There are a little less than five hours until the NFL Draft.
I just had to say that.
With rumors swirling about players soaring up draft boards. Furthermore, the build continues that the Jacksonville Jaguars may take Deshaun Watson with the fourth pick tonight. Hence, everything here in town could change.
The player on Jacksonville’s roster affected most by tonight is quarterback Blake Bortles.
Despite the fact, general manager David Caldwell told the media at the Senior Bowl he believes this organization can win a Super Bowl with Number 5 behind center. The jury has not reached a verdict yetT
After the selection process ends this weekend, the wait to find out whether the team picks up his fifth-year option begins. Should the Jaguars make Watson their first-round pick? Or, if they select a passer in the first three rounds, the message is clear. Head coach Doug Marrone and executive vice president Tom Coughlin have other thoughts about this team’s future.
“The player the team drafted No. 3 overall in 2014 is at a career crossroads. Bortles set single-season franchise records in passing yards (4,428) and passing touchdowns (35) in 2015, but he really struggled in 2016. His mechanics were a mess, and he conceded he was essentially a basket case by the end of the season,” writes Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com.
“Jaguars coach Gus Bradley was fired and Marrone and Coughlin were hired. Owner Shad Khan gave Coughlin total control over football decisions, and Coughlin has not exactly given Bortles a ringing endorsement. GM Dave Caldwell is still a big Bortles supporter, which is understandable considering he was the one who drafted Bortles.”
When Caldwell was hired to replace Gene Smith and tabbed Bradley as the team’s new head coach, fans, and the media knew it was only a matter of time before this organization found another signal caller. The Blaine Gabbert experiment failed. Chad Henne is a serviceable backup. Bortles looked the part but had flaws the organization thought they could correct.
This is year four of waiting and hoping.
I have learned over the years when it comes to the NFL Draft to read everything and believe nothing. Everything is a gamble – what is said, what is written. I am just as guilty of the process. But in this case, I stand with Caldwell. As for his thinking a better running game and more improvements on the offensive line help Blake Bortles. Also, consistency with a coordinator and a head coach whose mentality is an 180-degree shift from what he has been used to.
While Blake Bortles has to show improvement and change, so does this organization. While it is easy to point to poor decision making by No. 5, by the same token play calling at times last year left all of us scratching our heads.
“Marrone is the new sheriff in town – with Coughlin having the final say on every move this team makes.
Whether it’s Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky or Patrick Mahomes, their selection on Thursday or Friday by the Jaguars would signal the end of Bortles’ tenure in Jacksonville,” adds DiRocco.
“That scenario would be a clear indication the team does not believe Bortles is the long-term answer at the position, so there would be no reason to keep him around.”
And to ask him to come in and play, knowing he is not the long-term solution for this organization would be a huge slap in the face.