INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Quarterback Christian Ponder of Florida State looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
It's no secret the Jacksonville Jaguarsare in the hunt for a quarterback in the 2011 NFL draft. The team met with Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, Auburn's Cam Newton, and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett over the weekend at the NFL combine. I'm sure they met with most of the quarterbacks there, but teams and players have been more tight lipped than usual this year as to who they interview and interview with. The big question most Jacksonville Jaguars fans have now is, when do you take that guy? In the first round? In the second round? Do you trade back up into the first round?
Kind of piggybacking off of what Brian Levenson wrote, the Jaguars are going to have to be aggressive.
I've written in the past that the vast majority of good quarterbacks in the NFL are found in the first round of the draft. It's no secret that it's a position of great value and necessity for football teams. Quarterbacks have such a high bust rate because team reach on them often, because of the importance of the position. As we all know, the Jaguars haven't drafted a quarterback in any round since Byron Leftwich in 2003. I'm not going to beat that dead horse, because we all know it's been way too long.
It's almost a given the Jaguars will draft their quarterback of the future in April, the question is just when will they do it. If you look back through drafts, if you're selecting a quarterback beyond the middle of the second round the chances they develop into anything but mediocre is very slim. It's not necessarily a science of drafting a quarterback, simply just a wacky coincidence of the past 20 years or so. In the 2011 draft however, I have a feeling the Jaguars are going to be aggressive to get their quarterback and I think they know they have to. If the Jaguars come away after April 29th without a quarterback selected, I'll be stunned.
Why do I think they'll be so aggressive? Well, despite how "deep" the quarterback class is... the number of teams who are in need of a quarterback is just as deep. Let's take a look at who picks ahead of the Jaguars in each round that need a quarterback.
Despite the fact that the Panthers selected Jimmy Clausen in the second round last year, many feel they're still in the hunt for a quarterback. Whether that's an indictment of Clausen or just a new regime wanting their guy remains to be seen. The Panthers pick before the Jaguars in the first round.
Like the Panthers, the Broncos selected a quarterback in last year's NFL draft. Good ol' Tim Tebow. It's come out however that Tebow was essentially a Josh McDaniels pick and the front office wasn't too enamored with it. The feeling right now is that the new regime of John Fox and John Elway are equally not as enamored. The Broncos, like the Jaguars, have a bride at the quarterback position with Kyle Orton. The Broncos pick before the Jaguars in the first and second round.
While the Bills do all the lip service they can on Ryan Fitzpatrick, the truth is like David Garrard his simply a bridge to the next one. The Bills will take a quarterback at some point in the first few rounds. The Bills currently pick before the Jaguars in the first and second round.
Carson Palmer wants out of Cincinnati, even going so far as to say he won't step foot in Paul Brown Stadium again. I'm not sure if the Bengals will dump him, but I think they're in the hunt for a new franchise quarterback. The Bengals currently pick before the Jaguars in the first and second round.
While the Cardinals drafted two quarterbacks last year in Max Hall and John Skelton, the feeling around the league is they're still on the hunt. I do not think they will draft a quarterback in the first round, but I do think the second round is a very good possibility if they do not make a play for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb. The Cardinals currently pick before the Jaguars in the first and second round.
It's no secret whatsoever the Titans will be drafting a quarterback early. They've all but cut Vince Young loose and all they have left is Kerry Collins and Rusty Smith. The Titans currently pick before the Jaguars in the first and second round.
The Donovan McNabb experiment was a failure and it's unsure if he'll even be on their roster for the 2011 season. It's also widely known the Redskins love Jake Locker, who I think they draft with the 10th overall pick. The Redskins currently pick before the Jaguars in the first and second round.
With Brett Favre retiring and likely letting Tarvaris Jackson hit free agency, the Vikings are in dire need of a quarterback. Many feel they will address it in free agency, but the draft is also very possible. The Vikings currently pick before the Jaguars in the first and second round.
The 49ers will likely keep Alex Smith on their roster in 2011, but that doesn't mean they don't need quarterback help. There are murmurs they may address it in free agency or be in the Kevin Kolb race, but drafting one is also very likely. The 49ers currently pick before the Jaguars in the first and second round.
The Miami Dolphins brass clearly aren't very pleased with how Chad Henne has progressed. Many feel they will also be in the hunt for a quarterback in the draft. The Dolphins currently pick before the Jaguars in the first round.
So, that's 10 teams by my count that need to address the quarterback position early in the 2011 NFL Draft. Eight of those ten teams draft before the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first and second round. By many counts, most feel there are only 3-4 quarterbacks who are "first round guys" and then there are another 3-4 who are "second round guys". On draft day, depending on which quarterbacks are the Jaguars target, they're going to have to go and grab their guy even if he's not the best available player or pick the best available player at 16, then come back up to leap frog those other teams at the top of the second round.
Or they can sit at pick 49 in the second round and pray those 10 teams pass on a potential franchise quarterback, twice. I guess they could wait until the third round, and hope those teams pass for a third time on some potential quarterbacks, but the statistics bear out that quarterbacks taken beyond the top of the second round generally don't pan out.