NFL Draft 2014: Jaguars Look Towards the Future


January 1,2013; Tampa, FL, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) against the Michigan Wolverines during the second half of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Michigan Wolverines 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The past couple of weeks have shown us a sign of things to come. First, the Jaguars did NOT draft their Quarterback of the future in 2013. Signing a couple of QB competitors in Draft Free Agency is hardly the future of Jacksonville. A few days later, Justin Blackmon gets suspended for four games to start the season off on the wrong foot. Then the news comes out that Blaine Gabbert will be given every oppurtunity to prove that he’s the future of the organization. All of these headlines scream one thing, “High First Round Selection”. The new regime isn’t looking at building a team just for next season, but building a team for many seasons to come. So with that, let’s look into the future and see who the Jaguars might be picking.

Jadeveon Clowney, DE South Carolina: (2012- 54 Tackles/13 Sacks/3Forced Fumbles) If you haven’t seen the hit he put on Michigan’s Vincent Smith, you must be living under a rock. He was the top recruit coming out of High School and will be the best player coming out of College. He’s been labeled the “Andrew Luck of defensive players” and a player of his caliber only comes along once every 10 – 15 years. He’s dominated the past two years in the SEC and he’s not even remotly close to reaching his full potential. Regardless of how bad the Jaguars need a Franchise QB, Clowney is a player you don’t pass on and will give Luck, Locker & Co. nightmares for years to come.

Johnny Manziel, QB Texas A&M: (2012- Passing 3706/26TD/9Int, Rushing 1410/21TD) Johnny Football reminds me of the QB play of Drew Brees and the athletisism of Cam Newton. Watching him is like watching a video game. People will pick him apart, looking for any kind of flaw. Too short, doesn’t go through all his reads, not an “NFL Quarterback”. News Flash, there’s a new NFL and a new NFL quarterback. Just look at what RG3, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson accomplished last year. Taking Manziel and pairing him with his favorite Left Tackle in Luke Joeckel and you’ve got a recipe to turn the AFC South upside down.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB Louisville: (2012- Passing 3718/27TD/8Int, Rushing 26/1TD) Teddy Bridewater plays with the type of swagger you see in Aaron Rodgers and Joe Flacco. Not cocky or arrogant, but calm and collected. He plays with confidence in his abilites and plays with brains before brawn. He reminded people that Louisville is something more than a basketball power house. NFL size, smarts, accurate and can use his wheels to get out of trouble. He also picks defenses apart before the ball is snapped. As long he keeps it up, there’s no reason he won’t be in the conversation for the #1 pick.

With the way things are lining up, I just don’t see the Jags picking outside of the top three next year. If Gabbert makes vast improvments, then great. If not, then even better. Next year’s class will have “Elite” talent at various positions. Example, taking Clowney at #1 you’d still be able to grab someone like A.J. McCarron or Aaron Murray at the top of the second round. Both of which would have gone before any QB this year IMO. I’m looking forward to a bright future in Jacksonville and them contending in the next 3-4 years.

-Jason Abarca