B & T: From the Top Tier QBs (Bridgewater, Bortles, Manziel) who would be the best option for the Jaguars based on their current system on offense? And among the second tier of signal callers(Carr, Mettenberger, McCarron, Garropolo) who should be the Jaguars selection?
Á. H.: If under “current system” we mean the offense Jedd Fisch runs with Henne, then I think drafting Bortles would be the best option. He could fit and run this offense probably the quickest and most effective. Fisch worked with Matt Hasselback in Seattle when he was a QB coach there and saw Jay Cutler on the daily basis when he coached the Broncos WRs. The experience he collected there could very useful with Bortles in my opinion.
From the 2nd group of QBs I’d choose A. J. McCarron because many underestimate his mature and polished playing style. McCarron could be a strong leader even in a group which features some more talented players than him. He was always very confident on the field, and you expect that from a starting QB in the NFL. Although on the other hand it was not that difficult being confident in Alabama, where several 5 star recruits played around him. If the Jaguars want to replace Henne with someone rather quick, McCarron would be the ideal choice. However if the Jaguars want to sit their 2nd round pick Qb for a while, then Garoppolo could be the better choice. In my opinion he has the most upside among the 4.
If the Jaguars really want to draft 2 QBs, I’d advise them to pick Tajh Boyd on Day 3. I could easily envision if the Jags draft 2 QBs (1 in Round 2, and one on Day 3) than the latter(Boyd) will be higher on the depth chart at the end of August (like in’08 when the Packers drafted Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn).
B & T: The Jaguars had a big need at WR, especially at the X (# 1) wideout position. If Dave Caldwell picks a pass rusher or a QB in the 1st round, who should he try to draft in later rounds to fill this huge hole?
Á. H.: I probably won’t surprise anyone here with my candidates. If teams are keeping themselves from drafting Kelvin Benjamin because of his drop problems, he could be there at 2/7. Still he will be a scary weapon for any team. I think the team that will select Jordan Matthews could win big with him. Most likely he will be not a 1st round pick, even though it was him who has the most receiving yards in the SEC not Mike Evans or Odell Beckham Jr. He is not a workout warrior, so at the moment he is not a popular prospect, but he could become a Jordy Nelson type of impact player who is reliable with very little chance of dropping the ball. I have no names for Round 3, but I have a sleeper for Day 3. I think BYU WR Cody Hoffman is really underrated, the team who decides to draft him will get a gem.
B & T: The Jaguars have right now 6 picks between Round 4 & 6. Which position should they spend these picks on? Also many draft experts stated that this is a very deep draft. As someone who knows the college level very well, do you agree with this?
Á. H.: It is a stronger draft than let’s say last year, although not in every position. For example behind Clowney there is a huge drop-off in 4-3 DEs, and even on Day 2 it will be more difficult to find players who fit better to the 4-3 than being a 3-4 edge rusher. The center position is very thin, and after the first 4-5 players you can find mostly project players at S or TE. On the other hand, this is a very deep draft if you looking for a CB, WR or RB. Plus if we count all the names at the QB position, we can say there are plenty of options in that area as well. I named a few players earlier who I think could be sleepers on Day 3, but you can also take a corner or a running back because plenty of good prospects will be available in the later rounds as well. From the Day 3 RB prospects I’m really looking forward to see how Colorado State RB Kapri Bibbs will do in the NFL. He elevated his game every season in the way you rarely see in the college level. I’d be surprised if he couldn’t continue his improvement in the pros. If I consider the needs of the Jaguars roster, I’d draft some linebackers. If they are interested in picking up some LBs who’s primary objective will be not rushing the passer, then someone like Avery Williamson would be a great choice. Since he also played at Kentucky, you could automatically compare him to Wesley Woodyard or Danny Trevathan, and I think that comparison is legit. It’s always great to find a physical and dependable tackler in the later rounds. And I think he could play the field in much bigger range than many expect from him.
B & T: Last question – let’s say the Jaguars draft 1 or 2 major playmakers and a couple contributors. What do you expect from the team in ’14?
Á. H:. I don’t expect that the Jaguars will reach the playoffs this season, even though they are a better team now than they were in ’13. I think the division is the Colts to lose in ’14 (if that doesn’t happen, something went really bad in Indy in the offseason) unless they have major injury issues at key positions. The Titans are in a bad situation. They have major questions at QB & RB. They are making a transition on defense and they have only 6 picks. The Jaguars can overtake them in ’14. The team which is the most difficult to predict is the Texans. We don’t know if they take Clowney or a QB with the 1st overall pick. I don’t expect them to make such a turnaround in 1 year like what the Colts and the Chiefs did in ’12 & ’13. However they have more playmakers on the roster compared to the Jaguars and that could be a major factor when the two teams face each other. Also I’d be surprised if they spend their time in such a deep hole as they were last year. So I imagine the Jaguars could finish between 2-4 in the division, but I don’t think they will go higher then 7-9. The realistic goal for the season to produce a better than 4-12 record. They need one more very strong offseason to have realistic playoff dreams.
B & T: Thanks for answering Black & Teal’s questions!
– Zoltan Paksa