Nov 30, 2013; Columbia, MO, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) throws a pass against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Quarterback or Pass Rusher in Round 1

Dec 21, 2013; Boise, ID, USA; Buffalo Bulls linebacker Khalil Mack (46) celebrates after he recovered a fumble during the first quarter of the Idaho Potato Bowl verse the San Diego State Aztecs at Bronco Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most dependable phenomenon from fans as the draft gets closer is quarterback fear. With analysts nitpicking and tearing apart the top quarterback prospects, fans start to fear missing on that first round pick and start clamoring for a developmental prospect in the later rounds.

I think I can fairly say I am not in that particular camp. Last year I was banging the table all the way up until draft day to select quarterback Geno Smith out of West Virginia with the second overall pick. In retrospect that would have been less than ideal, especially since Smith was still available when the Jaguars were on the clock in the second round. Smith had an up-and-down rookie campaign and isn’t a surefire lock to start in 2014, but he showed some promise.

Alfie Crow over at Big Cat Country put together a graphic that illustrates just how difficult it is to find a viable starting quarterback after the first round. His criteria for “success” was starting 20 or more games, which is a pretty good standard to go off of. Less than 10% of quarterbacks with 20 or more starts with their original team were drafted outside of the first round. Clearly the odds aren’t great when looking for even a serviceable quarterback after the first round.

Obviously this isn’t to say drafting a quarterback in the first round is a sure thing – recent history in Jacksonville has thoroughly demonstrated that principle is incorrect – but the statistics dictate a much better probability of finding that franchise guy early in the draft.

When the Jaguars are on the clock in May with the third overall pick, they will almost certainly have to choose between one of the top quarterbacks and one of the top pass rushers. Caldwell supposedly has his top 5 set, so he shouldn’t hesitate too much in making the pick. Some combination of Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, and Khalil Mack will be available. I trust David Caldwell to make the right choice, but one has to hope that he thinks one of the three quarterbacks is worthy. If not, the Jaguars will probably still be looking for their guy in the 2015 draft.

 

-Daniel Lago

Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Blake Bortles Jacksonville Jaguars Jadeveon Clowney Johnny Manziel Khalil Mack Teddy Bridgewater

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