It's no secret that the Jacksonville Jaguars are interested in drafting a quarterback this year. It's also no secret that Gene Smith is a small college guy. Who will he pick? That's what everyone around Jacksonville would like to know. For the Jaguars under Smith, it's been all about matching value to a pick. There are a lot of guys that will be there when the Jaguars use their 16th pick of the draft. Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker could very well be available at 16, and guys like Colin Kaepernick, Christian Ponder, and Andy Dalton could easily be available for the Jaguars in the second round. The question is, who will get the nod?
I have been an avid Ryan Mallett supporter, until recently. I think he has all the ability a team could ever want in their quarterback, but he has to prove that he's a character guy that can stay out of trouble off the field. We don't know what goes on during the interviews at the NFL Combine, but I have to think that Ryan Mallett needed to do a lot better than he did with the media to warrant the 16th pick of the draft.
Jake Locker intrigues me a lot. He has the tools to make every throw, and he showed late last year that he can lead a team. But, what about the rest of 2010? He ended the season great, but Washington struggled through most of the year, and Locker didn't look very good during that stretch either. I'm interested to hear what the experts have to say about him as we get closer to the draft.
Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton both have the look of a "Gene Smith guy." They're not the top of the quarterback class, but they are certainly better than Jimmy Clausen (taken in the 2nd round last year). What I'm saying here is that these guys could be first round picks in some draft classes. It would be a steal to get a quality starter midway through the second round in the draft, and I think that's where the Jaguars might take one.
Finally, I move to Colin Kaepernick. I saved him for last because he intrigues me more than any other quarterback in the draft. He struggles with his accuracy sometimes, but he has great mobility. I really wonder what his ability ceiling might be. He's a ball of raw talent that could have massive upswing in the right system. He needs plenty of time to make the transition to the pro game, and that's why I think that Jacksonville might be a good fit for him.
I really don't know how Gene Smith's board looks right now, but I think it's safe to bet that he and his staff are looking very closely at most, if not all, of these quarterbacks. After all, the man that takes over when Garrard's done may be listed somewhere above.