The position of general manager is one of the most unforgiving in all of sports. GM’s generally get 2 to 3 years to turn a franchise around before they get the axe, and that means stockpiling wins immediately.
Fortunately for us, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan publicly proclaimed the patience he needed to have when he hired current general manager David Caldwell to fix the historically awful mess left by Gene Smith. The team was bereft of talent, resembling an expansion team. Years of wasted first round picks meant Caldwell needed to start from scratch and it would be a few years before the team was in playoff contention again.
Two years and 7 wins later, it’s time to start taking stock of what Caldwell has done. While some people have bought into Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley’s vision, other remain hesitant. Patrick Daugherty over at Rotoworld recently ranked all 32 GMs in the NFL, and he slotted Caldwell at number 22.
"22. David Caldwell, JaguarsLast Year’s Ranking: 19The guy before David Caldwell brought Blaine Gabbert into the NFL world. He used a third-round pick on a punter. Suffice to say, there were roster issues when Caldwell took over. Suffice to say, he’s yet to fill them. Caldwell hasn’t been afraid to think big. He traded away a perfectly-good left tackle in Eugene Monroe to make way for Luke Joeckel, and used the No. 3 overall pick of last year’s draft on potential franchise quarterback Blake Bortles. The problem is that Caldwell’s big gambles have yet to reveal themselves as shrewd. Joeckel has been a mess through 21 NFL starts, while Bortles resembled Jake Locker 2.0 as a rookie. Caldwell’s two biggest decisions as general manager could derail the latest Next Generation of Jaguars Football before it even gets started. Caldwell has stockpiled talent at receiver, but had two underwhelming draft and free-agent classes. Lavishing $24 million guaranteed on Julius Thomas and his injury history was one of the biggest risks of the spring. Caldwell has gone big. Now he’s hoping it doesn’t turn into “go home.”"
Considering Daugherty really only ranked 26 of the GMs, this is pretty low in my opinion. While the wins aren’t there yet, I don’t think you’ll find anyone who doesn’t think the Jaguars are significantly more talented than they were 2 years ago. The team played upwards of 8 rookies at a time on offense last year, and they did so under a lame duck offensive coordinator who was shown the door at the end of the year. The team has progressively gone from consistent blowouts to competitive play against playoff caliber opponents.
To be frank, it’s hard to take the rankings entirely seriously, when Ryan Grigson of the Colts is ranked 11th almost entirely on the “merit” of Andrew Luck falling into his lap.
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