Sure, we’d all like to see a better quarterback under center for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the truth is there are bigger things to worry about. Bigger people at least. Whether you’re a Blaine Gabbert fan (don’t be shy, raise your hand), a Chad Henne fan (are there any left?), or desperately want a trade for Alex Smith, it is pretty obvious that the Jaguars also need help protecting those guys.
Believe it or not, but the offensive and defensive lines from 2011 actually got worse in 2012. The defense finished with 11 less sacks than 2011’s already below average 31. The offense allowed six more sacks than they did in 2011, with a dysmal 50 for 2012. While there are no clear cut top candidates for the second overall pick, this draft class is considered a deep one for pass rushers and linemen in general. If the Jaguars get serious about fixing their lines, this draft is a blessing.
Much like Andrew Luck falling to the Indianapolis Colts who happened to suck in just the right season, it may be time to think of this draft as the perfect remedy to the Jaguars’ woes.
Sure, the team may not end up with a Jason Pierre-Paul right off the bat, but they can start to build off a roster that has less depth than a puddle. Whoever takes the GM spot knows this and knows that rather than focusing on falling in love with specific players and trying to find that one star, he will have the opportunity to put together a team of players who complement each other well enough to make the Jaguars much better than the sum of their parts.
Despite needs at quarterback and cornerback, the Jaguars may need to prioritize things a bit differently. This draft is one meant for Jacksonville to rebuild its lines. We need a center/guard, we need a right tackle (is Cameron Bradfield really the answer? We know Guy Whimper isn’t), we need a defensive tackle (or two), and we need almost entirely new defensive ends. I could very easily see all of the Jaguars picks going to the lines and I’d be fine with it. Will it happen? No. Invariably there will be a player at a position outside the trenches who is the best available players at one of the picks. But, entering the draft, I’m confident that no matter what priority the new GM makes – whether offensive or defensive line – he will have the talent pool from which to build something special.
Bring on the 2013 draft!
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims