Feb 27, 2011; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Star Power – Why the Jags Small-School Focus is Hurting the Team


As was pointed out by one of our commenters, Nickel and Dime in this article, the Jags focus too much on small school talent.  While his main point was that the risk of picking small school players is too great, I have another point to make.

By focusing so much energy and time on drafting small-school players, the Jags miss out on star power that can motivate the fan base and sell tickets.

Owner Shahid Khan wants to get rid of the tarps at Everbank Field.  He is desperate enough to attempt hiring Tim Tebow to do it.

But there’s an easier (and less costly) solution: focus on grabbing stars in college.

As has been pointed out by many writers on Black and Teal, the Jags don’t go after big name prospects often.  Blaine Gabbert out of Mizzou is about as big as they come for the Jags.  Sure he had a good go of it in college, but even he wasn’t the true “star” the Jags really needed.  Nabbing a franchise quarterback is a good way to sell tickets solely because the fans want a new quarterback, but unless he’s the next sure thing out of USC he isn’t going to be bringing in new fans.

I’m not saying the Jags should focus on players like Jamarcus Russell who are complete aberrations, but rather focus on some Big-Ten and Big-12 type  players that guarantee people are interested in the Jaguars for who they’re bringing into the team.

Sure, QB Ricky Stanzi (whom I loved before the 2011 draft) isn’t selling a ton of Chiefs jerseys, but I guarantee the Chiefs gained a lot of fans in the Iowa region for grabbing their wining quarterback.  And some of those fans may just travel a few states south for a game every once in a while.

A couple Rose Bowls give you a bit of attention. Source: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Similarly, players like C Peter Konz from Wisconsin and TE Coby Fleener from Stanford have big spotlights on them from their home states.  The Jags may not steal a ton of Wisconsin fans with the Packers being the best aerial show outside of the Red Bull runs, but some people may go “Konz was pretty damn good, I wonder how he’s doing down in Jacksonville…” and flip the channel or pop in for a game on vacation (seriously, it gets cold in that upper Midwest) down in Florida.

I’m not saying Quinton Coples is the answer just because he’s a popular player.  I’m not saying every Tim Tebow that’s available should be drafted.  But maybe, just maybe the Jags should focus on bringing in some more talent from big name schools.  Schools whose players are practically celebrities.  As much as I love OG/T Charles Burton from my alma mater, he won’t be selling tickets for the Jags.

If the Jaguars are serious about running the team more like a successful franchise, that means they need to start focusing on ways to bring the eyes of the nation to Jacksonville.  A good way to do that is winning.  But an easier way is to take the players who already have eyes on them and bring them to Jacksonville.

I’m telling you, the fans will follow.

- Luke N. Sims

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Tags: Blaine Gabbert Coby Fleener Jacksonville Jaguars Peter Konz Quinton Coples Ricky Stanzi Tim Tebow

  • NickelandDime

    Thank you! I’m glad someone agrees with me!

  • http://www.blackandteal.com/ LukeNSims

     @NickelandDime It would definitely be helpful.  I like finding small school gems, but a lot of time, some big school star power can be helpful.

  • Californy

    Eventhought they must spend 98% of their Cap on the football operation, The Jags can not escape the stigma of being a small market team. I believe the team must move to a bigger market to attrack real football fans. I think The Los Angels market may be a good market for them.  I think the fact the owner makes no attempt of fielding a winner is what has hurt this team.  They are one of those teams that are being subsidize heavily by the larger markets. The NFL should make the smaller team change location, if they feel it is in the best interest for football.  I dont recall how big Jacksonville stadium is but I dont even think it even reaches 70 million.  By having less or cheaper practise field, they tend not top attrack the right FA to this team.  I just hope the owner takes some local state product to help create a home filed feeling for the fans here in jJacksonville, someone who could help fill the stadium.

  • dlago89

    If the best player on the board when it’s your turn to pick is from a big school, sure go for it. But you definitely don’t pass on a better player from a small-school just because he’s from a small-school. No one’s going to care that Joe Schmo is from Ohio State if he sucks. 
    Fleener could be a sneaky pick by the Jags if he slips to the second round though.

  • http://www.blackandteal.com/ LukeNSims

     @dlago89 I may absolutely love it if Fleener slips into the second round and the Jags nab him.  I doubt it will happen though.

  • cjwright