Updated: Feb 11, 2019
The Jaguars are in a strange place, what can be seen as sort of a limbo stage where things just can't seem to go their way. While they are an extremely talented team with loads of potential, things just couldn't seem to come together this season. It is easy to place blame, if it be Blake Bortles inconsistent play, Jalen Ramsey trash talking half the NFL and putting a target on our back, poor play design and execution, or maybe just a lack of focus, the Jags are not playing like a team that was a game away from playing in Super Bowl LII. It isn't all bad however, the Jags are back in a familiar spot picking atop the draft board (7th overall). The question is this, who do the Jags take with their first pick? Obviously the immediate desire is to draft a QB early on. Many believe that we are just a quarterback away. Is this the smart decision however? Drafting a quarterback could be more of a process than Jacksonville would like. This team seems to be in "win now" mode. A rookie QB could take some time to develop. When looking at the Quarterback's in this draft there are plenty, but no QB seems to be unquestionably franchise QB's and all have their faults and risks (I will go over these options later on). Perhaps it would be smarter for Jacksonville to take a veteran QB now and then groom a quarterback for the future with a second or third round pick.
Addressing a different need may be the the better option for the Jags, because based off of our performance last season QB isn't our only problem. Help on the O-Line is a much needed issue. Another linebacker would be nice, either a middle linebacker and move Myles Jack back to the strong side linebacker where he shined or drafting another outside linebacker to replace Leon Jacobs. The receiving core, while deep with guys who can do a decent job, is very weak on play-makers. A testament to that is up until week 14 the player with the most catches is our back-up running back TJ Yeldon. Getting Marqise Lee back will help, but coming off a season ending knee injury we aren't sure what to expect. Some could blame this on poor Quarterback play, or possibly because of Blake not having time to read the field because poor O-Line play, but perhaps if the receivers got more separation then Blake would have played better and the O-Line would not have to block for as long. There are many options, and with such a high draft pick Jacksonville could do pretty much whatever they like.
Blake Bortles will not be our Quarterback next year, that is something we know. There is also plenty of Quarterback talent in this draft, and plenty of teams have just made moves to secure a quarterback. The only teams who most likely will pick a QB in the 1st round are the Giants, the Redskins, the Broncos, and possibly the Chargers and Patriots if they decide they want to groom a QB behind Rivers and Brady. Of course there may be some unexpected teams who may want to change things up at QB. The Bengals may want to move on from the Dalton era, same with the Dolphins and Tannehill. The Bucs seem frustrated with Jameis. Who knows whats going on in Oakland... But with those teams looking for new QB's that also opens up options for the Jags as a replacement veteran who can come in and win now. There are also some gap QB's who are options such as Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater or Tyrod Taylor. While these may not be the prettiest options they are guys who can come in and play better than anyone we have now.
There are endless options for the Jaguars. They could make a surprising move and trade back, to secure future picks. They could pick an offensive lineman like Jonah Williams who can back up an injury prone Cam Robinson and learn behind his former Alabama teammate, or even start at guard or right tackle opposite Robinson. Much of this depends upon Free Agency. AJ Brown, Nkeal Harry, or one of the many receivers in a very deep receiving class are possibilities. We may be able to trade back in the draft and pick one of them. The options are endless and it will be interesting to see how the Jags address their teams needs.
Whatever path that the Jags decide to take one thing is for sure, this team is ready to win NOW. They came into the previous season with Super Bowl aspirations, and fell far short of expectations. Shad Khan still remains faithful to Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone, which is smart of him. Perhaps this season was humbling to many on the team and around the organization. This off-season is one that could catapult the Jags to the top of the NFL rankings, or it could leave us once again squandering away talent and dwelling at the bottom of the league. Between now and the NFL draft I will break down the pros and cons of drafting each position group, and my evaluation on the highlight players of the draft.