More Than A Chance
By Lionel Joel
With the number two overall draft pick this year, the Jacksonville Jaguars should draft Chance Warmack, guard from Alabama. It has been said that guards rarely have high overall value. Brian Jozwiak was drafted seventh overall in 1986 by the Kansas City Chiefs, the highest a guard has been drafted in the last 30 years.
The conventional thought process is that to warrant top ten or fifteen value the player must directly affect touchdowns, either scoring or preventing them. This means quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, defensive ends, and defensive backs. For reasons I cannot justify, tackles are the only offensive linemen included in this group. Sure they protect the quarterback from edge rushers, but a block is a block and getting a consistent interior push that springs a running back free for six points should count for something.
Many people talked about the MVP of the recent playoffs being the Ravens’ offensive line. Because they came together at the right time, Joe Flacco had more time in the pocket and their running backs, including Ray Rice, had extra space to operate. The Ravens were able to maneuver their way through a very tough playoff schedule, including road games at Denver and New England, en route to a world championship because of impressive, consistent offensive line play. No matter how good a team’s quarterback is or how smothering their defense is, a confident and consistent offensive line is the most important piece of a winning franchise.
With seemingly everyone harping about having a great rush or getting to the passer, I think the Jaguars should focus on cementing a dominant offensive line. We have Eugene Monroe anchoring our line at left tackle. Outside of #75, the Jags’ o-line has been a rotating door of nobodys and disappointments. Eben Britton was a bust and no other lineman has performed well enough to garner any long term confidence from the franchise. That being said, Chance Warmack is the type of player that would add stability and leadership to an area of the Jaguars that needs it very much.
Warmack played for Nick Saban at Alabama, where NFL-ready talent pours out every year. He has performed in dominating fashion in the last two national championships. He is used to major exposure and playing against other NFL-ready talent on a regular basis down in the SEC. Mike Maylock of the NFL Network said he has the talent to go number one overall. CBS Sports has Warmack ranked as the number two overall prospect. He started 40 games in the SEC and has no history of injury. In my opinion, drafting Chance Warmack is a no-brainer for the Jaguars.
The Jacksonville Jaguars do not need to draft ticket-sellers. Justin Blackmon was that last year. The new blood coursing through the organization from the front office to the coaching staff, paired with the new logo and proposed video boards, should also energize the fan base. Everyone is sick of what will sell tickets because deep down we all know that only winning will sell tickets. If the Jaguars want to win on a long term basis, they should restructure the roster from the interior outwards by drafting a can’t-miss talent like Chance Warmack.