Jacksonville Jaguars 2011 NFL Draft Grades


The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team with a coach on the hot seat, and a brand new first round quarterback in the fold. The Jags very rarely cease to amaze on draft day, specifically with some of the moves they make in the first round. They shocked the rest of the NFL world last year when they chose California DL Tyson Alualu with the 10th overall pick. That choice turned out to be a pretty good one, even though it got some pretty harsh grades from draft analysts and experts across the web.

All of that being said, very rarely do I initially like what the Jaguars do on draft day, because they take a bunch of players that you have likely never heard of, or guys that went to such small schools you didn’t even know they existed. Still, I think the Jags did a fine job this year, at least with a few of their picks, and they made one of the gutsier moves in the draft, a move that could cool off the hot seat that Jack Del Rio is sitting in…

1. First Round, 10th overall: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

The Jaguars traded up in the first round with the Washington Redskins, a great trade for both parties as the Jags picked up their quarterback of the future in Blaine Gabbert, the second ranked quarterback on NFL Mocks’ big board. To me, Gabbert is a great athlete and a guy who can sling the ball all over the field, but he’s very raw and is going to take some time. He’s going into a good situation here where he can develop for a year behind David Garrard. Why do I love this pick? It’s not so much that I love the player, but the Jaguars got solid value even despite trading up to do it, and I think this was a gutsy move by Jack Del Rio and the gang. Again, Gabbert isn’t the best QB prospect, but it’s a move that could save Del Rio’s job if the Jags continue to struggle, because now they have a “franchise” QB waiting in the wings. Good move by the Jags, and I like the pick.

Pick Grade: A

2. Third Round, 76th overall: Will Rackley, OL, Lehigh

Will Rackley isn’t the best offensive line prospect in the draft, but he is very underrated because of small school status and has the potential to be a great starter in this system. He’s a big, powerful guy who is going to come in and compete immediately to start at one of the guard positions in camp. Played offensive tackle at Lehigh where he was simply too big and too strong for anyone to get by. This was a solid pick by the Jaguars, and decent value. I’m not “wowed” by the selection, but I like it and I think he could be a starter sooner rather than later.

Pick Grade: B+

3. Fourth Round, 114th overall: Cecil Shorts, WR, Mount Union

The biggest thing for Shorts is going to be transitioning to the NFL game, and how he responds to not being overly dominant anymore. He was extremely productive at Mount Union, and has all of the physical skills needed to be a good receiver in the NFL. He is a solid route runner with speed, and he can make big plays down the field. I wasn’t sure where Shorts would get picked in the draft, but the Jaguars obviously had their eyes on him for a while. Again, I am not blown away by this pick, but I am intrigued because you want to see a guy like this succeed.

Pick Grade: B

4. Fourth Round, 121st overall: Chris Prosinski, S, Wyoming

Look at the name, and this pick is nothing special. Look at the prodcution, and the Jaguars stole one of the draft’s hardest workers and most productive safeties. Had 140 tackles as a senior to go along with a couple of interceptions. He should contribute immediately on special teams, but will be a factor in the rotation at strong safety for the Jaguars. I’m not saying this guy is going to be an All-Pro, but the Jaguars picked a high character kid with some upside here. He is a 24 year old rookie though, so he’s older than most. Still, he’s a very smart, mature player who can help this team right away.

Pick Grade: B

5. Fith Round, 147th overall: Rod Issac, DB, Middle Tennessee State

Sleeper player who has great speed and adds depth to the Jaguars’ secondary, which was one of the clear weak spots on the team over the last couple of years. Not as productive or physically gifted as former MTS CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but definitely has some skill. He will contribute on special teams right away, and will be a developmental nickel or dime defensive back who has speed to burn.

Pick Grade: C+

Overall Draft Grade: B-

Overall, I’m not wowed by the Jaguars’ draft, but they got some solid players. I love the move to get their quarterback of the future, and I think it could be a great move for Jack Del Rio’s career. This team needs to start winning games now, and they have the pieces to possibly do that. This draft seemed like a move for the future of this team, which I like.