By James Critch
With the third pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select…..A Quarterback. The NFL Draft, which will begin Thursday evening, has all the teams stacking the future NFL players in order of the “best player” available. This is an extremely busy time for the team’s owners, GM’s, front office, coaches, and their fans. Following the Seattle Seahawks winning their first Super Bowl back in February, fans have been subjected to every “expert” in the media telling them who their favorite team should, and would select in the NFL Draft. The player that would be selected by a particular team has changed week to week and the Jaguars fans are ready to get this show on the road. Make a choice already.
Jadeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins, Johnny Manziel, Khalil Mack, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, etc….have all been slotted in the Jaguars third spot of this year’s draft. The Jags are a team with quite a few positions that need upgrading and they should be able to address some of these issues with the 11 picks they currently have.
There are a few reasons the Jaguars should select a quarterback next week:
1. The team does not have a true “number one” signal caller. With all due respect to Chad Henne, he is not a top tier quarterback. Last year he threw for 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The team averaged 215 yards passing per game, which ranked them 22nd in the league. Honestly, the team has not had a real number one leader at this position since Mark Brunell wore the Teal & Black. Of course there were the Byron Leftwich and David Garrard years, as well as the ill-fated attempt with Blaine Gabbert, but none of these quarterbacks were revered as a field general like Brunell.
2. The team needs a “face of the franchise” in a desperate way. The Jaguars have tried over the years to get a player in front of the nation to bring attention to the city and the team. There’s been Brunell, Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, hell… even Jaxson De Ville has gone above and beyond what most mascots are willing to do to attract attention to a franchise that seriously needs validation. A few years ago, the Jags had the chance to bring home the “Prodigal Son” Tim Tebow, but owner Shad Khan and GM David Caldwell nixed the former Nease and Florida Gator icon from their plans of rebuilding a team that would have benefited both financially as well as casted a national spotlight on the city, and decided they would restructure the team on their terms.
3. The team needs a playmaker at the quarterback position, period. It has been said over the last few years that the NFL has become a quarterback driven league; the rules favor the offense. It’s time for the Jags to get a QB that can make plays from the pocket with his arm as well as his feet. Currently, the offensive line is not a “great” unit, but they are making moves to improve. Until the time where they are a solid group, whoever the QB is, at times they will be forced to run. History has shown that a quarterback that has the ability to scramble and give himself and his receivers a little more time to get open and make a play, they have been successful. Most recently; Seattle’s Russell Wilson, 49ers Colin Kaepernick, Saint’s Drew Brees, Green Bay’s Aaron Rogers as well as Brett Farve. The ability to extend or create a play was the calling card of….Mark Brunell.
It’s clear that defensive stars can help a team improve dramatically and change the flow of a game, but a quarterback has the ability to lead a team to victory. (e.g.: Eli Manning) A wide receiver can come down with the big catch when the game is on the line, but the quarterback has to have the ability to make the throw. (e.g. : Eli Manning)
The Jaguars are a team with a strong fan base, regardless of how the national media likes to portray the franchise, and it is time to give the fans what they have been craving since Mark Brunell left; a playmaker at the quarterback position. Regardless if the Jags brass select Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, or Johnny Manziel, one of these potential starters should bring some excitement back to the First Coast. Along with the excitement that one of these quarterbacks could bring to the table, there’s a clear number one that would give the Jaguars that long overdue “face of the franchise.” Everyone knows, loves or hates….”Johnny Football.” The anti-Tim Tebow. Ironic? Well, We’ll just have to wait and see.
By the way……Who the hell is Mel Kiper?
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