Despite a few hits in recent seasons, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been an overall failure in terms of drafting stars in the last five years.
When general manager David Caldwell took over the front office duties in 2013, the Jacksonville Jaguars had perhaps the most talent-poor roster in the NFL.
Consequently, the Jaguars have had poor records and finished high draft slots over the past 5 seasons. Generally, selecting players at the top of the draft yields a superstar or two when you get that many chances. Unfortunately, the Jaguars haven’t had the best hit rate.
Josh Liskiewitz over at Pro Football Focus recently put out an interesting piece centered around the five-year success of every team in the draft. Unsurprisingly, the Jaguars rank relatively low.
"23. Jacksonville JaguarsThe Jaguars are quietly beginning to accumulate a wide array of young and talented players throughout the roster, with the best to this point likely being CB Jalen Ramsey. As a rookie last year, Ramsey end the season on fire by posting 10 total passes defended without a touchdown against in the final five games of the season."
Now to be fair, the Jaguars do have quite a few intriguing players from their draft classes over the last few years, but not at the most important positions. The rankings here were primarily derived from a statistic called WAR (Wins Above Replacement), and this metric weights the importance of the position heavily.
"We computed WAR for each player drafted while they were with their drafting team, and summed these numbers for each team from the years 2012 to 2016…Since the passing game is the most predictive of team success, the players with the largest WAR are quarterbacks, receivers, defensive backs, linebackers with substantial coverage responsibilities and elite pass-rushers."
So at quarterback (Blake Bortles) and pass rusher (Dante Fowler Jr.), the Jaguars haven’t had the most success in terms of drafting blue chip players. But at receiver (Allen Robinson) and defensive back (Jalen Ramsey), they’ve had moderate success.
The real sticking point here is the “wins” part of the WAR metric – the Jaguars haven’t won many games so in reality they should be even lower in these rankings. Most analysts have lauded the team for the talent they’ve acquired in the draft, but it hasn’t translated explicitly to success in the win-loss column.
Part of that has to do with the industrial-draft-complex and the overzealous coverage of all things NFL, but it also is an indictment on the awful coaching the team has had over the last few years.
Things may change under Doug Marrone, but we won’t know until the regular season begins.