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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Apr. 17, 201212:00 PM EST

Jaguars prepare for first draft under new ownership

by: Joe Wilhelm Jr.

With new owner Shahid Khan and head coach Mike Mularkey on board, the Jacksonville Jaguars front office is preparing for the NFL draft and will have to decide on trading or using its seventh overall draft pick.

During a pre-draft meeting with the media Monday, Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith identified defensive and offensive tackles as the two positions stocked with the most talent in this year’s draft.

They would be followed by wide receiver and running back on offense and outside linebacker and cornerback on defense, he said.

While Mularkey has previous head coaching experience and has participated in a draft before, this will be Khan’s first draft.

Khan bought the Jaguars in January.

“He’s been very actively involved in everything we’ve done since he became owner, but he also entrusts the people in place. He is giving tremendous guidance to Mike and I, but he’s a guy who wants to know other people’s opinion. He’s allowing the people he has hired to do their job,” said Smith.

Khan has not hidden his passion as a fan of the game, or his desire for that “once-in-a-lifetime” player, which he previously identified as homegrown quarterback Tim Tebow, who is now with the New York Jets.

Asked how he would address Khan’s draft-day desires, Smith said decisions are made long before draft day.

“We will go through a very thorough draft plan and give him what our thoughts are. What we may do. What we expect. A lot of what happens on draft day happens well before draft day,” said Smith.

Jaguars Director of Player Personnel Terry McDonough said he will contact every team in the NFL to discuss possible trades.

“When you read the articles, a lot of people think it happens when you are on the clock. In all actuality, it happens way before you are on the clock. We are in dialogue with every team in the league over the next couple weeks. It has been a little bit busier this year than it has been in the past,” said McDonough.

Wide receiver is a position the fans, Khan and the front office’s postseason evaluations of the team have identified as a position that needs upgrading. Smith said he likes the receiver talent in this year’s draft.

“(Wide receiver) is one area we determined in our post season roster evaluation, but it wouldn’t force us into doing something that wouldn’t be good for the organization. We will stay with our draft plan,” said Smith.

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