Finding a starting-quality quarterback in free agency is always a rarity and perhaps only Drew Brees is a current example of a team successfully finding a franchise quarterback in that manner. Still, with players like Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn on the market this year, teams will surely make an attempt.
However, there are more teams with quarterback vacancies than there are players to go around, which will surely leave teams that miss out on the scarce amount starters in free agency instead looking to the draft to fill the void. Depending upon the teams and situations, the Jaguars could be in a good spot to deal their 7th overall selection.
A note on QB R. Tannehill: he hasn't been "rising" up boards, several teams have had him rated as a high 1st rnder since the fall #NFLDraft— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) March 6, 2012
With Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III almost sure to be drafted in the first four picks (if not the first two), the third quarterback will almost definitely be Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. As has been noted by many analysts, Tannehill is thought to be a consensus first round pick on most NFL draft boards and could be in even higher demand for QB-desperate teams.
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The list of teams that could be in the market for a quarterback this offseason is a lengthy one that includes the Dolphins, Jets, Browns, Colts, Broncos, Chiefs, Redskins, Cardinals, Seahawks and possibly other teams as well. But the team that will matter the most for the Jaguars is unequivocally the Dolphins.
Miami is expected to be in the race for Manning and if not, they are also the common landing place for Flynn, according to most analysts' logic. But if the Dolphins are unable to land a starter in free agency they will be left with nothing but the draft to fix their quarterback woes.
If the Dolphins are desperate for a QB come draft day, they would be the team that makes the most sense for Tannehill and any team that has a similar QB need and wants the Texas A&M QB will almost surely have to trade up in front of Miami to select him. Who selects one pick prior to the Dolphins? You guessed it...the Jaguars.
The Jaguars are in a spot where a trade down would make a lot of sense, but in order to trade down a team has to have a player on the board that they feel is worth trading up for. So often in the draft, first round trades are quarterback driven and there's no reason to think 2012 will be any different.
So while the Jaguars are almost certainly out of the market for any top quarterback in the draft and free agency, the way the quarterback market falls will be very important for the Jaguars draft strategy.