South Notes: Caldwell, Griffin, Washington

Despite owning 10 selections in the 2014 NFL Draft — including No. 3 overall — Jaguars second-year GM David Caldwell cites a robust class of eligible draftees as a reason to trade down and stockpile picks.

“We have 10 picks already and when we did the Eugene Monroe trade, we felt it would be a deep draft,” Caldwell said at his NFL Scouting Combine interview, according to John Oehser of “We feel really good about having an extra four and an extra five.”

In addition to its regularly allotted picks in Rounds 1-7, Jacksonville acquired a fifth-round pick with the trade of receiver Mike Thomas to the Lions, along with the aforementioned fourth- and fifth-round picks from the Ravens in the Monroe trade.

With NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock calling this draft class the deepest in the last 10 years, and Steelers GM Kevin Colbert saying it’s the deepest he’s ever seen, one would be hard-pressed to argue with Caldwell’s philosophy, especially with a lineup devoid of blue-chip talent.

More notes from the AFC and NFC South….

  • Titans safety Michael Griffin and receiver Nate Washington are due to make $6.2MM and $4.8MM in 2014, respectively, but it “sounds like they’re going to be OK,” according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean (Twitter link).
  • However, Wyatt doesn’t feel so optimistic about right tackle David Stewart, who is scheduled to earn $6.4MM next season. The Titans would not endure a cap hit of any kind if they release Stewart, who is in the final year of a six-year deal and has missed four games in each of the past two seasons due to injury.
  • Saints GM Mickey Loomis said he plans on filling as many needs as possible in free agency, then finding the best players available in the draft, writes John DeShazier of The New Orleans staff has all the reports written on the 2014 NFL draft class, said Loomis, and that it is now in the “fine-tuning” stage of the evaluation process.
  • DeShazier notes that the BPA strategy has paid dividends with Loomis at GM, unearthing gems like Jahri Evans and Marques Colston in the fourth and seventh rounds of 2006, along with Pierre Thomas and Junior Galette as undrafted free agents in 2007 and 2010.
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