- Kyle Orton, Denver
Although some Jaguars fans still covet another quarterback on the Broncos’ roster, Kyle Orton is the one most likely to be shopped around heavily this offseason, which is becoming an annual occurrence for the underappreciated signal-caller. The asking price for Orton is reportedly a 2nd round pick, which would be very tempting. Josh McDaniels may be a terrible head coach/people person, but he is responsible for transforming Orton into a legit top-10 quarterback. In the last two seasons, he’s maintained a 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, with 41 TD’s and 21 INT’s. The reason for his benching towards the end of last year when the Broncos season was already long over was for two reasons, neither of which were his fault: 1) to see how their rookie QB fared against starting NFL defenses and 2) as a PR move, along with the public tarring-and-feathering of McDaniels to please the fanbase in a wake of the failed season. Orton has a ton of starting experience and is four years younger than Garrard, giving him legitimate value in exchange for a 2nd round draft pick.
However, there is a major obstacle making this trade extremely unlikely – the Jaguars must draft a quarterback in this draft (and not just to save the life of formal Jaguars.com Sr. Editor, Vic Ketchman). They haven’t brought in a quarterback through the draft since Byron Leftwich in ’03, which is a ridiculously long period. Even teams like the Colts and the Patriots, who have elite starters far from the end of their careers, have drafted quarterbacks to groom behind their starters. The 2011 draft class also has a TON of talent at the quarterback position; maybe not right away, but many of the prospects are likely to blossom with 1-2 years of learning. The Jaguars need to make a play for a top-level prospect by investing either a 1st or 2nd round pick. I’m betting that the desperate needs on the defensive side of the ball lead to the 1st rounder being used on someone in the front-7, leaving the quarterback selection for the 2nd round. Unless Gene Smith has developed a mancrush on Washington QB Jake Locker, who fits the category of a GM Gene draftee and could be available when the Jaguars make their first pick, my front-runners for the Jags’ QB of the future are Florida State’s Christian Ponder and TCU’s Andy Dalton, who are also great GM Gene candidates and should be available in the 2nd round.
The bottom line here is that it’s not time for the Jaguars to patch the quarterback position in free agency or via trade – the Jaguars must select their quarterback of the future in this year’s draft. The veteran alternatives are not tempting to me and are all prone to be overvalued. Kyle Orton is the only viable option of the quarterbacks listed here and Matt Flynn could be an interesting acquistion, but alas their price is likely to be far too high and neither is guaranteed to provide a significant upgrade over David Garrard. Drafting a quarterback in the 2nd round who can sit and learn behind Garrard (and maybe McCown) seems to be the scenario that makes the most sense for the Jaguars, so that they can maximize the value of their budget and draft picks and groom a signal-caller who can jump in late in the upcoming season and start from day 1 in 2012.
You didn’t think we were gonna suggest the Jaguars trade for Tebow, did you?
– Zoltan Paksa