The Jacksonville Jaguars can go a lot of ways with the No. 4 overall pick, but for the most part I think we can narrow it down to either Solomon Thomas, Jonathan Allen or Leonard Fournette. Lately one of the ideas that's kicked up some steam is the thought of a quarterback early in the draft. Recently, the Jaguars brought in Clemons quarterback Deshaun Watson and Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, in my opinion the two top quarterbacks in the draft, for official visits. This has led to speculation that the Jaguars could pick a quarterback early, which seems to have been a shock to quite a few people.
Regardless of your opinion of the quarterbacks in the draft class, the Jaguars being interested in a quarterback early shouldn't be a shock to anyone.
Blake Bortles was picked by the Jaguars with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and after his 2015 season it appeared like he might be the answer. Bortles came crashing back down, hard, in 2016 and now there are legitimate questions about his long term viability as the Jaguars quarterback. This question is compounded by the fact that the Jaguars haven't given any indication whatsoever they'll be picking up Bortles fifth-year option, which will need to be decided a few days after the 2017 NFL Draft.
I don't really want to get into if we think Bortles can bounce back and become a consistent starter, that's another conversation for another day and really isn't worth getting into at this point; but the fact that the Jaguars have shown interest in quarterbacks who are expected to be picked early and the lack of news on the fifth-year option should give you a few clues on how the team feels.
That's why the interest in guys like Watson and Mahomes shouldn't be a surprise, the quarterback position in Jacksonville is still a huge question mark. Is Bortles the 2015 guy? The 2016 guy? The last two weeks of 2016 guy? The fact that these questions are being asked entering year four means the Jaguars have to start thinking about the future of the position, consider they don't really have any other options on the roster... with respect to Brandon Allen. If the team thought Allen could ever be a starter, we'd have had a few puff pieces on him this summer and so far, nothing.
Now, I don't think the Jaguars will be picking a quarterback with the No. 4 overall pick. I could see scenarios where it happens, because I believe if you think a quarterback is "the guy", you pick them when you can and you don't wait on it. I will be a little surprised if they pick a quarterback at four, but the scenario at least logically exists.
What I think is more likely however, is that the Jaguars probably end up picking one of the three players I mentioned earlier and then watch how it shakes out. If someone like Watson or Mahomes begins to slide in the 20's, it's possible the team makes a move to get back into the first round and select a quarterback they like.
Now some people will ask why bother trading up, just let them come to the second round and then pick them. While there is some merit to that, trading back into the first round has some strategic planning to it, especially at the quarterback position. Under the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA), players selected in the first round have a team fifth-year option attached to their rookie contract. That means a team has control of the player for roughly six seasons (with the franchise tag) and a relatively cheap rate. With a quarterback, that's worth the extra picks to move up, especially if they're good.
I'm still not sure the Jaguars end up picking a quarterback high, but I think it's clear it's something on the radar and something we should pay attention to.