Three players from GM Gene Smith’s 2009 draft class appeared poised for breakout campaigns at the perfect time, what with their contracts all expiring at season’s end. But after lackluster campaigns, their futures in Jacksonville are about as murky as that of Smith’s and head coach Mike Mularkey’s, we hear.
CB Derek Cox, whom Smith aggressively traded up to land in Round Three in ’09, has the type of length and smarts to be a lockdown corner. Unfortunately, splashes of very strong play throughout his four seasons are overshadowed by his constant injuries. Cox has missed 17 games over the past three seasons with various ailments, sure to be strongly considered at the bargaining table this offseason.
It had been a similar story for OL Eben Britton up until this season. After a terrific rookie campaign, he missed 21 combined games with shoulder and back injuries, respectively, over the past two seasons. Finally healthy, Britton has been unable to lock down a starting job at tackle or guard, with 2011 undrafted rookie Cameron Bradfield and 2012 undrafted rookie Mike Brewster getting the nod ahead of him.
Smith spent a seventh-round flier on RB Rashad Jennings, and he looked like one of the better backups in the league in his first two seasons. But the big-bodied back has too often looked for home runs, rather than taking singles and doubles, leading to his demotion by Mularkey earlier this season.