Marcedes Lewis Selected in First Round
April 29, 2006
If the intent from the beginning was to build a passing attack, the selection of tight end Marcedes Lewis in the first round of Saturday's draft would seem to have completed the task. The Jaguars made Lewis the 28th overall selection of the NFL draft and the Jaguars did so with time left on the clock.
'Once we got to our pick, he was our pick,' coach Jack Del Rio said.
There was no discussion in the Jaguars war room. Personnel boss James Harris got Lewis on the phone and, after a brief conversation, Lewis' name was turned into Commissioner Paul Tagliabue at draft headquarters in New York.
'He can block and receive. We believe he can play the complete game,' Harris said of Lewis, 6-6, 252.
Two USC players - running back LenDale White and offensive tackle Winston Justice - were available, as were Georgia tight end Leonard Pope, Florida wide receiver Chad Jackson and a few other players who fit at the pick. Lewis, however, was a player the Jaguars had targeted no later than last week.
His selection means the first four first-round picks of the Del Rio/Harris era are a quarterback, two wide receivers and a tight end. In other words, the Jaguars have used their last four first-round picks to draft a passing attack and Jaguars fans will be eager to see results next season.
'I continue to believe in that young man,' Del Rio said of 2004 first-round pick Reggie Williams, who has struggled through his first two seasons. 'The third year is historically a big year for receivers.'
Lewis is a fantastic receiver with soft hands and the ability to adjust to the ball and make difficult catches look easy. He caught 58 passes for 741 yards and 10 touchdowns at UCLA last season, giving him 21 in his four-year career.
The only knock on Lewis is his 40 time, 4.8. The Jaguars don't believe that's an issue.
'Speed sometimes can be overrated. (Tony) Gonzalez was a 4.8 guy and 4.8's not bad; 4.8 running down the middle should open things up outside for our wide receivers,' Del Rio said. 'We're happy to have added another weapon.
'We feel solid about this pick. It was a pick the coaches and scouts had an affection for. He's a fine young man; top character,' Del Rio added.
'There have been several Pro-Bowl tight ends who've run 4.8. The thing that's important is play speed and he plays fast,' Harris said of Lewis.
Asked if the Jaguars had given consideration to Justice or White, Harris said, 'No, we were going to take Marcedes Lewis. This was our guy. He was the next highest-rated guy on our board.'
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