Jaguars trade up nine spots to select UAB edge rusher Jordan Smith in fourth round
The Jaguars coveted Alabama-Birmingham edge rusher, Jordan Smith, enough to trade up nine spots to select him 121st overall in the fourth round.
Smith started his college career at the University of Florida but was suspended after he was involved in a credit card fraud scandal at the school in 2016 before leaving the program. After missing the 2017 season, he transferred to Butler Community College for a season before transferring to UAB.
As part of the trade to acquire Smith, the Jaguars also received a sixth-round pick (209) to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for their fourth-round pick (130), fifth-round (170), and seventh-round (249) picks.
Priority:Jaguars trade up nine spots to select UAB edge rusher Jordan Smith in fourth round
More:Jaguars select Stanford OT Walker Little with 45th overall pick in second round
Despite ending up with the Jaguars as a Day 3 selection, Smith said he was the best pass rusher in the draft during his video call after his selection.
In two seasons at UAB, Smith registered 14.5 sacks and 96 tackles, including 27 tackles for loss.
''I started at Florida and had one hiccup my second year there and i ended up transferring to Butler,'' Smith said. ''I ended up transferring to UAB and had a pretty good bounce-back situation. I felt like I was the best pass rusher in this draft. I showed multiple different moves that I used effectively where other pass rushers had less moves, two or three. I have a big arsenal.''
The Jaguars put a heavy emphasis on defense Saturday, selecting two defensive linemen among their first three picks.
Selecting first in the fourth round, the Jaguars took USC defensive tackle Jay Tufele.
From the start, Meyer emphasized building from the inside out, meaning he wants his defensive line to be one of the strengths of the team.
Like the draft, the Jaguars also concentrated heavily on upgrading the talent along the defensive front. They added defensive ends Roy Robertson-Harris, Jihad Ward and nose tackle Malcom Brown, whom they acquired in a trade from the New Orleans Saints. The Jaguars also re-signed defensive ends Dawuane Smoot and Adam Gotsis.
Going to a 3-4 defense under coordinator Joe Cullen, Smith could also play outside linebacker to help with their depth situation.
''I felt the Jags were always in the picture, even since the Senior Bowl,'' Brown said. ''Their meeting was more of just really trying to getting to know me instead of like just nitpicking what I had in the past. They were actually trying to figure out what kind of person I was because they told me they loved me as a player.''
Smith is experienced at dropping in space and has the ability to allude blockers to make plays. He still has to improve his hand technique to get through blocks but he fits what Meyer wants in getting more speed on the field on both sides of the ball.
“We addressed some of the needs on the defensive line in free agency; that was obviously a high need area for us,'' Meyer said. ''How good is your team? How good is your defensive line?’ That’s the first answer. We have some really solid pieces right now that we even believe will play better as they get a little more mature and we move on and the scheme fits some of our personnel.''