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When Stats Rule: Lessons hopefully learned from the 1st pick of the Khan era of Jaguars ownership

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Scott Cushnir, a Jaguars and Fulham fan reached out to us and wanted to talk about stats and his experience with the Khan’s in the NFL and how it all could relate to Fulham.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after the Jaguars drafted WR Justin Blackmon with the 5th overall pick of the 2012 draft I remember Tony Khan tweeting a jaw-dropping stat: Something like 87% of red-zone targets to Blackmon resulted in TDs.

After my initial excitement about QB Blaine Gabbert's newest and highly gifted teammate my thoughts turned towards General Manager at the time Gene Smith. The Blackmon pick was totally uncharacteristic of Smith. Blackmon had a 'red flag' and had been booked for DUI while in college. Smith was known for picking 'clean' players. Players that were team captains, 3 or 4 year starters, gym rat, nose-in-playbook on a Friday night type of players.

I've always thought that this first prized pick of the Khan era was an instance where the sitting General Manager Smith was overruled by the Khans. It's pure speculation on my part for sure. I obviously wasn't in the draft room that night and had no idea who had the final say on player personnel at that time. What I did know was that GM Smith was not at all a fan of analytics and that made him at odds with the newly formed department under Tony Khan.

While I didn't have the answers then here is what I know now: 1) both Blackmon and Smith are no longer employed by the NFL 2) 4th year Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell is clearly responsible for all player decisions. He does so with input from all available resources: traditional scouting, analytics, the coaching staff, the medical staff and the security staff. GM Caldwell has a high amount of respect for the role analytics plays in the process.

Both the Jaguars and Fulham are facing make or break 2016 campaigns and both teams have identifiable talent on their respective rosters. Many fans (this one included) believe the Jaguars have enough quality players on both sides of the ball to compete for the divisional title and advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Many Fulham fans (this one included) believe that after a successful preseason and start to the season that Fulham have quality in place to possibly compete for a playoff spot...but the lack of depth will and may have already caught up to the Whites when Floyd Ayite went down in the Cardiff match.

I believe that Slavisa will get 'his' players by the end of the transfer window next week. And all comments from Mr. Khan (through spokesperson Jim Woodcock as heard read on Cottage Talk) indicate that the chairman will back his head coach. Hopefully Slav gets his guys but more importantly for long term club stability there is a clearly communicated (but not necessarily public) understanding of who has the final say and a clearly communicated understanding of the role analytics will play in the all important process of gathering players.