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Wright On

Florida Times-Union reporter Michael C. Wright covers the ins and outs of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In this blog, he'll share behind-the-scenes anecdotes not published within the pages of the T-U, in addition to offering up incessant ramblings about nothing such as road trips, crummy hotels and not-so-delicious press box food. Perhaps he'll even delve into serious discussions about NFL issues. So ask questions, participate in conversations, or just learn more about the Jags.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jags nab two pass rushers

Wow, looks like the Jaguars are seriously committed to shoring up the pass rush. They just picked up Auburn's Quentin Groves w/their second-round pick. Looks like there will be a little competition at DE.

Competition is what makes us better," said James "Shack" Harris, Jags vice president of player personnel.

The Jags gave up a fifth- and a seventh-round pick in 2009 to move into position to draft Groves. That means the club has just two picks (fifth rounds, No. 143 overall and 159) remaining for Sunday. Based on the wheeling and dealing of this draft, there's a chance the club could make a move to acquire more picks (by trading a veteran).

"There are a lot of different ways this afternoon could've unfolded," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "We brought in an aggressive mentality today."

The Jags entered the day with eight picks - a first, a second, two thirds, a fourth and three fifth rounders - and finish the day with a potential three-man draft class. Interesting. Very interesting.

"This is a weight off my shoulders," Groves said as he celebrated from his family's home in Mississippi. "I think they've added a couple of great players with me and Derrick [Harvey]."

Jags on the clock again

Tampa Bay traded its pick to the Jags, who now move up to No. 52.

Jackson, Johnson off the board

With USC DE Lawrence Jackson and Arkansas St. S Tyrell Johnson off the board, it looks like the Jags could turn their attention to defensive tackle. There are still a couple of interesting prospects on the board. WRs DeSean Jackson (Cal) and Limas Sweed (Texas) are still available.

One interesting DE/DT prospect to keep an eye on is Tommy Blake (TCU). Before battling issues with mental illness, Blake was considered by many to be a top 15 pick. He likely won't be selected until the fourth or fifth round.

Either way, let's not forget the second round is the Jags' money round. It seems like they've had success drafting in this round. So they should make sure this year is no different.

No WRs taken

The first round is in the books and not a single receiver has been taken. What's up with that? That's a pretty unbelieveable stat.

It's also pretty interesting that Clemson DE Phillip Merling wasn't taken until the first pick of the second round. Maybe his recent workout didn't go as well as everyone was saying.

What's next?

The Jaguars still need help at safety and could use some depth inside at defensive tackle. What will the club do in Round 2?

I said the Jags would take Arkansas St. safety Tyrell Johnson if they stayed at No. 26 and they're probably hoping he'll still be available when they pick in the second round (he won't be by the way).

Coming into the draft, one of the major decision makers on the team told me the club would take either Johnson or USC DE Lawrence Jackson if they stayed at No. 26. It would be interesting to see what the club would do if both Johnson and Jackson (scratch that, Seattle just took him) are available when the Jags pick 27th in the second round (58 overall). Anything can happen, and after all, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio didn't expect his team to be able to move up 18 spots to take Derrick Harvey at No. 8.

"Actually to be perfectly honest, this wasn't one that we envisioned we would be able to entertain," he said. "We were obviously making all the contacts and letting it be known that we were willing if it was doable, something that we felt that was palatable that we would do it. We weren't going to give away our whole draft."

How Jags-Ravens trade went down

Jaguars vice president of player personnel James Harris said the Jags had been in contact all week with several teams about making a deal to move up in the draft.

The Jags gave Baltimore their first-round pick, two third rounders and a fourth to move up to No. 8 to acquire Derrick Harvey. Part of the rationale behind the move is the surplus of talent already on the roster. Because of the talent , it's not a given anymore that a third or fourth rounder can make the Jags' final 53-man roster.

"With our roster, we're not sure they [third-round picks] could make the team," Harris said.

Stay tuned and don't rule out the possibility of the Jags' acquiring another pick by dangling receiver Matt Jones.

Jags take Derrick Harvey

The Jags take Florida DE Derrick Harvey with the No. 8 pick...It'll be announced soon.

Jack Del Rio talks about the selection...

Huge moves

The Jaguars just traded w/Baltimore to acquire the No. 8 pick. Who do they take? The Jags on the clock...

Falcons take Matt Ryan, Raiders grab McFadden

This pick gives me at least the first sign of closure in Atlanta to the whole Michael Vick saga. By the way, you had to know Darren McFadden's speed would be too hard for Al Davis to resist.

How many running backs do the Raiders have now? Justin Fargas, Dominic Rhodes, and Michael Bush? Seems like a crowded backfield.

NFL Draft kicks off

The St. Louis Rams just took Virginia DE Chris Long with the second pick, so now the draft can officially start.

Who do the Jags take at No. 26? Do they trade up? Do they trade down?

If they stay at No. 26 - mark it down - because as my mock draft that ran in today's Florida Times-Union says, the Jags will take Arkansas St. safety Tyrell Johnson. There's a chance they take a DE, but I'll divulge later who I think it is. Just know that all the top DEs should be gone by the time the Jaguars pick at No. 26.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jags No. 9 out of 122 sports franchises

Below is an interesting press release from the Jags. We're constantly talking blackouts and the possibility of the Jaguars moving. So here's a pretty positive note. Let me know what you think.


The Jacksonville Jaguars ranked ninth out of 122 professional sports franchises in ESPN The Magazine’s “The Ultimate Standings” which reveals the best and the worst franchises in its sixth annual franchise rankings. The full list, which was done with the help of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon, appears in ESPN The Magazine today.

The Jaguars finished as the third-best NFL franchise behind the Indianapolis Colts, the top overall pick, and the Green Bay Packers, who finished fourth overall. The Jaguars ranked 25th in last year’s standings.

“The Ultimate Standings” consist of eight different breakdowns. The Jaguars rankings out of 122 teams included: Title Track: 47th Ownership: 34th, Coaching: 11th, Players: 22nd, Fan Relations: 80th, Affordability: 2nd, Stadium Experience: 51st, Bang for the Buck: 4th.

“The Jags’ one-two punch of price and performance was second to none in the NFL in 2007, kind of like that lethal running back tandem of Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor,” said ESPN The Magazine’s Jason Catania. “While the Colts edged the Jags in Bang for the Buck (No. 3 vs. No. 4), scoring tickets for Jacksonville Municipal costs just $49.38 (the league¹s third cheapest), a cool $21 less than average stubs went for in Indy.

“Now tack on the NFL’s second cheapest lids ($9.95) and the fifth cheapest beer/soda/dog combo ($11, tied with the Saints and Rams). So yeah, Jags fans dig not having to dig too deep into their wallets. The club is deeply invested in the men on the field, too. David Garrard, who put to rest a potentially toxic QB controversy (remember Byron Leftwich?) with his 102.2 passer rating and two gutsy wins in Pittsburgh, was recently signed to a seven-year, $60 million deal, the richest in franchise history. What else could a fan want? Oh yeah - a ring.”

Here are the top 10 sports franchises:

Franchise League Ranking
Indianapolis Colts NFL 1
San Antonio Spurs NBA 2
New Orleans Hornets NBA 3
Green Bay Packers NFL 4
Anaheim Ducks NHL 5
Los Angeles Angels MLB 6
Detroit Tigers MLB 7
Detroit Pistons NBA 8
Jacksonville NFL 9
Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 10

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jaguars strength of schedule

Just in case you wanted to know, here's some interesting info about the Jaguars' upcoming season. Below is the 2008 strength of schedule. Let me know what you think.

I apologize for everything being a little crooked. I had to line it all up by hand (TEDIOUS). Anyway, does anybody find it interesting that New England received the easiest schedule? Sure, they play in the wet-paper-sack weak AFC East, but surely the schedule makers could've made the non-divisional schedule a little tougher. After all, the Pats did go 16-0 last season.

Note/explainer: The numbers represent the combined win/loss percentage and records of each team's opponents for the 2007 season, the number of games against teams that finished .500 or better in '07 and the number of games against playoff teams from last season. So Pittsburgh's opponents for 2008 finished 153-103 in '07 and the Steelers have 12 games against teams that finished .500 or better last season, in addition to eight games against playoff teams from '07.
Opponents’ 2007 Pct. & Record /Games vs. teams .500 or better /Games vs. playoff teams
Pittsburgh Steelers .598 (153-103) 12 8
Indianapolis Colts .594 (152-104) 12 8
Jacksonville Jaguars .559 (143-113) 10 6
Baltimore Ravens .551 (141-115) 12 8
Minnesota Vikings .551 (141-115) 9 7
Cincinnati Bengals .547 (140-116) 12 8
Cleveland Browns .547 (140-116) 10 8
Houston Texans .547 (140-116) 10 8
Detroit Lions .543 (139-117) 10 7
Tennessee Titans .543 (139-117) 10 6
Chicago Bears .531 (136-120) 10 6
Green Bay Packers .531 (136-120) 9 6
Dallas Cowboys .523 (134-122) 12 8
Washington Redskins .523 (134-122) 10 6
New York Giants .520 (133-123) 11 6
Philadelphia Eagles .520 (133-123) 10 8
St. Louis Rams .488 (125-131) 9 6
San Francisco 49ers .484 (124-132) 9 6
Seattle Seahawks .477 (122-134) 9 6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers .469 (120-136) 5 4
Arizona Cardinals .465 (119-137) 8 6
Carolina Panthers .465 (119-137) 7 5
Miami Dolphins .465 (119-137) 6 4
Atlanta Falcons .461 (118-138) 6 4
New York Jets .457 (117-139) 6 5
Kansas City Chiefs .453 (116-140) 5 5
Buffalo Bills .449 (115-141) 7 5
New Orleans Saints .449 (115-141) 6 5
Denver Broncos .445 (114-142) 6 5
Oakland Raiders .438 (112-144) 5 4
San Diego Chargers .422 (108-148) 4 4
New England Patriots .387 (99-157) 5 4