Jacksonville Jaguars: Is this GM David Caldwell’s last chance?

Team general manager David Caldwell (L) chats with Shahid Khan, the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Team general manager David Caldwell (L) chats with Shahid Khan, the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

In what will be his eighth season as general manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars, is this the last time David Caldwell has a chance to make an impression?

Coming into his eighth season as the Jacksonville Jaguars general manager, David Caldwell has been all over the board with hits and misses. Now, as he returns to the captain of the war room in just two weeks, the NFL Draft takes on even more importance for Caldwell and the Jaguars’ front office.

This could be the draft that either sends Caldwell packing after this coming season or it could be the one that helps him land on his feet and allows him to finish out his contract through the 2021 season.

For the fans who have a love-hate relationship with the front office, namely Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone, these next two weeks of preparation mean everything. Amid all the issues related to COVID-19 and the virtual draft that is about to take place, can Caldwell make the right decisions, push the right buttons and give this franchise a bit of adrenaline in a very tough situation?

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There have been 53 players drafted during Caldwell’s tenure. Six players have made the Pro Bowl  (Josh Allen, D.J. Chark, Yannick Ngakoue, Jalen Ramsey, Allen Robinson, Telvin Smith) per NFL.com. And there have been players we have wanted to forget – like the 2013 draft class. After a great class in 2019, which included Allen, Gardner Minshew and Jawaan Taylor, there is still room for improvement as the scouting team has to hit all their marks to find success in 2020.

"“Caldwell has tried to fill a need with the best player available — and in doing so, he targets players who fill the height, weight and speed requirements for the position, along with having good character and being coachable,” Charley Casserly of NFL.com wrote.“The Jags won’t ignore the best available player on the board, even if they don’t immediately need the position. Look at last year’s draft: The Jags took DE Josh Allen in the first round when they already had two great DEs in Ngakoue and Calais Campbell. They then selected RT Jawaan Taylor in the second round to fill a need.”"

This is a season where the “best player available” applies to all 12 of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ draft picks. There are too many holes that haven’t been filled and the franchise cannot rely on Caldwell to plug every opening with a player via the Draft or the ones he signed in free agency.

According to Casserly, Caldwell’s best value pick was Yannick Ngakoue, who ironically appears to be on his way out of town. His best overall pick was Jalen Ramsey, who was traded this past season over lots of controversy and plenty of disagreements with management since the time he set foot on the grass at TIAA Bank Field.

"“The lone All-Pro drafted in the Caldwell era, Ramsey is a true CB1 who dominates every time he steps on the field,” said Casserly. “There’s been a clear void in Jacksonville since Ramsey was traded midway through 2019.”"

If the Jaguars and Caldwell play their cards right, many positional needs will be filled over the three-night affair starting April 23. If he can show that the players he drafts will impact the team immediately like last season, it helps his chances of staying past 2020. If not, this could be the last time the general manager will fill that capacity in the Jacksonville Jaguars front office.

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