As the draft approaches, the momentum seems to build for new GM Dave Caldwell and the Jaguars front office to take West Virginia QB Geno Smith 2nd overall. The fans grow hungry. Most relish the possibility of the star QB taking the black and doning the Jaguars uniform. Still, some would love to strengthen a weakness on the team other than QB (basically draft any position). What is the correct choice? What if the Jaguars miss on a Franchise-caliber QB?
It seems to many, including myself, that Smith truly stands capable of being a perennial Pro Bowl player, or at least in the discussion. Now there are always Pro Bowl-types that get left out of the Pro Bowl after having good seasons and this middle of tier 2 could be the type of season where Smith plays most of his career. In other words, Smith very well could be a top-5 quarterback for his conference with his upside being that of Aaron Rodgers-- a mobile quarterback that prefers to stand in the pocket and constantly search down the field. Would you be alright with a player the caliber of Ben Roethlisberger? A guy that normally makes the Pro Bowl but manages to still have great seasons when he fails to win the fan-voted contest. I think most teams would "settle" for a player such as this, that ranks just outside that upper tier level of Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning.
Maybe Smith becomes this level of player, maybe Smith doesn't. Regardless, what happens to the Jaguars if they don't take Smith? With so much stock currently going into this nearly guaranteed scenario of Smith to the Jaguars, what happens if the Jaguars go another direction? They still improve.
For starters, the Jaguars would (hopefully) improve another glaring area on the team. In a recent NFL.com article, the Jaguars were listed as the weakest roster in the NFL in regards to talent. Unfortunately, I can't find too much of an argument with the article. A small excerpt:
Draft needs: The Jaguars are the rare NFL team with a need at nearly every position. Their first priority should be finding a franchise quarterback, and the front office reportedly is intrigued by West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. Beyond that, the most glaring holes to address in the early rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft are at cornerback and right tackle.
As you can see, it's hard to find fault in the description. The Jaguars really are weak at just about every position and nearly any player that can be added would help the team become more talented. It's a dire situation that looks to get better. We've learned this off-season that the Jaguars are willing to do the necessary research.
After sending a large contingent to the WVU Pro Day for what seemed to be an in-depth investigation of Smith, the Jaguars sent signals. Most immediately thought Smith would become a Jaguar if possible, which is logical. Some thought the Jaguars were sending signals that they were willing to take Smith for the sole reason of stealing another team's draft picks. A team would need to trade more picks than the Jaguars thought Smith was worth in order to entice the Jaguars out of the selection. Think of the St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins trade for last year's #2 overall pick.
Now, we find the Jaguars sent nearly the same contingent to USC for QB Matt Barkley's Pro Day. I guess this should mean that the Jaguars are, as of now, "reportedly intrigued" by both players. As mentioned above, the Jaguars are showing the NFL world that they are willing to do the necessary research. This news should make every Jaguars fan smile from ear to ear.
So, do the Jaguars covet each QB the same? Not likely. Most likely, the Jaguars want to have all possible information at hand, but neither Pro Day will drastically change the way the team views either player. Player grades are primarily composed of game tape--always remember that! Though, it's possible Caldwell thinks maniacally enough to attend both for the simple reason to confuse other teams, as well as NFL.com writers. I doubt it, but you never know.
It seems as though the Jaguars may be deciding on Geno Smith. It makes sense. A team with an obvious and painful need at quarterback in position to take the top quarterback available would be the most likely landing place for the top quarterback available.
The likelihood that the Chiefs pass on Geno Smith exists somewhere around 100%. Smith should be available when the Jaguars go on the clock. However, it's also possible the Jaguars deem another position more important. The now famous "Leo" position in Gus Bradley's defense requires a certain type of player with unique athleticism to rush the passer from a wide-out position. The Jaguars may have noticed a player that perfectly fits what they want and aim to take a DE/OLB at the top of the draft. Be prepared for anything.
Except left tackle. The Jaguars have a fantastic left tackle on the roster and despite what your favorite non-BCC writer listed as a "solid choice" for the Jaguars, just ignore the left tackle position for this team in the first round.