Will the Jaguars still take a QB in the NFL Draft?
By David Levin
Even though the Jacksonville Jaguars have signed free-agent quarterback Nick Foles this offseason, will the front office take a quarterback in the NFL Draft?
Ask most draft experts if they think the Jacksonville Jaguars will select a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft and almost all of them will tell you that ship has sailed. But since the team has not come out publically and stated it is not a consideration, there is always this sliver of a chance it still could happen.
When the question was presented to Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars Executive vice-president of Football Operations, the day the team announced it had formally signed Nick Foles to a 4-year, $88-million deal, he did not rule it out. It might Coughlin’s way of not showing the team’s cards for draft night, but at some point, this is a franchise that might select a quarterback to groom for the future.
At what point does Jacksonville make that move? If you go by past history, the most successful signal caller drafted by the Jaguars is David Garrard, taken in the fourth round in 2002 out of East Carolina. Byron Leftwich, Blaine Gabbert, and Blake Bortles were all taken in the first round and all failed to deliver consistent football for this franchise.
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So, if Jacksonville is sitting there with the seventh pick on Draft night and Dwayne Haskins is still on the board, but so is Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson and Jawaan Taylor of Florida or Washington State’s Andre Dillard, what does Coughlin and the staff inside the war room do?
I think Jacksonville becomes the most intriguing team in the top 10 because the franchise still has needs on the offensive side of the ball and could still take a premier pass rusher is one falls to them. There are a few other considerations to be made here as well.
Foles is 30 years old. He is not a young star but still may have his best football ahead of him. Cody Kessler is the backup. He is average at best and took a pounding last season as a starter and backup.
You don’t know what you have with Alex McGough, who signed a futures deal this offseason. I have little hope for Tanner Lee making the 53-man roster. Kessler may be on the roster by virtue of his contract, which will pay him a little over $900,000 this year, according to spotrac.com.
Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, when discussing the pros and cons of draft picks for the franchise, offers this up about taking Haskins, even with the committing so much money to Foles this offseason.
"“There’s a good argument for the Jaguars to take him and let him learn and develop under Nick Foles for the next few seasons, DiRocco explains.“Haskins, who is similar to Foles in that he’s a pocket passer and not a scrambler, would theoretically be ready to step into a starting spot in two years. The Jaguars wouldn’t be reaching in the draft if they took him, and with the rookie wage scale, it’s not a problem financially to carry both of them on the roster, either.”"
Haskins should be the second quarterback off the board in the first round, although there is plenty of talk about the New York Giants may look at Drew Lock of Missouri with the sixth pick or look to grab Daniel Jones of Duke with the 17th pick in the first round, acquired when the team sent Odell Beckham, Jr. to Cleveland.
Foles does not have the same kind of weapons in Jacksonville that he did in Philadelphia. That does not automatically mean he will fail in North Florida. While over $50 million is a guaranteed investment from the Jaguars, it does not mean the team still won’t look to solidify the position for the future.