Out of the Box: Is Caldwell the Jaguars MVP?
Is the Jaguars’ MVP someone who doesn’t even put on a helmet?
The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to contend for a playoff berth this year. When was the last time you heard that?
Many will point to Blake Bortles as the key to this, others will highlight the young and explosive receiving corps. Perhaps it is the new two-headed monster in the backfield? What about the revamped defensive line and secondary and exciting young (except for Poz) linebacker group?
This roster is virtually unrecognizable from the one that trotted out for Game 1 of the 2013 season and the recognition of the quality of individual players as well as collectively signals that what brings Jacksonville to this position of optimism and legitimate competitive status is the quality of the roster.
This all rests on the shoulders of general manager Dave Caldwell and his front office staff.
The Jaguars bumbled through a poor stint with Gene Smith and James Harris manning the key positions in the front office and is no surprise that both the quality of the roster, the and the win-loss record was deplorable.
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Caldwell and his scouts have overseen, without doubt, the best drafts in Jaguars history. The last three years alone has brought Bortles, Robinson, Smith, Colvin, Linder, Yeldon, Ramsey, Jack, Sample, Greene and more. That isn’t even counting unearthing Allen Hurns.
For a long time the Jaguars were unable to attract talented Free Agents to Duval, despite having the cap space. But for the past two off-seasons the club has arguably signed the top rated signee – Julius Thomas in 2015 and then Malik Jackson this past offseason, along with other players expected to contribute plenty in 2016 – Tashaun Gipson, Chris Ivory, Kelvin Beachum, Prince Amukamara, Davon House, Jermey Parnell.
Jacksonville is a factor nationally and the mentions on NFL.com alone have grown exponentially in the last 6 months. You could make a claim that owner Shahid Khan is the man who has brought prominence to Jaguars football. But in this case I go with Caldwell.
"Crunch time appears this September for Caldwell as he has yet to win enough games on the field. It will be up to his impressively remodeled roster with large helpings of pressure on head coach Gus Bradley."
One thing is for sure – Bradley wouldn’t be in with a shot to cement his job without the strength of the roster that is going to run out in teal this September. For this reason, Dave Caldwell gets a tip of the hat and my MVP vote.