Sunday, March 7, 2010
Kampman to Jax alters plan at No. 10
By Paul Kuharsky ESPN.com
Jacksonville general manager Gene Smith is very much a best-player-available drafter, and the Jaguars' ability to land free-agent prize Aaron Kampman means Smith won’t be nearly as predictable with the 10th pick in the draft as mock drafters have previously believed.
The Jaguars expect Aaron Kampman to bolster the team's pass rush in 2010.
I can’t wait to hear from Kampman about the Jaguars’ sales pitch, because word has been teams like Philadelphia and Seattle were seriously interested, too. He played like a cover operative, keeping quiet about where he’d visit, so much so that there were several mistaken reports and his mom told me she was sworn to secrecy.
But the Jaguars got him to North Florida and got him under contract.
Kampman is coming off a torn ACL and a down year with the Packers who changed from a 4-3, in which he’s best, to a 3-4. After Julius Peppers, Kampman was one of the two best pass-rushers available in free agency, and so the Jaguars pursued him the way they expect he will pursue quarterbacks.
So I pledge that if for some reason he doesn’t work out, the Jaguars won’t take heat from me. If you go get the best guy to help at your biggest weakness, and things don’t go as hoped, you still went for it.
Smith is still likely to draft an end -- at No. 10 he will be able to take the player he likes best -- not the player he likes best who addresses the team’s biggest need.
Cue the applause.
With Kampman and receiver/special-teamer Kassim Osgood, the Jaguars have already done better in free agency than I imagined they would or could. If they do nothing else but wait for the draft now, that’d be fine.
Though locking up their own defensive end free agent, Reggie Hayward, who was also hurt last year, would be another good move.