Every team has had their share of hits and misses in the NFL draft, and the Jaguars are no exception. A concerning fact that Jaguar’s fan should be worried about is the organization’s lack of ability to draft talent at the quarterback and receiver position. Since the1995 draft, the beginning of the franchise, Jacksonville has drafted a total of 25 quarterbacks and receivers. Some of the players have been able to cause a spark, but none have made the leap to superstar nor become the clear cut favorite.
The Jaguars have only drafted five QB’s in team history and hate him or love him; David Garrard has proven to be the best of the bunch. Leading the team to the playoffs once, and setting the franchise passing touchdown record, Garrard has done the most for the Jaguars out of the quarterbacks drafted. Byron Leftwich did show some promise at one point, but fizzled and eventually parted ways with the team. Not to mention Leftwich, was backed by a strong team and still couldn’t produce enough to become a great QB. It’s safe to say Jonathon Quinn was a bust and Rob Johnson could never oust Mark Brunell for the starting role. Now the stage is set for incoming quarterback Blaine Gabbert to prove the statistics wrong or just fall in line with the other lackluster Jaguars quarterbacks.
For Gabbert, it could be a treacherous path because the Jaguars have also failed to draft great receivers, to support their quarterbacks. He could find himself in a situation similar to Garrard. Garrard has often been critiqued about his play and has lost some support from the fan base but Garrard has never been given the opportunity to play with a superstar receiver. By the time Garrard took over, Jimmy Smith had retired and has been stuck with a group of underwhelming and inconsistent receivers since. Speculation isn’t always accurate, but I’m sure Garrard’s numbers would improve if he we’re throwing to Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald. Hopefully, GM Gene Smith can draft some talent to help Gabbert progress into a great quarterback.
The receivers drafted by the Jaguars haven’t proven to be spectacular either. Off the twenty wide outs brought in, the class is headed by players like Mike Sims-Walker, Reggie Williams, Ernest Wilford and Matt Jones. All the receivers mention played well enough to earn starting roles and most of them have had productive years, but all have been inconsistent. Inconsistency and injury could be a trademark for the receivers drafted by the Jaguars. Many have failed to make the roster after their first contract was up. Some exclusion can be given to Mike Thomas. In his first year as a starter Thomas had a productive year and it would take a few more years to determine whether not he’ll become like every other receiver drafted by Jacksonville. Even though they are have spent only a few years on the roster, Jarrett Dillard is injury prone meaning he hasn’t contributed much on the field and Tiquan Underwood seems to drop more balls than he catches. Cecil Shorts III is the newest member to join the club of Jaguar’s draftee’s and has the opportunity to become the superstar receiver needed for the franchise. He’s poised to claim the starting slot receiver job, where he could be a good fit until h progresses.
Since Gene Smith became the Jaguars general manager, so far the picks have panned out seemingly well. It still is too early to determine if his selections were complete hits, but for the most part they have been solid. The Jaguars seem like a franchise snake bitten when it comes to quarterbacks and receivers but with Smith making the calls, let’s hope that luck can change.
Complete List of Jaguars QB and WR Draftees
1995- Rob Johnson, USC
1998- Jonathon Quinn, Middle Tennessee State
2002- David Garrard, East Carolina
2003- Byron Leftwich, Marshall
2011- Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
1995- Curtis Marsh, Utah
1996- Reggie Barlow, Alabama State
1996- Chris Doering, Florida
1996- Clarence Jones, Tennessee State
1996- Gregory Span, Jackson State
1998- Alvis Whitted, North Carolina State
2000- R. Jay Soward, USC
2000- Emanuel Smith, Arkansas
2001- Richmond Flowers, Chattanooga
2002- Kendall Newson, Middle Tennessee State
2004- Reggie Williams, Washington
2004- Ernest Wilford, Virginia Tech
2005- Matt Jones, Arkansas
2005- Chad Owens, Hawaii
2007- Mike Sims-Walker, UCF
2007- John Broussard, San Diego State
2009- Mike Thomas, Arizona
2009- Jarett Dillard, Rice
2009- Tiquan Underwood, Rutgers
2011- Cecil Shorts III, Mount Union