And let the 2011 Draft dead horse beating begin! Over the next few months, the Jaguars will be facing a compelling question with the draft. Should they take a QB in Round 1, or wait until Round 2 and take a player at a seemingly more pressing position.
Those who support the latter position cite the fact that David Garrard is still a decent option at QB, the secondary needs too many more pieces, and that other QBs could be available in the 2nd round. However, I say the Jaguars should take a QB in the first round, and perhaps should trade up to make sure it happens.
Let’s talk about David Garrard first. Supporters will point to the fact he threw for a franchise record 23 touchdowns and statistically had one of his best years ever. However, let’s look away from the box score and what we actually saw on the field. It was another year of David begin hot and cold, and going cold when the Jaguars needed him the most.
I’ve been criticized for comparing Jaguar fans’ relationship with David Garrard as akin to Stockholm syndrome, but how is it not? Garrard is not, and never will be, a great NFL QB. The Jaguars were 2-8 in games when the QB threw more than 22 passes. Just because he does just enough, it does not validate him as a NFL QB.
The defense does have plenty of needs, that is true. However, the current free agent crop is one of the most impressive in NFL history. Linebackers such as Chad Greenway and Barrett Ruud would become immediate starters in Jacksonville. Saftey Eric Weddle, CB Champ Bailey, and now Nnamdi Asomugha headline a stellar crop of defensive backs.
The Jaguars showed last year by signing Aaron Kampman that they are more than willing to sign a big time free agent when it made sense. I think they could grab one or two of these kind of players and immediately bring the defense up to par.
The other reason people are giving is that the Jaguars could be able to get a quality QB in the 2nd round. The current bandwagon favorite is TCU QB Andy Dalton. Nevermind that Dalton is considered a mid-late round pick by most draftniks (Yeah, I know how reliable that can be), but why should the Jaguars settle for a potential lesser QB?
Every study on the subject shows that taking QBs in the first round is the best way to ensure success. Do gems like Tom Brady occasionally show up? Yes, but few and far between. Even a 2nd round pick QB like Drew Brees is something of an aberration with his success.
If the Jaguars value Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, or Ryan Mallett that much higher than any other QB in the draft, then what is the point of saying the Jaguars want to have their QB of the future?
Whoever the Jaguars select at QB will be tasked with taking the franchise back to the playoffs, and make sure the team stayed in Northeast Florida. Would an Andy Dalton or Christian Ponder be up to that task? I think not.