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Debate over what Jaguars might do early in NFL Draft heats up

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Super Bowl 53 is in the books, everyone turns their attention to the offseason and most prominently, the NFL Draft. That’s no different in North Florida, where the Jaguars are anxious to re-tool their team and get back to the winning ways of 2017, if possible.

And while it’s a foregone conclusion that quarterback Blake Bortles is going to be gone, it’s not clear what Jacksonville will or won’t do with their seventh overall pick?

That would include whether they are seriously going to consider taking a risk on a young quarterback once again, like they did with Bortles in 2014?

Our colleagues at TheDraftNetwork.com, who do a fantastic job 12 months out of the year of covering this process, released their latest mock of the first-round Monday coming off of the Super Bowl.

 

And, their educated guesswork does have Jacksonville taking Oklahoma Heisman winning quarterback Kyler Murray with that number 7 pick.

And, further, while that is a juicy and compelling take, it’s really not based in reality and it’s also hampered by two big factors that are unknowns, right now.

First, VP of football Tom Coughlin and Coach Doug Marrone are big on play-action passing and a quarterback who stands in the pocket and throws the ball vertically down the field. That’s not Murray’s game.

It should also be pointed out that the Jaguars had opportunities over the last couple of drafts with Coughlin and charge and Marrone as the coach, to take the more mobile 2010s version of a quarterback with guys like Deshaun Watson two years ago, and Lamar Jackson last year. And, they did not select either when they had the opportunity to do so.

The two other factors that complicate trying to predict what Jacksonville will do in early February, is that we don’t know if the Jags intend to make a trade or sign a prominent veteran that could end up being their starter this fall?  And finally, the biggest unknown is: does Murray still intend to report to the Oakland A’s spring training soon and try to land a massive guaranteed contract to play baseball?

So with all of that written above, will gauge it as “unlikely” that the Jaguars end up with Murray, as their selection.

Another prominent draft analyst is Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, and his latest mock draft released late last week has the Jags taking Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins at seven.

And, there seems to be more compelling reason for that pick, as Haskins is much taller and bigger than Murray and the traditional pocket passer that fits the mold we were describing above the Coughlin and Marrone will be looking for. Haskins also broke the Ohio State single-season touchdowns record and comes out of one of the most tradition rich programs for NFL prospects, as well.

Still, most of the recent quarterbacks of the last 20 years from Ohio State haven’t ended up translating into much in the pros. And the argument can be made that Haskins having only succeeded for one season in Columbus isn’t worth a top-10 pick risk.

Finally, as we wrote last month, the granddaddy of draft prognosticators over the last 35 years, Mel Kiper Jr. had his initial mock draft with Haskins being taken right in front of the Jaguars by the New York Giants at the sixth pick. However, he had the chance to plug Murray in Jacksonville and passed for an offensive lineman for them.

Clearly, there are other quarterback options like Missouri’s Drew Lock, who was getting attention at the Senior Bowl last month, and also Daniel Jones, the Duke quarterback who ended up being the game’s offensive MVP.

However, at this stage in early February it’s a stretch to see either of those players projected as top 10 picks. Obviously, that could change over the course of the next 60 days or so.

So, let the conjecture and educated guesswork continue, but for now the next indicator will be: what can the Jaguars do in terms of a veteran around the free agency?

Then, we’ll have a clearer idea of what their intentions may very well be at the seventh overall spot.

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