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Jaguars GM: To be great, 'we have to take chances'


There are years when the draft seems to line up perfectly for NFL teams round after round, and then there is the performance being put on by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016.

After securing potential No. 1 pick Jalen Ramsey on night one, the Jaguars watched as UCLA linebacker Myles Jack -- believed by some to be the best position player in the entire draft -- slipped down the board due to a medical issue in his knee. Some teams took him off their board entirely. The Jaguars, who did extensive work on Jack during the pre-draft process and were thought to be interested in him with the No. 5 overall pick -- moved up a few spots in the second round to make sure he didn't fall any further.


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"We want to be great, and we have to take chances," Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said Friday. "We've been pretty conservative in our time here with our philosophy in the draft and some of our free-agent acquisitions."

"There comes a point in time where we have to close the talent gap. You're not going to do that without taking risks. This is a calculated risk. … Hopefully he's here for 10-to-12 years."

Jack's knee suffers from what doctors call an osteochondral defect, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. Jack did not rule out the possibility of microfracture surgery in the future, which could keep him out for a lengthy period of time and significantly shave off the time Jack has in the NFL.

But with his second-round pick, Caldwell showed that his mind is just as much on 2016 as it is 2026. This has been an impressive rebuild considering just how bare the Jaguars' roster was when Caldwell arrived in 2013. The first few years were dedicated to finding a competitive bedrock of talent. Now, as seen by Caldwell's aggressive stance in free agency, is the time to strike and reach for the playoffs.

Jack, who can play in the middle but also come off the edge, is a big part of that. The Jaguars' offense finally took off in 2015 under Blake Bortles, Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Julius Thomas. The defense, which now features Malik Jackson at defensive tackle and last year’s No. 3 pick Dante Fowler coming off the edge, could carry them the rest of the way.