other year we’d be talking about Jones as the premiere athlete at the safety position. He’s overshadowed by Taylor Mays, but don’t sleep on Jones. He is every bit as physically gifted as Mays and many believe he may be a better all-round football player. If he matches Mays’ workout numbers, Jones could make a run at being the second safety off the board.

2. Jared Veldheer OT Hillsdale
Teams are always looking for a sleeper to step up and show he has the athleticism to play left tackle in the pros. This year Jared Veldheer could be the beneficiary of the NFL’s obsession with left tackles. Much like Sebastian Vollmer climbed from unknown to 2nd-round pick in 2009, Veldheer could do the same with an impressive workout this week.

1. Jason Pierre-Paul DE South Florida
Last year at this time Pierre-Paul hadn’t even set foot on a D-I football field. Now he’s a potential top-10 pick. He’s as raw as the come, but has the pure athleticism to make scouts drool. He should easily rank among the top defensive linemen in every drill at the combine.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft 4 Comments