by David Chapman
Football is a business, but success in both worlds can often have comparable attributes.
“Character counts,” said Gene Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars general manager.
Acquiring high-character, disciplined overachievers both on the field and in business often leads to better production.
But, even with character, Smith said it “all starts with talent.”
Smith and Jaguars officials have scouted college players across the country in preparation for the NFL draft April 28-30 and spoke to local media members Thursday during the team’s pre-draft lunch.
Smith was joined by head coach Jack Del Rio and director of player personnel Terry McDonough. Each addressed questions on topics ranging from individual players to reputations across the league.
It’s a time of year Smith enjoys.
“For scouts, this is everything we’re all about,” said Smith.
For fans, it’s the last certain element of NFL normalcy this year with labor negotiations at an impasse between owners and players and a lockout in effect.
Under the lockout, the players selected by teams won’t be able to negotiate contracts or begin their learning process until the situation is resolved.
Smith said the lockout won’t affect their strategy of selecting players and it would affect all teams the same, with the possible selection by teams with first-year staffs.
As for the draft, Smith said he is a fan of additional draft picks and believed there was a chance the team would have the opportunity to trade from the 16th spot, but “it’s not about getting cute, it’s about executing.”
In other news from the event:
• Head coach Jack Del Rio said he was pleased with aspects of the team’s schedule, which was released Tuesday. Of note, Del Rio said he was happy to see the team open the season at home and was excited about the prime-time exposure with three night games, two at home. Asked if the schedule should entice potential ticket-buyers to make a purchase, Del Rio said he didn’t want to “beat on that.” He also declined to discuss the ongoing labor situation between the owners and players.
• Quarterbacks are often considered to be one of the more marketable and identifiable positions in the game and while speculation is the team will select one in the upcoming draft, Smith said he could see scenarios where the team doesn’t draft one. “If that’s the case, that’s the case,” he said.
• As for his preference on positions to select, Smith said linemen, both offense and defense.