By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
Memo to Jaguars fans: We do not need the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Jaguars just have to be able to make solid picks that become building blocks of this franchise. Many fans were both happy and sad when the Jaguars did the unthinkable and won this past weekend at Tennessee – putting a serious damper on the team’s hope of gaining the top prize in May’s talent pool. But as Jeff Prosser said earlier this week, “The fifth pick [or whatever pick the Jaguars earn] may be better than the first overall selection.”
This is a sentiment and reality football fans and NFL franchises have witnesses for decades.
Emmitt Smith wasn’t the first pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. Warren Sapp wasn’t the first pick in the 1995 NFL Draft.
John Abraham wasn’t the first pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. I think you get my point.
The Jaguars will look like a different team next year when you look at their roster compared to this one. Players like Marcedes Lewis, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jason Babin, Uche Nwaneri and Brad Meester could all be jettisoned because of age and salary. The basis of the team is to take good players in free agency and the draft and build from the bottom up.
Finding a franchise quarterback is paramount for this team’s success, but it looks like Tampa Bay is set on Mike Glennon and someone like Teddy Bridgewater or Brett Hundley or Marcus Mariota could fall into Dave Caldwell’s lap.
The one win did not change the fact the team is still one of the worst in the league and there is plenty of holes to fill, offensive game planning to do and defensive schemes to fix.
If the Jaguars select fifth or sixth in this draft, a few things have happened. First the team has made considerable progress with Gus Bradley’s mantra of “Getting better each day." Second, it means the offense has finally found ways to score at home. Third, it means the defense will have finally learned what a pass rush is. And fourth, it means the secondary started intercepting passes.
While those are great accomplishments for this team, I nor many of you expect them to happen overnight. But if the team were to pick out of the top three or five in this draft, players like Jake Matthews, a tackle from Texas A & M comes into play. So does pass rushing specialist Anthony Barr of UCLA becomes intriguing. Maybe someone like Khalil Mack, an outside linebacker from Buffalo also makes his name known in private practices.
All of these players will fill a need. And if you want a quarterback other than the “Big Three” on the board, Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois, Derek Carr of Fresno State and Blake Bortles of Central Florida all come into play in the second round.
Before we can build our own “Rome” we must first wait and see what happens in the next seven weeks. As fans, we have all been so consumed with losing to get the best player next season, it looks like we all forgot about what could happen this season.
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