Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NFL Draft Fact or Fiction? Jaguars General Manager, Scouts Try to Eliminate Misinformation on Prospects

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NFL Draft Fact or Fiction? Jaguars General Manager, Scouts Try to Eliminate Misinformation on Prospects

Article excerpt

Byline: Tania Ganguli

In the past five years or so, the workload involved with studying players entered into the NFL Draft skyrocketed for Jaguars general manager Gene Smith.

Misinformation about prospects spreads easily and quickly in the internet age and it's his and his staff's job to figure out what's real and what isn't.

"You would be amazed," Smith said at the Jaguars' pre-draft luncheon, sitting between Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio and Director of Player Personnel Terry McDonough. "We will go to a workout and the guy might run a 4.6 and you see in the media that he ran a 4.3. You will find out the guy's a medical risk going into the draft because he has bad knees, and he doesn't have bad knees. Maybe, he has bad something else, maybe bad elbows.

"You will get something where someone got in trouble and they have the wrong person. Every single year there are pieces of information out there because of the internet that you are in essence putting out fires."

Though his title doesn't call him one anymore, Smith still considers himself a scout and the draft marks the culmination of months of study and the first real chance this offseason for the Jaguars to upgrade their roster. The Jaguars have the 16th pick in next week's draft and needs at defensive end, linebacker, safety, interior offensive linemen, quarterback and receiver.

As Smith figures out what players fit them best, he feels the best way to sift through what's true and false is to trust his own work and his own staff - especially in the month before the draft.

That self-confidence is a big reason they sometimes make selections others don't anticipate. Last year's 10th overall draft pick Tyson Alualu wasn't projected by many as a first-rounder.

Smith said the Jaguars have contacted every NFL team to declare the team's openness to trades in any round, but he added that moving around too much in the draft is often a sign of uncertainty.

"We feel like we have some that work well for us, but you hear different things," Smith said. "You hear there's a war room. Well, you would like to think you're making rational decisions before draft day and not irrational ones when you're on the clock. …

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