As a reminder, the quarterbacks drafted in first round of the 2010 and 2011 drafts were:
Sam Bradford - Number 1 overall
Tim Tebow- Number 25 overall
Cam Newton- Number 1 overall
Jake Locker- Number 8 overall
Blaine Gabbert- Number 10 overall
Christian Ponder- number 12 overall
When fans and pundits alike read and pour over the NFL Mock Drafts that flood the NFL media landscape during the offseason, the analysts seem to value drafting a quarterback more than the NFL teams. The change in value seems to be a recent trend.
Last year, fans would be hard pressed to find many mock drafts that had Geno Smith failing out of the first round. EJ Manual was not seen by many as a legit first round talent until his Senior Bowl performance. Even with that performance, not many would have thought that EJ Manual would have been the first quarterback off the board.
Fast forward to this year. I'm starting to believe that the quarterback position wont be overvalued in the NFL draft. Teams appear to have learned their lessons from the 2010 and 2011 draft classes, and general managers might not be as willing to risk their reputations and jobs for guys who have large question marks around their projection.
The average NFL fan has very little patience when it comes to the development of a first-round quarterback. These quarterbacks, who are often times drafted on their "upside," are thrown to the wolves in week one; as a result, these young quarterbacks are expected to live up to their selection right away. On the other hand, the moment a first round quarterback is sitting on the bench and the "stop gap" quarterback struggles for more than one series, the fan base begins to clamor for the new, young signal caller.
The Jaguars fit both examples. Blaine Gabbert didn't start right away, but his time on the bench was not long. Would sitting and learning really made a big difference in his career? Probably not, but we will never really know. This year, most Jaguar fans want the team to select a quarterback. Hell, Im one of those fans. If what Coach Bradley and Dave Caldwell has said is true, and they expect Chad Henne to be the starter, how many interceptions, three and outs, or fumbled snaps are we from EverBank screaming for the highly drafted quarterback? Not many.
It will be interesting to see if letting quarterbacks who aren't plug and play like Andrew Luck or Cam Newton continue to slide down in the actual draft becomes a theme or if last year was just an anomaly. Three of the four quarterbacks in the conference championship games weren't drafted to start right away. Time and patience are required for both the front office and the fans. It appears that the Jaguars are primed to develop their young arms. I'd bet the fans wont be primed to wait.