Thank God the draft is only a few days away. I don’t know about you, but I still have no idea who the Jaguars take at #3. Teddy? Sammy? Clowney? Mack? Bortles? Manziel? Do they trade down? Do they trade up? Does Roger Goodell bear hug or do the Yeet? Does he bring the Duggie back?
One guy who does know is the Jaguars General Manager. Dave Caldwell seems to know exactly what he’s doing.
He also seems to be having fun and is doing so at the media’s expense. In a recent radio interview, Caldwell jokingly acknowledged the fact that even though the hosts wanted him to let something slip, they knew he wasn’t. He told them that he didn’t want to lie, and that if he didn’t say anything it’s because of that. He didn’t sound like a man working to rebuild quite arguably the worst roster in the NFL. No, he sounded like a man coming off of a deep playoff run or a Superbowl win. He sounded in complete control. And he should. 11-picks, a spot at the top of the draft where, even if the ‘top prospect’ is off the board, the next man up isn’t going to anger the mobs if the Jaguars select him. When asked what would surprise him, he said “If a punter or kicker is picked”. Point: Caldwell.
Jaguar fans know this is nothing new. Dave Caldwell has been the same guy from day-one.
When I was still an undergrad at Jacksonville University, I somehow kept getting away with telling my teachers that I had to cover Jaguar press conferences because we needed the content, (and not because I was a fan). It helped that I had a few connections at Everbank Field, when Shad Khan formally introduced Caldwell to the media and the world. I remember standing around the Touch Down Club, asking and being asked how long it would take for a certain quarterback’s name to be brought up. Leave it to Vito. Since, “Even if he’s released” was spoken, and repeated, we knew this guy was different. He’s never drifted from the narrative he’s carved out.
The question about selling tickets seems to come up with national media folks, and again Caldwell just did what he does. When that topic came up in that same radio interview, Caldwell said his staff sticks to football matters and that Mark Lamping sticks to marketing and business. I’m paraphrasing of course.
This year, I think we really get to find out what Dave Caldwell is all about. Every time I’ve heard him speak about the draft and the various prospects that come up, he does this thing where, when he speaks, you can’t decide whether he’s being brutally honest or whether it’s all a big smoke screen.
I couldn’t help but laugh as I scrolled through twitter reading all of the feeds from the Jacksonville Media during the pre-draft presser at Everbank Field. In one sentence he tells them the majority of the Quarterbacks in this year’s class aren’t quite ready to start, and in another sentence says Manziel could start. Did Dave Caldwell just put a smoke screen over a smoke screen? Was he endorsing Manziel or was he simply saying that he sucked the least? Was he baiting other teams to prematurely jump up to #3? Maybe. Maybe not. In the pre-draft press conference he said the Jaguars have known for the last week what they’re going to do at #3.
I think he’s known since February. Who do they pick? Do they trade down? Up? Sideways? We’ll find out on Thursday. Thank God.