Jaguars GM Trent Baalke got interesting spot in NFL Media ranking
General manager Trent Baalke has restocked the Jacksonville Jaguars' roster over the last two years and is a big reason they reached the playoffs and won the AFC South last season. Yet, that wasn't nearly enough to get him a favorable spot in a recent power ranking.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL Media recently ranked all 32 general managers and placed Baalke at No. 20, noting that he would've gotten a higher spot if it weren't for all the misses he's had throughout his career.
"Baalke's entire career going back to San Francisco has been marked by massive swings in fortune in both directions, including plenty of good times. If Baalke were only judged on last year -- ignoring all things during the Meyer debacle -- he'd be ranked higher."
Rosenthal took into account every general manager's success rate throughout their respective careers, so Baalke's spot might seem fair at first. However, Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts) and Joe Douglas (New York Jets) don't have a particularly great track record and were both ranked higher than Baalke.
No general manager has a perfect track record of acquiring players and Baalke certainly has his fair share of misses. However, he's revamped the Jaguars' roster the last two years. Leaving aside Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville found several playmakers in the 2021 draft, including running back Travis Etienne, cornerback Tyson Campbell, safety Andre Cisco, and offensive tackle Walker Little, who will tentatively start at right tackle in 2023.
Baalke wasn't done acquiring talent though. He made good use of the surplus of cap space the Jags had last year and signed Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Foyesade Oluokun, Folorunso Fatukasi, Darious Williams, Evan Engram, and Brandon Scherff in free agency. All of them played a key role during the team's playoff push late in the season.
On the other hand, the jury is still out on the Jags' 2022 draft class. So far, center Luke Fortner is the only one from the group that has really stood out. Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd will have to make strides in Year 2 in order for Baalke to get a passing grade.
GM Trent Baalke has the Jacksonville Jaguars in a position to compete in 2023
One of the biggest criticism surrounding Baalke is his less-than-stellar reputation around the league but that doesn't seem to have affected his performance with the Jaguars. Perhaps he's difficult to work with or maybe his communication skills aren't the best, but does that matter if he gets the job done?
Make no mistake, if Baalke was misusing his power or abusing his staff, he should be under scrutiny but that doesn't seem to be the case. Moreover, his relationship with both owner Shad Khan and head coach Doug Pederson looks just fine, at least from an outside perspective.
Baalke's biggest challenge yet will be the hit it out of the ballpark in this year's draft. The Jaguars already have a roster stacked with talent but many of their position groups could benefit from a boost. If Baalke manages to find a few playmakers in the draft, the team's chances of making a deep playoff run will increase considerably.
The bottom line is that Baalke isn't a top 10 general manager but he's done enough to be ranked higher than 20th. Maybe 17th? 16th? While it doesn't look like much of a difference, it's better to be in the top half of the league rather than the bottom one, right?