I'm confident that the Jaguars aren't in the market for a quarterback in the 2012 NFL Draft with the exception of maybe pursuing a backup level quarterback in the later rounds of the draft. Regardless, if Blaine Gabbert doesn't develop into the quarterback that the Jaguars intended for him to become when they selected him 10th overall earlier this year and is later considered a bust, many will look back to the 2011 draft and subsequent drafts for players that the Jaguars could have had instead.
Many look back at the 2004 NFL Draft when the Jaguars passed on Ben Roethlisberger to select Reggie Williams as a perfect example of the mistake of passing on a franchise quarterback despite the fact that the team felt good with 2003 1st round pick Byron Leftwich. However, recent news may make it easier to be patient with Gabbert through the 2012 NFL Draft, because it may be the team's only choice.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley announced yesterday that instead of foregoing his senior year to enter the draft that he will stay in Southern California for his fourth and final season. Had he come out of college, he was projected by many to have been a top 10 selection and possibly the 2nd quarterback taken after Stanford's Andrew Luck.
Sports Illustrated draft analyst Tony Pauline reported hours before Barkley's announcement that sources had told him that he was likely to stay in school and the news came as less of a shock to those who had read his reports. Another tweet added even more intrigue to the 2012 NFL Draft, though:
Also- as of today the word is Robert Griffin III/Baylor & Landry Jones/Oklahoma will also return to school.Could change, still interesting.
With Barkley returning to USC there is little doubt that Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III, would be the 2nd best quarterback on most analyst's boards if he decides to come out and may even be worth a top five selection.
While it seems extremely unlikely that the Jaguars would give up on Gabbert after only 14 starts, Griffin III would certainly be a test of their patience if he was on the draft board when the Jaguars time to pick came. But if he chooses to stay in school it's hard to make an argument for any quarterback being taken early in the draft.
While I certainly think the Jaguars should and will stay patient with Gabbert through April, if Robert Griffin III makes the shocking decision to stay at Baylor for one more season, it may be their only choice.