The Case for Trading UP

May 05, 2014 -- 8:51am

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

Now that we are three days away from the NFL Draft, I have to ask the one question that I am not sure anyone has touched on: Why hasn’t Jacksonville made a pitch to obtain the first overall pick on Thursday night?

The Jaguars own 11 picks over three days, a time period where general manager Dave Caldwell has stated he hopes to obtain more, somewhere in the 12-14 pick range. That is how teams like Seattle and San Francisco have built their franchises.

But if the Jaguars want to really make a statement – and they started that through free agency already – why not try to move two spots, draft the best player on the board in South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, and forget all the guessing and playing cards as close to the vest as possible?

The draft this year is loaded with talent, and depth, something this team will need in the later rounds to fill in linemen and wide receivers. Jacksonville may get shut out in its attempts to draft Clowney or Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Last year, the team did not have to move because it landed the best tackle in the Draft, a position of great need. Playing poker with two picks could bite this team in the backside.

I’m not saying there isn’t other talent because either tackle, Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews, or even linebacker Khalil Mack are great consolation prizes. But they are not the best prospect on the board. Moving up two spots may cost Jacksonville a second or third round pick. Houston has said it may be interested in moving down – with the Falcons being the team we hear most interested in making that move.

Isn’t this a case of simple math analytical assessment (I hope you are reading this, Tony Khan)?

There is only one choice in my opinion of who is drafted first overall. No quarterback makes the Jaguars drool. Watkins is a highlight waiting to happen, but the same could be said for someone like Marquis Lee of Southern Cal or Odell Beckham, Jr. – two players that may (and we pray they do) move into the top part of the second round.

I’m convinced the Jaguars will draft a quarterback in the third round – Aaron Murray of Georgia – but what I am not convinced is the Jaguars are willing to take a chance and make another huge splash in the Draft. Don’t you think if the team was willing to give Alex Mack, the best center in free agency,  such a hefty contract they would be willing to wheel and deal for the best defensive end on the board.

Hopefully this is all a bluff and the team makes a pitch before Sunday.

In this case, I hope it is not too late for the Jags to make the right choice – no matter what it might cost.

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