Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Draft Report Card

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Draft Report Card

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette

FIRST ROUND

REGGIE NELSON, S, FLORIDA

Grade: B-plus

If you take quarterback Brady Quinn out of the equation, then this was probably the best move the Jaguars could make. But the Jaguars had better hope Quinn's career doesn't supersede Byron Leftwich, or this pick could haunt them. Nelson has solid value at No. 21 and fills one of the Jaguars' biggest needs. This selection gets an upgrade for trading down from the No. 17 spot to gain extra picks, which eventually landed them fifth-rounder Derek Landri. It's also a minimum $1 million savings in contract cost, not an insignificant amount of money for this franchise.

SECOND ROUND

JUSTIN DURANT, LB, HAMPTON

Grade: B-minus

The best-player-available theory doesn't seem to apply with this pick, but the Jaguars think he measures up to first-round linebacker Jon Beason. It seems like a reach when you consider that Durant might have been there in the third round, and players like Southern Cal WR Steve Smith and several defensive ends were still on the board. However, with the team's recent second-round success, they should receive some benefit of the doubt.

THIRD ROUND

MIKE WALKER, WR, CENTRAL FLORIDA

Grade: B

By far the most intriguing pick of the Jaguars' draft. Walker put up phenomenal numbers last year on a mediocre team. He flew under the radar because UCF fell to 4-8 in 2006 and this was considered a deep receiver draft. With his 4.35 speed in the 40-yard dash, Walker is an immediate threat to take a starting job from Reggie Williams, Matt Jones or Ernest Wilford.

FOURTH ROUND

ADAM PODLESH, P, MARYLAND

Grade: B

Obviously, the Jaguars believe Chris Hanson's hamstring issues last season and prodigious drop in the NFL statistical rankings are a huge problem. Few teams would invest such a high draft pick on a punter, but Podlesh and Baylor's Daniel Sepulveda were the two specialists that warranted this kind of investment. …

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