If you are in charge of the Jaguars, what would you do?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 02: Tight end T.J. Hockenson of Iowa works out during day three of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 2, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 02: Tight end T.J. Hockenson of Iowa works out during day three of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 2, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Jaguars have multiple needs across their offense that must be addressed in free agency and through the NFL draft.

The number one concern, the number one question, and the number one priority – is a quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars. It has been reported that the team is moving on from Blake Bortles. So, what are the options at quarterback?

Quarterbacks who are expected to be available in free agency – Nick Foles is considered the best available, but he’s not the only free agent with starting experience. Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Brock Osweiler, Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian, Geno Smith, and Tyrod Taylor all have starting experience in the NFL.

Some have significant starting experience. Some were high first-round draft picks. All are no longer starting for their original teams, nor are they starting for their current teams. That includes Foles.

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Let’s assume for the sake of this article that the Jaguars are focused only on Foles. What does he bring to the table? What is his history in the NFL? How successful can the Jaguars expect him to be based on his NFL experience?

In 2012, after being drafted in the third round by Philadelphia, he started the final six games due to an injury to Michael Vick. His record was 1-5. His offensive line was ranked 19th, his running back was LeSean McCoy, and his main wide receiver was DeSean Jackson.

In 2013, he once again started after an injury to Vick, going 8-2 as the starter. The Eagles won the NFC East that year but lost in the Wild Card round. Their offensive line was the number one ranked line that year and McCoy won the NFL rushing title. They also still had Jackson, one of the top wide receivers in the NFL.

That’s worth saying again: the number one offensive line, the number one running back, and one of the top wide receivers….and they lost to a wild card team.

He got his first starting job in 2014, for Philadelphia, where he went 6-2 before being injured in game nine. He once again had a successful offense, with the O-line, ranked second overall, LeSean McCoy again at running back, and Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews as top wide receivers.

He started again in 2015, but this time with the St. Louis Rams. He once again had a top running back, Todd Gurley, wide receivers Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, and Wes Welker, and tight ends Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks. Those are some pretty good weapons. However, his record in 11 starts was 4-7 with the offensive line ranked 28th that year.

In 2016 he was the back-up to Alex Smith in Kansas City and had one win in his only start.

2017 was his magical year – Super Bowl Champion and MVP! He was the backup until Carson Wentz got injured in week 14. Foles started the last three games, going 2-1, and then winning the Super Bowl. His running backs were LeGarrette Blount and his wide receivers were Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery, and Torrey Smith, and his tight ends were Trey Burton and Zach Ertz. Also, the Eagles offensive line was once again ranked number one.

This past season, 2018, he once again backed up Wentz until he got injured. Foles started the last five games going 4-1, with an offensive line ranked fifth, running back Darren Sproles, wide receivers Agholor, Jeffery, Matthews, Golden Tate, and Mike Wallace, and Ertz and Dallas Goedert.

It’s this simple: with top offensive lines, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, Foles has had success. Without them, he has not had success.

Conclusion: Foles is not worth signing to be the starting quarterback. If the Jaguars had offense lines, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends like those Foles had, Bortles would already have at least one ring.

I’m not going to list the histories for the other free agent quarterbacks because you’ll find less success with any of them even when they had better offenses than the Jaguars have had over the last decade.

Now, let’s look at the quarterbacks available in the 2019 NFL draft.

This year’s crop of college quarterbacks has not inspired comparisons to the 1983 draft class or any draft class for that matter. As weak draft classes go, this year’s is competing for all-time weak classes. No quarterback is getting the high praise of quarterbacks in recent drafts. Dwayne Haskins has been mentioned often as the best quarterback in the draft, but he isn’t being compared to anyone from last year’s draft, let alone any of the stronger drafts.

Kyler Murray is getting more comparisons, but mainly because of his smaller height and weight which bring into question his ability to see over the offensive line and work from the pocket or concern for injury from getting hit by NFL lineman and linebackers.

Will Grier, Daniel Jones, and Drew Lock are the others at the top of this year’s class, all of whom have questions attached to them.

Where does that leave us? Without any appealing quarterback options through either free agency or the draft. So what do we do?

Here’s what I would try to do if I was in charge of the Jaguars Player Personnel.

First, the Jaguars have not had a receiving threat that put fear into opposing defenses since Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell. So, with two third-round draft picks this year, I would try to trade my fourth-round pick or one of my two third-round picks, or if necessary my two third-round picks and my fourth-round pick to Pittsburgh for Antonio Brown.

People are worried about him being a diva. I’m not. Here is how he ranked in receptions in the last five years: 1st, 1st, 2nd, 5th, & 6th. He walks into the Jaguars locker room as the undisputed best weapon on the team, and the best wide receiver on the Jaguars in the last fifteen years. He’s proven he can get open and actually catch the ball.

If I can make that trade then I’m focused on offensive line and tight end. This year’s tight end class isn’t as deep as last year’s, where the Jaguars should have made their pick instead of drafting defensive lineman Taven Bryan. When they picked Bryan only one of the tight ends had been drafted, leaving four or five top tight ends available to them.

In this year’s draft T.J. Hockenson is getting a lot of attention, and he might not be the best tight end on his team. He and Iowa teammate Noah Fant, along with Alabama tight end Irv Smith are considered the top prospects in this year’s draft. There’s a slight drop off to the next level of players, so I would look at one of those three.

The offensive line is the highest priority, in my opinion, followed closely by the tight end position.

Depending on how the personnel grade out is how I would be picking. The offensive line appears to be deeper than tight end, so it’s quite possible that a quality O-lineman can be had in round two, and maybe round three. Cam Robinson was the Jaguars second-round pick in the 2017 draft. I would grade out the lineman and tight ends and see which position has the biggest drop off in grades.

I believe the drop off is more significant at tight end, so I’m picking Hockenson and go o-line in round two. Since the focus for the O-line is the right side, round two seems like the spot with Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor and Kansas State tackle Dalton Risner being the top prospects.

If I’m looking at the right side of the O-line as my first priority, I try to trade back to the middle of the first round and get more draft picks. Then I keep to my plan of O-line/TE with my first two picks.

With my third round pick, I’m absolutely going with the best available player regardless of position, and I’m hoping that position is a wide receiver. If not, I want to go back to either line.

The Jaguars are not going to have an injury-free season like they had in 2017, but neither will they be decimated like they were in 2018. Give me Brown and these draft picks. There may be some free agent signings for depth, but otherwise, the roster would be set.

Next. What signing Nick Foles would mean for the Jaguars. dark

And they don’t have concerns about the salary cap hits that they will if they make the moves that are rumored to be in the works.