The Jacksonville Jaguars are 1-1 to start the season, and after just two games, it is difficult to tell what their potential is. After dominating the Houston Texans in Week 1, the Jaguars looked like they could be the 10-6 team I predicted them to be at the beginning of July. In Week 2, however, the Titans were far too much for the Jaguars, and Blake Bortles turned the ball over too many times. The Week 1 victory was a nice surprise, as Houston was believed to be a quality team this season. The Week 2 hurt morale, but many analysts believed the Titans were going to be an improved team this year.
I predicted the Jaguars to win Week 1 and lose Week 2, so if my predictions hold true, fans can be excited about a close win against the Ravens next week. The Ravens have a great defense, but the Jaguars also have a strong defense this season. The Jaguars defense, especially the pass rush, has been extremely effective this season.
Though a victory in Week 3 would result in a 2-1 record on the season, it still would not rid Jacksonville of their glaring weakness, a starting quarterback. If the Jaguars make the playoffs, it almost certainly will not be due to Bortles. The Jaguars need a replacement for Bortles, and the upcoming draft class has many different options at quarterback.
Depending on their record, the Jaguars will either have a top-five pick or a mid-first round pick. To get a top quarterback, the Jaguars will likely need to trade a few draft picks or a package of players and picks in order to secure one of the top picks. Realistically, the Jaguars will likely finish somewhere between the tenth and fifteenth picks. Based on their place in the draft and the amount of compensation needed to move from the middle of the first round to the first or second pick, Jacksonville would likely need to give up this year’s first rounder, another first rounder, and maybe another pick or player.
The Houston Texans were able to draft Deshaun Watson with the 12th pick, but the Jaguars would need one of the top three picks to get quarterbacks like Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, or Josh Allen. Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph may be selected in the first or second round, but they will not be a top-five selection in the upcoming draft.
Is Jacksonville desperate enough to mortgage their future for a rookie quarterback? Darnold, Rosen and the other collegiate quarterbacks mentioned above have high potentials, but should the Jaguars jeopardize valuable assets to improve at one position when they could simply build their squad around the run game and a stalwart defense bolstered by more top picks? This is the greatest question within the Jacksonville’s front office.
The Jaguars should attempt to land the first or second pick next year. It’s extremely difficult to be an elite team without a top-10 quarterback, and Jacksonville won’t have one unless they are aggressive. It is extremely risky, but Jacksonville’s current roster could contend if the quarterback play wasn’t limiting their potential. Sam Darnold is said to be an extremely promising prospect. If Jacksonville could trade for the top pick, select Darnold, and he becomes a star, sacrificing additional draft picks won’t be painful, or even remembered. However, if Darnold would flop, then the Jaguars would be no better off than they are now with Bortles. Still, the chance to win Jacksonville its first championship is worth the risk.
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