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Jaguars trade up, draft Florida's Harvey to fill D-line need

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Defensive line coach Ted Monachino was watching the NFL draft in his office when he learned Jacksonville had traded up 18 spots in the first round.

He knew exactly why.

The Jaguars selected Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey with the eighth overall pick Saturday, filling a glaring need and sending Monachino into a frenzied celebration.

Monachino threw back his chair, jumped up and put both fists through the drop ceiling.

"I'm thrilled," Monachino said. "He has the ability to start. I don't know if he has the maturity to start, the grasp of what we do to start. He'll learn it in time. I know he's got the ability to contribute right away."

In the second round, the Jaguars once again traded up to snare a defensive end, moving from No. 58 overall to No. 52 overall in a swap with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that enabled them to draft Quentin Groves out of Auburn. The Jaguars gave up a fifth-round pick this year and a 2009 seventh-rounder to make the deal.

Jacksonville's defense sure could use some help up front.

The Jaguars traded three-time Pro Bowler Marcus Stroud and let Grady Jackson and Bobby McCray leave in free agency, opening several holes along the defensive line. Throw in coach Jack Del Rio's concern about whether Reggie Hayward will return to full speed, and the Jaguars may have had the biggest defensive line need in the draft.

Del Rio didn't wait until the 26th pick to address it, either.

He swapped first-round picks with Baltimore and also sent the Ravens two third-round picks and a fourth-rounder to move up in the opening round.

The trade dealt the Ravens extra picks that could help them rebuild and ended up giving the Jaguars a topflight pass rusher to add to an already strong roster. The Jaguars, who went 11-5 last season and won their first playoff game since 1999, weren't even sure those third- and fourth-round selections would have made the roster.

Harvey, meanwhile, is expected to make an immediate impact.

"He's got excellent first-step anticipation and burst off the line of scrimmage," Del Rio said. "He has tremendous close on the quarterback. He's produced sacks and forced turnovers and been an impact player and he's really played his best football in big games, and we just think he's a real good fit for us."

Harvey had 19½ sacks the last two seasons and was the defensive MVP of the 2006 national championship game.

"I am going to come in for the offseason program, work hard and get in the weight room, learn the plays, get with my defensive line coach, get with the head coach and some of the veteran players and just learn the system," Harvey said. "Whatever my role will be, special teams, defensive end, it doesn't matter. I am just trying to help the Jacksonville Jaguars win more games than they did last year."

Harvey will share repetitions with Hayward and aging veteran Paul Spicer at the end position. But with Hayward still trying to fully recover from a ruptured Achilles' tendon and Spicer nearing his 33rd birthday, it might not be long before Harvey takes over as a starter.

"This guy is the type of guy that can do a lot of things very well right now without any coaching," Monachino said. "Once he gets into the system and figures out what it is that we're asking him to do specifically, he's going to ramp his game up a long ways."

Monachino called the 6-foot-4, 271-pound Harvey a bigger, faster version of Ravens star Terrell Suggs, who played for Monachino and Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter at Arizona State.

They tried to recruit Harvey from Greenbelt, Md., but once word got out that Harvey was interested in the Sun Devils, nearly every team in the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences started recruiting him. Harvey ended up at Florida and was overshadowed much of his career by teammates Jarvis Moss, Marcus Thomas, Joe Cohen, Ray McDonald and others.

Harvey stood out in the title game against Ohio State in 2007, when he sacked Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith three times.

Harvey probably could have turned pro a year ago but stayed in school and improved his draft status. He was the third defensive end taken in the draft, behind Virginia's Chris Long and Ohio State's Vernon Gholston.

Harvey made quite an impression on the Jaguars during his campus workout last month. He showed off his speed and athleticism, then accidentally gave Monachino a firsthand look at his tackling ability when he slammed into him during a drill.

Monachino stumbled, but fared much better than just about everyone else Harvey confronts on the football field.

"Superior athleticism kept me on my feet," Monachino joked. "I stayed up. It took me about 10 steps, but I stayed up."

He couldn't stay in his chair, though, when the Jaguars moved up to take Harvey.

"I know what I like to see on film, and this kid shows all of it," Monachino said.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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