Jacksonville Jaguars: Ernest Wilford

Jaguars best & worst: Round 4

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The upcoming NFL draft will be the 20th in Jacksonville Jaguars' history, not counting the expansion draft.

To commemorate that milestone, I’m looking back at each draft and giving you the best and worst selections in each round. Today is the fourth round, and the first round will appear on Tuesday, April 15 -- appropriate since that is the day taxes are due, and first rounders make the most money.

These rankings are based on what the player did with the Jaguars. If they failed to produce with the Jaguars but had success somewhere else -- whether they left as free agents, were cut and caught on somewhere else, or traded -- that’s a negative.

I’m expecting some disagreement, which is fine. Your feedback is welcomed (click the email link at the bottom), and I’m going to post some of the best comments (read: those without profanity) on April 16.

Here we go ...

Round 4

Best pick

This was another easy choice: Quarterback David Garrard, the 108th overall player selected in 2002. After sharing time with Byron Leftwich, Garrard became the Jaguars’ starter in 2007 and went on to become the second-leading passer in franchise history (16,003 yards). He holds team records for career completion percentage (61.6), consecutive passes without an interception (209), and consecutive completions (17). He also ranks second in touchdown passes (89), attempts (2,281) and completions (1,406).

Garrard’s crowning moment came in an AFC Wildcard game at Pittsburgh. Garrard atoned for an interception that led to a Steelers touchdown late in the fourth quarter by scrambling for a 32-yard gain on fourth-and-2 that led to Josh Scobee's 25-yard field goal that gave the Jaguars a 31-29 victory.

Garrard’s career in Jacksonville came to a bizarre end when he was cut just days before the 2011 season began after attending a season kickoff banquet.

Honorable mention

DT Seth Payne (1997) played 10 seasons in the NFL and recorded 8.5 sacks in his five seasons with the Jaguars.

WR Mike Thomas (2009) caught 171 passes for 1,768 yards and six touchdowns in 52 games for the Jaguars before being traded to Detroit midway through the 2012 season.

WR Cecil Shorts (2011) has caught 123 passes for 1,786 yards and 11 touchdowns in three seasons with the Jaguars. Injuries have kept him from playing a full season.

TE George Wrighster (2003) caught 94 passes for 850 yards and nine touchdowns in six seasons with the Jaguars.

TE/WR Ernest Wilford (2004) played in the NFL for seven seasons (six with Jacksonville, one with Miami) and caught 156 passes for 2,145 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Worst pick

General manager Shack Harris took end Brian Smith with the 113th overall pick in 2007 even though Smith suffered a broken hip during his senior season at Missouri. Smith spent his rookie season in the PUP list and was waived in June of 2008.

Honorable mention

DT Kevin Landolt (1999) played in one game as a rookie before being waived.

OT Joey Chustz (2000) never played in a game and was cut less than a year after being drafted.

TE Chris Luzar (2002) caught four passes for 35 yards in 23 games with the Jaguars.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It would be hard for the Jacksonville Jaguars to blow their first-round draft pick.

General manager David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley have so much talent from which to choose at No. 3 that it would be hard to find fault with whatever decision they made. Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack, Sammy Watkins, Greg Robinson, or any of the three quarterbacks are all good options.

The same applies for the second round as well, especially if the Jaguars are going offense because Caldwell said this is a deep draft for offensive talent.

It's on the third day of the draft, however, where it gets a lot tougher. How the Jaguars perform in Rounds 4-7 will be the key to the success of the draft, Bradley said.

"I think that's where we really have to do well," Bradley said. "The first round, obviously, and the second round you have to do some things there. But this draft will be determined by how well we do in those rounds.

"Example: Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, guys like that can make a big difference there. We focus on all areas, but that's an area that we've got to concentrate on, too."

Sherman (2011) and Chancellor (2010) were both fifth-round picks who developed into key members of the Seattle secondary. That's the kind of result for which the Jaguars are hoping for this year.

They've set themselves up with enough ammunition. Because of trades with Baltimore, Detroit and San Francisco, the Jaguars have eight picks in rounds 4-7, including three in fifth round. That should increase their odds of finding at least one player who could develop into a starter.

In reality, though, they're fighting against tradition. Looking back over the past 10 years of fifth-round picks by every NFL team doesn't exactly reveal a lot of success. There are some familiar names -- Sherman, Chancellor, Riley Cooper, Chris Clemons (the defensive back), Rob Ninkovich, and Brent Celek, for example -- but the majority of the picks turned into marginal players at best or were out of the league within a year or two.

The Jaguars haven't had much success with players selected in rounds 4-7 over the past decade, either. They hit on three in 2004 -- receiver Ernest Wilford (fourth), kicker Josh Scobee (fifth) and defensive end Bobby McCray (seventh) -- but since then only five players taken in those round became significant contributors: safety Gerald Sensabaugh (fifth round in 2005), guard Uche Nwaneri (fifth round in 2007), running back Rashad Jennings (seventh round in 2009), receiver Mike Thomas (fourth round in 2009) and receiver Cecil Shorts (fourth round in 2011).

It's too early to tell if any of the players taken in rounds 4-7 the past two seasons will become significant contributors, but it appears the team hit on receiver Ace Sanders (fourth round in 2013).

Bradley said the Jaguars will try to find players in those rounds that fit a specific role. Sanders, for example, was drafted to be the team's punt returner. It's the same approach they used in free agency with linebacker Dekoda Watson, a special teams standout who played situationally on defense with Tampa Bay. The Jaguars project him as a strongside linebacker on first and second downs and a leo on third down.

"For us he was intriguing. We have a spot for him," Bradley said. "We know exactly where we want to play him. That's what can happen [in] the fifth, sixth round. Hey, we really like this guy. We have a spot that he can come in and do some good things."

Find enough of those guys on the third day and Bradley will consider the draft a success.