Under general manager Dave Caldwell, it's safe to say the Jacksonville Jaguars have done well in the NFL Draft. Aside from over-drafting Luke Joeckel at No. 2 overall in 2013, I think the team's selections have been solid and we're getting incredible production out of our low-round picks.
ESPN's Mel Kiper seemed to think so about our 2014 draft class, giving the Jaguars an A grade. But he's since regraded after a season of play and given the team a B. Why?
|2||61||WR||Allen Robinson||Penn State|
|3||93||G||Brandon Linder||Miami (FL)|
|5||144||LB||Telvin Smith||Florida State|
Summary: The Jags had one of the better grades in the entire draft, but it comes down for two reasons: 1. Blake Bortles didn't look at all like a starting NFL QB, ranking 32nd in Total QBR by a mile, so we just don't know what Jacksonville has there yet, and 2. While so many rookies contributed, they did so for a three-win team, so you can't assume they're getting these kinds of reps for teams in the playoff picture.
But, there were many bright spots. Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson combined for 85 catches even as both spent time on the shelf with injuries, and UFA Allen Hurns hauled in 51 catches -- a nice get. Telvin Smith played a lot, made a lot of tackles, and looks like he can be a starter in this league. Brandon Linder was probably the most consistent player on the entire offense, and a healthy Aaron Colvin got on the field late in the year. Furthermore, sixth-rounder Luke Bowankocould be the answer at center. If Bortles is the answer at QB -- a new offensive coordinator should help -- it could be a great class. If not, well, that was the No. 3 pick. It would be a big setback.
New grade: B
I get the B regrade as Blake Bortles' rookie season left a lot to be desired, especially considering he was the No. 3 overall pick in the draft and by some accounts he regressed as the season went on.
But some of Kiper's reasoning doesn't quite make sense. He's blaming good rookies for producing on a bad team, as if to say that if they were on good teams they wouldn't be producing? Good players will do well regardless of the overall quality of the team. Just like bad players will do poorly regardless of the overall quality of the team.
What do you think? Are you okay with a B regrade from Kiper?