Jaguars GM Trent Baalke deemed not good enough in recent NFL general manager ranking
By Beau Adams
General manager Trent Baalke played a pivotal role in the Jacksonville Jaguars rise in the AFC South in his second year. He took the Jags from last place in the NFL to their first playoff appearance since 2017. He did this despite having three head coaches in his two years.
However, Patrick Daugherty of NBC Sports ranked all 32 NFL general managers from first to worst and Baalke did not fare well.
On Daugherty's "Rotopat's 2023 NFL GM Rankings" list, Baalke falls to No. 22, below average and top ten worst. With the Titans general manager, Ran Carthon, unranked and Colts’ Chris Ballard coming at No. 17, Baalke is second from last in the AFC South. Only behind the Houston Texans' Nick Caserio, who finished last on the list. So let's look at what Daugherty had to say about Jacksonville's Trent Baalke.
"A second chance that seemed bound to go poorly, Trent Baalke indeed found himself dead to rights when Urban Meyer flamed out after only 13 games. Instead of a pink slip, Baalke was handed a new lease on life. Owner Shad Khan hiring Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson to replace Meyer was important. Even more consequential for Baalke was the blank check he was handed in free agency. Although initially maligned for his Christian Kirk/Evan Engram/Zay Jones/RG Brandon Scherff/LB Foyesade Oluokun/DT Foley Fatukasi/CB Darious Williams spending spree, Baalke ended up buying the core of a division winner, one that improved from 3-14 to 9-8."- Patrick Daughtery
Daughtery then points out that Baalke's spending spree was only possible because Trevor Lawrence is still playing on his rookie deal. He then adds that Baalke must avoid the horrible drafting and "infighting" that defined the second half of his stint with the San Francisco 49ers.
Jaguars GM Trent Baalke deserved a higher spot on the list for his work last year
To be fair, Baalke's free agent spending spree did pan out, besides the looming contract issue with Engram. In addition, his first draft pick as general manager Trevor Lawrence may define the franchise, and the expectation for the team Baalke has assembled couldn't be higher.
The draft issues in San Francisco concern me. I was very vocal about Baalkes drafts in 2022 with drafting Travon Walker over Aidan Hutchinson. Then again, when he passed on a sure-fire legend in Notre Dame tight end, Michael Mayer, only to stockpile late-round picks. My only rationale is Baalke was trying to re-stock the practice squad. But none of that was mentioned by Daugherty.
Trevor Lawrence was always going to be a hit, He didn't have to make that pick. That was a consensus pick, so I can't give him credit for that one. On the other hand, the jury is still out on Tyson Campbell and Walker Little. They both still have time to work out, but Jackson Carman and Asante Samuel Jr. we’re obvious and seem like the better picks at this point. Additionally, I'm afraid I have to disagree with any other selections in the first three rounds Baalke has made.
Expectations are nearing unrealistic proportions for the Jaguars this season, and 2023 will indeed be the ultimate test for Baalke. He will either prove Daughtery wrong and move up the list, or he could potentially enter the 2024 offseason on the hot seat.