COMMENTARY – Ask most Jacksonville Jaguars fans what they thought of the NFL Draft last week, and they will tell you things did not go the way they had hoped.
There was plenty of emphasis put on finding a future replacement for quarterback Blake Bortles, they wanted to see more help for the offensive line, and as one of my friends told me, the tight end position is still one of concern.
This draft class has more to do with planning for the future then it does finding a starter for the 2018 season. Taven Bryan, the big defensive tackle from Florida was too good to pass up DJ Chark, could see plenty of time in the wide receiver rotation. They were additions to the offensive line and secondary. But no one player jumps out as an immediate starter. Yes, the team drafted Tanner Lee out of Nebraska in the sixth round, but he won’t make anyone clamor for him to replace Bortles any time soon.
Believe it or not, it’s OK. As a couple of draft analysts pointed out, Jacksonville Jaguars had a loaded roster. Finding complementary components is necessary to maintain a winning franchise. Ask New England, Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Seattle how they have sustained success over the years.
By not grabbing one of the top quarterback prospects in the first three rounds, especially when Mason Rudolph was available, it shows the Jacksonville Jaguars are still committed to Bortles for this year and the foreseeable future. That may change heading into 2019 with free agency and a draft class that includes Ryan Lindley of North Carolina State.
At this time last year, the city of Jacksonville was lauding executive vice President Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell for their shrewd moves in adding key starters in free agency and drafting players that will impact the team’s playoff run in 2018.
NFL pundits and fans will need to trust in the process once again. If Coughlin, Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone knew what they were doing at the start of training camp last year, what makes anybody think they don’t know what they’re doing now?
Expect the Jaguars to scour the waiver wire once training camp begins. A veteran or two figures to be released, which could benefit the team at linebacker or tackle. There could also be a tight end on the team’s radar before the start of the regular season.
For everything that Jaguars have done to fill issues with depth, this is still a team considered a playoff contender and possibly Super Bowl spoiler.