Urban Meyer says he’s learning how to trust the draft board

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Tyler Nettuno
·3 min read
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Adjusting from college coaching to leading an NFL team has several wrinkles, but there is perhaps no greater change than the method of player acquisition. Instead of recruiting, where a wide net can be cast, head coaches must make use of free agency and the draft.

Adopting an NFL draft mindset can be difficult, especially for a former college coach as value has to be emphasized over need. In a recent interview, new Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, who has no experience coaching at the NFL level, talked about how he’s made that adjustment.

“I find myself always looking at need and that’s where you have to be cautious, you start chasing players,” Meyer said. “The whole idea of value is completely new to me. That’s something I relied on [defensive coordinator] Joe Cullen and [offensive coordinator Darrell] Bevell as coordinators and [special teams coordinator] Brian Schneider, who has extensive experience in the NFL, and obviously Trent and his staff. I’m a quick learner. I’ve been working at this now for about three months, and the last three to four weeks, this has been our entire life in that room watching video, stacking the board.

“So, trusting the board is key. I’m at the point almost there that I will trust it, but as a coach, I can see where [you can say], ‘We need this, we need this, and we need this’ and that’s where you get yourself in trouble. It’s been a great learning experience for me and to answer your question [about the draft], I’m nervous. I’m nervous about everything, I think you know that.”

It’s nice to see candor from Meyer on this, and it seems he’s been content to delegate aspects of the draft he’s unfamiliar with. But with that being said, Meyer hasn’t relinquished control of the draft process and has taken an active role during preparations.

“We’ve had a couple dry runs,” Meyer said. “We’re going to have a couple dry runs again. I’m a control nut and an organizational nut, so I want to make sure that — I want to know where people are sitting, I want to know what camera, what we’re going to be looking at on the screens. And Trent has been great, and this is the first time this personnel in this organization will do it. So, we’re going to be on point. And so, at this point, we’ve had a couple dry runs, but we’re going to go in great detail early next week about exactly how it takes place. So, I’ll feel much better after that.”

After a solid but not splashy free agency period, this draft is a big opportunity for the Jaguars to speed up the rebuild. They’re going to select a franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, and if they put the right players around him, they could improve a lot in Year 1 under the new regime. Jags fans will hope Meyer can adjust.