The 2013 NFL Draft came and went and the Jacksonville Jaguars failed to selected West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. They failed to select quarterback Ryan Nassib as well. In fact, the Jaguars didn’t draft a single quarterback over the weekend.
Some media outlets have lauded the Jaguars’ decision to avoid the quarterback position in the NFL draft, and I agree. Toward the end of the draft I was expecting the Jaguars to go after Arizona quarterback Matt Scott, but in the end they got him anyway (and Jordan Rodgers too!). But avoiding picking a quarterback in the draft may do something, either intentional or otherwise, that may not fly with a lot of Jags fans: reaffirming faith in Blaine Gabbert.
Gabbert, the now-infamous 2010 first round pick, has struggled mightily in his first two NFL season. He has put up just 3,876 yards, 21 touchdowns, and tossed 17 picks in 25 games. For comparison, 2012 third-round pick Russell Wilson threw for 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns, and just 10 interceptions in his first 16 games. With the success of rookie quarterbacks lately in the NFL you have to wonder if the Jaguars really hated this quarterback class or if Gabbert really could be “the guy” in the front office’s eyes.
GM Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are really in a luxury situation. If they win with Gabbert then they will be lauded for turning around a tough situation. If they don’t win with Gabbert they can move on to the next guy with no skin off their back because they didn’t draft him. Showing a little faith in Gabbert for the 2013 can only be a good thing. It will give the young quarterback some confidence and it lets the front office really get a better understanding of how the roster sits.
Personally, I think the Jaguars like Gabbert but aren’t sold. The decision to not draft a quarterback isn’t so much a display of confidence in Gabbert as it is a willingness to see what they have. By all accounts they think he has the arm and athleticism to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, now he needs to show the decision making ability and the accuracy to convince them.
First, however, he has to convince the Jaguars to let him start. That may be difficult with Chad Henne not disappearing and newly-signed undrafted free agent Scott looking to make the field early.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims