Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags Should Draft Receiver First

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags Should Draft Receiver First

Article excerpt

Two weeks before the NFL Draft, one in which the Jaguars appear to have little to gain by moving up or down from the 29th spot, Tom Coughlin is being predictably coy about what the team should do with its first-round pick.

In keeping with the pre-draft's tradition of putting up smokescreens, Coughlin makes sure to throw out enough options so that opponents will have a harder time pinpointing what the Jaguars intend to do. But considering the late-round spot, the available crop and the team's needs, the direction of that first-round pick should be as obvious as who has taken over as Jacksonville's hated rival.

All those glaring needs along the interior offensive line can wait until later in the draft. They might even be postponed until June when Ben Coleman's price and that of other NFL veterans is a lot cheaper. And forget that "best player still on the board" theory.

There should be no debate this year. Coughlin ought to invest that first pick on something the Jaguars have rarely had in their five-year existence: a viable third receiver.

If ever the time was right to get some help for Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell, it's now. They've got one, maybe two years left as one of the NFL's best tandems and this draft looks to be more loaded with quality receivers than any other position. Based on that premise, some would argue the Jaguars ought to wait until the second round (60th pick) or third (92nd pick) to get that extra weapon for Mark Brunell. That's the kind of risk that could end up costing the Jaguars a shot at the Super Bowl.

One of the pivotal reasons the St. Louis Rams hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy is they could put three receivers on the field that warranted attention from secondaries. One of those was rookie Torry Holt, a first-round draft pick who had 52 catches for 788 yards and six touchdowns.

I'm not suggesting the Jaguars can get a Holt-like talent at the 29th spot, but there's clearly a better chance of getting an impact receiver late in the first round than anything else.

Jacksonville can no longer wait on Reggie Barlow, a poor man's Willie Jackson, to become their No. …

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