Like every week on the Jaguars Today radio show on 1010XL, former Jags player and current radio analyst Jeff Lageman joined the show this morning to give his thoughts on the Jacksonville’s current ongoings. Lagmeman had some very interesting takes on the Jaguars right now and moving forward, specifically with the quarterback position. Here’s a transcript of that part of the show:
Mike Dempsey: “When you look back at the season that Blake Bortles had, how do you evaluate him?”
Jeff Lageman: “He regressed. Regressed, as far as, you expected him to take a step forward from last year. If you look at his numbers from ‘14, ‘15, and ‘16, his completion percentage essentially stayed the same, 58.6 to 58.9. That’s not a jump, I mean it’s a .3 jump, but that’s not a jump. His yardage actually went down, his yards per attempt went down, his quarterback rating went down, his touchdown to interception ratio got a little bit better. So, you’re essentially looking at a flat number, and even a slight regression in certain categories. So overall, because it’s another year and you expect improvement, you’d say he’s taken a step back. When they hire a new head coach, thats going to be one of the first orders of business, gathering an opinion and a consensus on the quarterback. And what I say is it doesn't have to be a black or white, it doesn't have to be a thumbs up or thumbs down, ‘he’s definitely our guy, or he’s not our guy’. Because you don't have to have that. You go back and look in NFL history at teams that have valued the quarterback position, the Dallas Cowboys back in 1989 drafted Troy Aikman first overall, he was in my draft class. And then in the supplemental draft, they go and draft Steve Walsh. And they say at the time, and Jimmy Johnson talked about it, ‘we feel good about him, and also, maybe he has trade value in the future’, which they eventually traded him to I think the New Orleans Saints. But do you think Jimmy Johnson drafted Steve Walsh for trade value in the future?”
JL: “No. It was an insurance policy, he knew the guy that he was getting in the supplemental draft in Steve Walsh. But they expected Troy Aikman to be a franchise type guy, but they didn't know he was going to be a franchise type guy. The San Francisco 49ers had Joe Montana. They ended up having the ability to acquire Steve Young. Do you think that they said ‘Ok, we don't believe in Joe Montana’? No, they didn't have that opinion. They wanted to have somebody else they thought might be a good developmental quarterback behind Joe Montana. So when I say it’s not black or white, you don't have to say ‘Blake Bortles is the guy’ and not address the position at all. You don't have to have the other opinion of it, which is ‘he’s not the guy, let’s get rid of him’. You can have an opinion that falls somewhere in-between. ‘We think he might be able to develop, but you know what, we’re not sure, so let’s go and get insurance. Let’s go and try to find other talent at the position. So that one, we can create competition, and number two, if Blake Bortles isn't the guy, we have other options to go with’.”
MD: “Right. How much do you think they're willing to invest in creating this competition I think is one of the big questions of the offseason. Because you look at some of these guys, we’ll use Mike Glennon as an example in free agency, right? He’s started about a season’s worth of games with the Tampa Bay Bucs. A lot of people think he’s just middle of the road or worst, whatever, but he may be one of the better available quarterbacks out here. And the better available quarterbacks, we saw what happened with Brock Osweiler, he got a ridiculous contract off it, and you have to extremely overpay at the quarterback position for guys that don't even rise to league-average level. So, with Blake in the final year of his rookie deal, guaranteed money, do you see them bringing in a substantially-priced free agent quarterback?”
JL: “They could. Because they can afford to do so. But when you talk about bringing in a substantially-priced quarterback, it’s not of the line of ‘ok, it’s a five year commitment cost’. I think if you try to do something like that, I think you’re making a mistake, so the easiest way to do it is to bring in youth. You got Brandon Allen who is already on the roster.”
JL: “Next year, you expect him to be able get to the point where he can come in and compete a little bit. So I think if you can find a guy in free agency, which I’m of the opinion that that’s not the way to do it, I’m a believer in that you do it and get your own, which is through the draft. And whatever round that you covet somebody, take them. Take them. It’s the most important position on the field. Maybe Blake Bortles turns out to be, next year, a phenomenal player. And if so, great! It worked out perfectly. But you’ve got to have insurance just in case. And I’ve always said this, and people kind of scoffed at it, ... I said draft a quarterback every year. I think you draft a quarterback every year that you think you've got a guy who can be a franchise guy. Whether it be in the 1st round, the 3rd round, the 5th round, the 7th, whatever. It doesn't matter, you always pick a guy. And the reason you always pick a guy is, first of all, you don't know whether you're guy is going to be the guy, because you don't have a guy right now. Number two is that you can always get value for them in the future. Rob Johnson is a perfect example. Steve Walsh was a good example for the Dallas Cowboys, they ended up getting some value for him. You always take a quarterback. Because you’re always going to end up finding somebody who’s like a Brock Osweiler. Brock Osweiler didn't end up gaining anything to the Denver Broncos, because he wasn’t traded, he became a free agent. But if you work it correctly, you can end up getting value for players like that, that have moments where they play, they look good, and then all of a sudden, you get a high pick for them. You never pass up the opportunity at that position. So, I think this team has to look long and hard at the position. And you don't have to say ‘Blake is our guy, or not our guy’. And you go into the offseason with the expectation of ‘we’re gonna try to get better at that position. We’re gonna get better with him, we’re gonna get better with the other people we’re gonna bring in, and with what we’ve already got in Brandon Allen’.”
TL;DR: Lageman is a firm believer in drafting a quarterback every year, and thinks the Jaguars should draft a guy they like this year, regardless of draft position. He does not believe they should sign someone else in free agency. He thinks that drafting a quarterback will allow them to have competition with Bortles, and then have value in a trade with moving one of the quarterbacks at a later time.
You can listen to the complete show as a podcast through iTunes, or as an archive on Jaguars.com.
What do you think? Should the Jaguars draft a quarterback, and if so, who would you like them to select? Should they just sign a free agent, and who should it be? Or, should they just stick with what they have?