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Saturday, April 30, 2011
Jaguars will target defense in free agency

By Paul Kuharsky

The Jaguars don’t know when free agency will start. They do know they like the linebackers they’ll have a chance to talk to better than they liked the ones that were available in the draft.

In five picks, Jacksonville drafted offense in the first, third and fourth round, and added to the defensive secondary in the fourth and fifth.

Here is director of player personnel Terry McDonough from a session with the Jacksonville media.
“I don’t know if you guys are going to ask about why didn’t we take more defensive players, but I told [defensive coordinator] Mel [Tucker] two days ago, I said, ‘Mel, just relax. Trust what we’re doing.' It would have been a lot easier to sit up here and explain if we had unrestricted free agency before the draft. It would have made more sense probably to you and everybody else.

“This was not a strong draft in my opinion in positions that we ‘were looking for.’ I didn’t feel it was a strong cornerback draft even though there was a lot of numbers. I didn’t feel it was a strong linebacker draft, and what Gene [Smith] and I try to stay away from is we have the needs, needs, needs and it might look good when we get our grades if we take the needed positions, but if that guy’s not good enough and we reach to take a need, you’re going to be needing that same position the next year and the year after because that guy’s not going to be good enough.

“So we wanted to select players in this draft that were good enough to come in here and help us this year, and then go to unrestricted free agency and get targeted guys there. We plan to be active, that can fill some of the needs we didn’t [fill], because we weren’t going to fill them all in this draft.”

So Jaguars fans have to be patient and understand the roster is hardly complete at this point. When the lockout ends and the market opens, the Jaguars will be shoppers. And we know what they will be shopping for.