Today in the World of Sports…
While almost everyone believes the Jacksonville Jaguars will trade down in Thursday’s NFL Draft, I am of the opinion the organization should draft Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan at No. 10. In a perfect world, Jaguars general manager Gene Smith would trade down and acquire more picks, but to do such another team must feel they should trade up to get their guy. With Morgan on the roster, he can take pressure away from alleged busts Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. I am of the mindset that you need to fix what is broken. And, the Jaguars’ pass rush has been broken for too long. The 2009 league-low number of 14 sacks on opposing quarterbacks will continue to be a statistic that all Jaguar fans have memorized until the problem is fixed.
In my opinion, there are four obvious players teams could be willing to trade up for in the first two rounds of the draft. They are quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen, Tim Tebow, running back C.J. Spiller and wide receiver Dez Bryant. Selecting so early in the first round, the Jaguars realistically have shots at Clausen, Spiller and Bryant. If Jacksonville wants Tebow, the most talked-about player in this draft, then the organization will need to trade down to the mid-20s to select him.
Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Tony Pike reportedly had a private workout with the Jaguars last week. Pike, 24, has met with at least 10 NFL teams in the last couple weeks. At 6-foot-6 and over 225 pounds, the two-year starter at Cincinnati could be a nice mid-round addition. However, Pike has been dropping on most mock draft boards. Some publications list him as the No. 8 quarterback in this year’s draft. He is being pegged as a potential backup in the league because of his composure in the pocket and his ability to throw a clean, compact pass – and, of course, his impressive stature.
The Jaguars held private workouts with linebackers Vincent Rey and Dekoda Watson last week. Duke University linebacker Rey, who started for three seasons, wowed NFL scouts with his quick 40-time ranging between 4.54 and 4.58. Slotted as a top-20 linebacker, the 22-year-old Rey has visited numerous teams in the last month. He is expected to be off the board by Round Five. Watson, a Florida State University product, has tremendous upside as an outside linebacker. Known for his freakish athleticism, Watson has dropped 14 pounds since the Scouting Combine and improved his 40-yard dash. Do not be shocked if the Jaguars use a late-round selection on either one of these talented ACC ‘backers.
On Friday, the Carolina Panthers claimed former Jaguars special teamer Brian Witherspoon off waivers from the Detroit Lions. With Jacksonville in 2008, the 24-year-old Witherspoon set a single-season franchise record with 52 kickoff returns for 1,250 yards. During that rookie season, “Spoon” played in 14 games while also returning 17 punts for 192 yards. In 2009, after only playing seven games with the Jaguars, the Lions acquired Witherspoon – where he saw action in one game. Witherspoon is extremely explosive, but his size – 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds – will always be a question mark for most organizations. Plus, playing on special teams can end a professional’s career in a flash.
According to the Washington Post, one-time Jaguar Jerry Porter attended the Washington Redskins’ minicamp on a tryout level over the weekend. Porter, more well-known for taking $10 million in guaranteed money from the Jaguars than actually catching footballs, is the latest ex-Jaguar wide receiver in search of a new home. Recently, Reggie Williams was signed by the Seattle Seahawks, and Matt Jones was welcomed in February by the Cincinnati Bengals. In 2008, his only year in Jacksonville, the 31-year-old Porter started six games and had 11 receptions. Out of the NFL in 2009, Porter has had tryouts in the last year with the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans. Considering his lack of production in Jacksonville, Porter will forever have the stigma of being grouped with Drayton Florence as 2008 free agency busts.
What are the odds the Jacksonville Jaguars have another holdout with their first-round draft choice?
Richard Miller is a national broadcaster for Jacksonville Jaguars’ home games on Sporting News Radio.
Additionally, he can be heard on ABC 1320 WBOB in Jacksonville at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays with The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show. Richard also hosts Inside the Game every Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on WBOB. This Thursday, April 22, he is hosting a special edition of Inside the Game from 8 until 10 p.m. It is an NFL Draft Show covering the first round as the NFL takes the draft primetime. In-studio analysts will include NASCAR Andy, Coach Darrell Pasquale and former FSU superstar wide receiver Atrews Bell.
Currently, Richard is writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2010.
Follow Richard’s daily blog on The Jacksonville Observer.