I’m not talking about soulmates.
Ok, maybe I’m talking about soulmates.
Just not that guy/gal you’ve been looking for forever and just can’t seem to find but you know is out there because statistically, based on a 7 billion person planet, there are at least 4 to 5 potential “the ones” and only one that truly understands why you love the Jaguars.
I’m talking about that 2013 NFL Draft prospect that will become the face of your franchise no matter what. The guy people remember in black and teal for the rest of his life. The guy that puts his heart and soul out on the field every play because he just loves football. The guy that makes plays upon plays upon plays for his team and is known across the league for it.
That guy may not be a quarterback – or it may be – but he definitely needs to be that impact player who defines your team. For the Jags it has been Maurice Jones-Drew…for too long.
MJD is getting older and the team is likely heading in a new direction. He came to the Jags as a second round pick and has fully held the mantle as the face of the franchise during dark times for Jacksonville. The win/loss record won’t reflect well on MoJo’s time with the team, but in our minds we will always remember Pocket Hercules blowing up Shawn Merriman.
But it’s time for the Jags to find a new face of the franchise.
For a lot of teams, it’s the quarterback. Peyton Manning sold the Indianapolis Colts better than any marketing strategy, and he’s not even that pretty. Blaine Gabbert – complete with pretty boy hair – just hasn’t made the transition to face of the franchise. So, where does one get a face for one’s franchise?
The NFL draft.
No matter how much Manning owns the city of Denver right now, he will just be a blip on the radar over the next couple seasons he spends with them, even if they are Super Bowl winning seasons. Champ Bailey is just resting his face while Manning tosses more than a few TDs. Free agents and traded players rarely come in to be the face of your franchise, no offense Brett Favre.
The draft gives you a world of possibilities, and when you find that guy, you take him. I’m talking trade the entire draft to get him…well maybe not like the New Orleans Saints did to get Ricky Williams (but a team in dire straights has to do something). Will Geno Smith be that guy for the Kansas City Chiefs? If he falls to the Jags, do they think he is their guy? Or do the Jags value another possible second rounder with first round talent, like Margus Hunt to be their face for the foreseeable future?
Statistically, the Jaguars probably should have someone on their roster by now who could be the next face of the franchise. The team had a decent run with Mark Brunell, then Fred Taylor, then MJD. There was some serious overlap, and a lot of bad seasons, during their time together and its time someone on this roster should step up. The problem being, I just don’t see anybody who is going to do that.
As good as Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III are and are going to be, they are dependent on their quarterback. Jerry Rice had Joe Montana and Steve Young, Randy Moss had Tom Brady, and Reggie Wayne has Manning and Andrew Luck. Do you think Wayne is having 1,000 yard seasons with Curtis Painter at quarterback? It’s been tried, it doesn’t happen.
The Jags are looking for an impact player who will among the best at his position. They’re looking for a quarterback, running back, defensive end, or million time pro-bowler at the other defensive positions.
I don’t know if the Jags will find “the one” yet, but I know they need him. GM Dave Caldwell said he is going to come out swinging and I think he meant it. The Jags aren’t looking for just a bunch of guys. They’re looking for a player to define them. MJD’s time may be running out here in Jacksonville, they could really use another smooth transition from him to _____.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims