First, i would like to state that Chris Eastman did a fantastic job on his post. The conversation stirred on this site during the last few weeks has been fantastic to be a part of. Big thanks to Chris, the writers and all of you commenters for making it so enjoyable.
I started off with a comment that got much too long and decided to make it a fanpost. Here is a link to Chris' original post if you haven't read it.
An admirable amount of time was certainly put into this, thank you for that dedication.
I want to caution on one thing: you put a lot of emphasis on mock drafts and community-type evaluation. Those are wrong more times than not, just keep it in mind.
On to the good stuff.
There is no guarantee he lands the starting role -- he is considered a project quarterback, much like Gabbert was, and though Smith's ceiling may be higher, they both suffer similar afflictions.
I get the argument that you're making but i really feel as though Smith has far superior pocket presence now than Gabbert does now. I also feel that Smith is much more developed in his pocket awareness, internal clock and ability to look downfield. I wouldn't say Smith is any more project than the average QB deservedly taken in the top 10.
He may not have proven he can be the guy, but he had some solid moments and impressive drives - "franchise flashes," if you will - and he was also once projected to be the first QB drafted in 2011.
I agree with you, but again your final point involved the projections. Really, these things are off a lot. These are not sought after professionals, they are people that filled a need on TV and try hard. I'll put my own projections up the closer we get to the draft, but I want you to know ahead of time that they are meant more for conversation starters.
This is a good conversation starter as well. Next Point:
I don't think it's unreasonable to assume Gabbert improves at least slightly going into his third season, and if that does happen, I don't see Geno winning the job in 2013.
Me personally, I see Geno winning against an improved Gabbert. It's possible I'm biased, its a tough thing being objective. I have no emotional connection with either prospect, though I do favor Geno's traits. I think he will be the better pro.
... and Henne got much better play from the receivers, who improved every game.
I don't think the wr's played better, I really think Henne threw to better spots (albeit not always the best spots) than Gabbert chose to throw to. The better spots allowed for better play. The main difference, however, is that Henne threw downfield. This is an unfortunate aspect of Gabberts career thus far as he doesn't tempt the downfield throws or the deep-intermediate in the middle of the field.
In regards to worrying over neither Geno nor Gabbert being "The Guy"---that chance is taken every time a QB gets drafted. You can't worry along the "What If" line of thought for any position. You scout them and then trust your work. You have to bet on yourself and your talent-noticing abilities the way that Lions DE Cliff Avril bet on himself last season. He didn't get a big contract, hope you do.
The trade down scenario is very popular. It gifts you the ability to garner more talent than you thought originally possible. A team like the Jaguars needs as much talent as possible and the more picks the better. Here, the "what if they don't work" game can also be played. Don't be drawn into that.
The below comment is by far the best piece in this article. A good article, for sure, but this piece is a must-read:
More than ever over the past five years, people put on the blinders when it comes to any position other than QB. But it still takes a complete team, plus an elite QB, to win the Super Bowl. It's not one or the other; it's both, and it's important not to sacrifice one for the other, because then you'll have neither.
I realize that some will point out Trent Dilfer and others that weren't elite, however, there are exceptions to every rule. Those situations were unique and would be considered the exception, not the rule.
After touting Flacco, you wrote this:
Honestly, I'd prefer to bite the bullet with Gabbert next year and skip the QB altogether in this draft (sorry, I just don't see anyone in this class ever starting a Super Bowl), and pick somebody early in 2014.
Flacco wasn't viewed as "Elite" or even as a QB that could make it to the Super Bowl. The advantage in Flacco to the Ravens was that Flacco had an amazing arm talent. Flacco could stretch the defense for the running game and help keep the Ravens defense off the field. The more fresh the Ravens defense, the better they were (obviously). Flacco, however, was not viewed as the next "Elite" QB.
Flacco was a project with a cannon arm, a good-not-great football mind and a propensity to just randomly turn into a worse football player in the middle of a game. Flacco also did not play in Div 1, now known as FBS. Flacco played for Delaware. There were lots of risks in Flacco. If you recall, the Ravens had just moved on from a first-round bust QB in Kyle Boller. Most would make the argument that Delaware doesn't put out many Franchise QB's. Again, a QB in the first round is never a sure thing, but I'm sure you know this. I just wanted to establish the layers of risk associated with QB's that turn out to be elite. Remember Peyton Manning's "happy feet".
On to the next:
I'm afraid that drafting Smith in the first round next month would prevent us from drafting a QB with higher potential in the following draft (hard to justify three first round QBs in four years).
Smith would very much prevent the Jaguars from drafting a QB next year. Awesome point though, it is VERY hard to justify three first round QB's in 4 years to ones self or the fans or the owner. However, you are assuming that Geno wouldn't work before he steps on the field. I think he at least deserves two seasons, that's less than Gabbert received from you. (I'm referencing you advocating giving Gabbert a third season. Now, I know they weren't all injury free but Gabbert is basically a known commodity. Geno is not). Also, it would be hard to even justify two QB's in the first round in three years..... with the same front office staff. Luckily for the Jaguars and the fans, this is not the same front office staff. I believe that the average fan will find it perfectly acceptable to replace an average QB that doesn't turn the ball over with a QB that can be far above average that doesn't turn the ball over. Geno has just as much upside as Joe Flacco, some could even argue more. You take risks, its the NFL. Also, with the new front office, its perfectly understandable that a new staff would want their own QB. It's a unique situation that will be fun to watch play out.
Thanks for the conversation start Chris. Ya'll eat up the comments!