- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Whether Matt Jones is in more trouble or not -- and my feeling is he will face more league discipline for violating terms of a plea agreement -- the popular thinking now is that the Jaguars may be lining up for a receiver at No. 8 in the draft.
Michael Crabtree should be gone, but Jeremy Maclin could be there, and he could be intriguing for a team that needs a big-play threat.
In an extended conversation I had last week with GM Gene Smith -- before the Jones developments and the signing of veteran left tackle Tra Thomas -- I asked him whether the team's track record with first-round receivers would have a bearing on its considerations in his first draft at the helm.
The team has had trouble finding a big, consistent contributor when using first-round picks on receivers -- see R. Jay Soward (29th in 2000), Reggie Williams (ninth in 2004) and Jones (21st in 2005).
Here's what Smith had to say on the need for a receiver in response to a question that mentioned how both the Jaguars and the Titans are receiver needy:
"It's been challenging for us," Smith said. "Certainly we are an offense that uses multiple tight ends and we do throw to our backs. There are teams that primarily throw to their receivers. We throw to the whole skill group, the tight ends, receivers and the backs, so we spread the ball around. But it would certainly help us for a player or two to emerge on the outside that can consistently win when put in one-on-one situations. The Titans are a lot like us, they want to establish the run and I do believe that you win games up front. What was our strength two years ago, running the ball, was a little bit of our Achilles heel last year in the fact that we had those injuries early in the season.
"We do need to get someone on the outside that can consistently win and that's one area that to improve our football team that we do have to get better."
And here's Smith on the influence of the recent draft results at the position:
"History, to me, is the greatest predictor of future success for an individual," Smith said. "It certainly wouldn't hold us back from selecting a great player. I mean, regardless of what position it is. When you have an opportunity to get a great player, it's something you would not pass on, you just wouldn't do that. But certainly, is there a little bit of an alert based on prior history? Yes. Like I said, you hope the next time you are in position to make a decision like that, you make a better one. So any position, receiver is right in there with our thoughts to improve this football team."