It’s draft week, so the rumors are flying. One such rumor that seems to be picking up steam is that the Jacksonville Jaguars taking a quarterback at No. 4 overall is a real scenario.
The quarterback position does need to be addressed at some point in the draft, but given the 2017 crop, I think it would be a colossal mistake reaching for one with the fourth pick.
If it was anybody, it will likely be Deshaun Watson, whom the Jaguars brought in for a visit earlier this month
I think I’ve made my feelings about Blake Bortles clear — he is not very good — but I’m willing to let him open the season as the starter, be it under a microscope. This article does not defend him. It is simply saying a sure fire solution is likely not available in any quarterback.
The Jaguars can’t afford to overlook the potential on defense in this draft with such an early pick, simply because they’re ejecting Bortles. In addition to that statement, here are five reasons why Jacksonville should stray away from a quarterback with the fourth selection.
5. Look at the history
Jacksonville has drafted three quarterbacks in the first round since its inception — all of which were top-10 picks. Byron Leftwich, No. 7 overall in 2003, eventually lost his job to fourth-round pick, David Garrard. Blaine Gabbert, the 10th selection in 2011, won five games in three seasons as a member of the Jaguars. And, of course, the play of Bortles, the third pick of the 2014 draft, is the reason I’m even writing this article. Long story short, none of those prospects panned out.
Jacksonville has drafted seven quarterbacks all together. Of those seven players, only Garrard finished his career with a winning record (Leftwich had a winning record with the Jaguars, but not in his career). Given this year’s class, I would expect that trend to continue.
4. This quarterback class is relatively weak at the top
While I do think that Watson is the best quarterback in the class, he has too many question marks about his game, and so do the other highest rated quarterbacks.
Watson’s arm strength and accuracy are both big question marks. He often throws balls behind or well out of the reach of receivers. And he has a slender frame that may not hold up well in the NFL. His ball placement on intermediate and deep throws are questionable. He’s inaccurate when it’s not quick passes, slants, and the like.
Mitch Trubisky has one year of starting experience. Scouts question his deep ball touch and awareness as well. Trubisky’s tape sometimes shows complete oblivion to the pass rush closing in on him — and not necessarily from his blindside.
Pat Mahomes is a project that will need a season or two to reach his true potential. Mahomes’ mechanics are poor, but fixable. He is impatient in the pocket and tends to be too quick to improvise.
And I believe Deshone Kizer is an overrated prospect. He doesn’t go through his progressions well, and often locks in on his primary read. Hesitation and bad decisions led to 19 interceptions in 23 starts.
If there wasn’t such a premium put on the quarterback position, I’m not sure any of those players are worthy of a top-10 pick.
3. More value in later rounds
More than one-third (11 of 32) of projected starting quarterbacks for 2017 were drafted in the third round or later.
While the draft class is not top heavy at quarterback, there may be some mid-round guys who are capable of being NFL starters. I think drafting Pittsburgh’s Nathan Peterman in the third or fourth round is wiser than investing the fourth overall pick in any of the above gues. Peterman has been connected to Jacksonville. He’s a local product, he’s one of the quarterbacks who was brought in for a visit, and he has been mocked to Jacksonville recently.
The one downfall to this strategy would be no fifth-year option if a prospect does turn out.
2. Trade leverage
The Jaguars are in a great position to trade down since they have needs all over the board and the fourth overall pick is going to look enticing to other quarterback-needy teams. Despite the lack of talent in this class, we’re likely going to see at least one taken in the first 10 picks.
If a team like the Cleveland Browns worries that the New York Jets are going to draft Trubisky with the No. 6 pick, they can swap with Jacksonville. This will allow the Jags to accrue extra draft capital, still have a top-12 pick and assure division rival Tennessee (picking fifth overall) doesn’t reap the benefits of the trade.
At 12, Jacksonville may still have a chance at O.J. Howard, or may be able to justify picking Cam Robinson more so than at No. 4. In fact, NFL.com’s Charlie Casserly believes Jacksonville and Cleveland will make the swap, but predicts the Jaguars still land Watson at No. 12. If that is truly the guy, then I would be much less upset with this scenario.
1. The Jaguars are more than one season away from competing
The Jaguars are at least another year away from being contenders. It doesn’t look likely that the fifth-year option on Bortles’ contract will be picked up. The 2018 quarterback class is projected to be miles ahead of the 2017 group. Should Jacksonville really risk taking a questionable prospect that early, and forgo a potential All-Pro like Solomon Thomas or Jonathan Allen, in order to raise their wins ceiling from five to seven this year?
Bottom line: I do not believe drafting a quarterback early is going to solve Jacksonville’s many issues. With that said, nobody truly knows how it will turn out. If Watson is the pick, I hope I am wrong and will gladly admit it if he pans out.
I know they’ll be some debate, and rightfully so. Please vote in the poll and comment your opinion on if the Jaguars should pull the trigger on a quarterback at No. 4 overall.
Should the Jaguars draft a quarterback at No. 4 overall?
This poll is closed