We are officially one month away from the NFL Draft this year. Free agency has been with us for two weeks and some teams have already transformed themselves into playoff contenders at best and a circus at worst (Miami Dolphins). For those of us who are Jacksonville Jaguars fans the next month is going to be critical as the team begins their rebuilding process.
Bringing back Brad Meester and Jordan Shipley and signing new Jaguars like Geno Hayes, Justin Forsett, and Roy Miller will go a long way toward bridging the current with the future success of the Jags. General Manager Dave Caldwell knows that the real place to build the team, however, is in the NFL Draft and college free agency. As a result, the next four weeks will be an intense time for the Jaguars as an organization. They will need to do analysis, projections, and scouting as they whittle their draft board down to potential players they can select in rounds 1-7.
The Jaguars still have holes at left guard, right tackle, outside linebacker, cornerback, fullback, and strong safety to fill. They could also use upgrades and depth at quarterback, defensive end, and center. As can be seen there, the Jaguars don’t have enough picks to fill all of those needs this offseason. There is always the occasional undrafted free agent, but to reasonably assume that all of the players the Jags draft and finding two or three more quality undrafted free agents to be role players, the Jaguars either need to do exceptionally well in the draft or the team needs to find a way to get more picks.
The 2013 NFL Draft isn’t going to be the magic bullet for the Jaguars. As much as I hope and remain optimistic that this team can be rebuilt, assuming that it will be done this offseason is illogical. There are too many holes and too many questions on the roster for the team to do extremely well at this point. I’m not saying the team will be 2-14 again, but I am saying that one month out from the draft, things are looking a little lighter but definitely still dark.
The immediate future will be big for the Jaguars. The immediate future may bring some glimmers of hope, talent, and success, but ultimately it will be up to Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley to bring the team through this first year and lay a foundation. One month from now, we’ll see what that foundation looks like.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims