Oklahoma Heisman winning quarterback Kyler Murray made it official Monday afternoon that he will, in fact, declare early for the NFL draft in April. While opinions vary on Murray’s size and whether his talents will translate in pro football, one thing is for sure: the Jaguars are in the mix at the top of round one.
I have declared for the NFL Draft.
— Kyler Murray (@TheKylerMurray) January 14, 2019
He’s also considering a huge guaranteed baseball offer from the Oakland A’s who hold his rights. However, that would not have a guarantee of him playing for the Major league Club.
And while Murray (shown in Orange Bowl loss to Alabama above) may still take the baseball option, he had the deadline of midnight Eastern Monday night to make himself available for consideration by NFL teams for this Spring.
Now, where Murray might ended up in the Draft selection process is up for conjecture.
.@RapSheet breaks down Kyler Murray's decision to declare for the draft and which round he is projected to go in 🔊🆙
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 14, 2019
And while there are other draft analysts and NFL information guys saying that Murray projects, as probably a night two second or third round pick. Still, he could gain momentum headed to the first round opening night too.
And, that’s where the Jaguars could come into play for Murray, too.
It’s well-known that Jacksonville is looking for a long-term solution at quarterback. They will be moving on from Blake Bortles one way or another.
Will that be a QB in free agency or perhaps, a trade or will Jacksonville elect to take a risk, right where they are, currently picking 7th overall?
The Jaguars elected not to select another Heisman QB winner, Lamar Jackson of Louisville, at the end of the first round last April. They instead took for the defensive tackle Taven Bryan.
The previous year they also passed on taking a quarterback in the top five, where Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes were both available. And, we know how both of those guys figured into 2018 leading their teams to the playoffs.
The six teams currently picking in front of the Jaguars are: the Cardinals, 49ers, Jets, Raiders, Buccaneers and Giants. And, out of that group only New York doesn’t have a recently drafted or signed long term quarterback to consider, as a franchise guy for the future.
Jacksonville could also try to make a trade to move up, poetntially involving running back Leonard Fournette or defensive back Jalen Ramsey as bait, if they so desired.
Then again, they could simply sit and wait to see what happens at #7 and if Murray would still be available, too.
It’s definitely way early, and again, Murray is slated to go to A’s Spring Training in Februrary, and could still agree with them long term.
However, declaring for the NFL Draft means Murray wants to be taken in the first round, and play football.
Now, what does the NFL in general and the Jaguars in specific, want to do?
Jags coach Marrone acknowledged Wednesday he’s in jeopardy
As the Jaguars 2019 season has spiraled downward, their head coach acknowledged Wednesday that there are likely changes coming in North Florida.
Head Coach Doug Marrone meets the media prior to today's practice. https://t.co/Ks19PcB0te
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) December 11, 2019
“We’re all fighting for our jobs. When you look at it from that standpoint, each person has to make their own decision on how they handle those things….It’s a constant microscope in this league, but I think it gets magnified when you are not winning football games,” Marrone said plainly.
It’s no secret that the Jaguars are plummeting. Sunday they were embarrassed again at home, this time by the L.A. Chargers 45 – 10. That was the fifth consecutive decisive loss (by at least 17 points) for a team that was once 4 – 4 and in the conversation are the AFC Wildcard picture.
Yes, there are injuries including the team losing defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and recently linebacker Myles Jack to season-ending IR. The same on offense where WR Marqise Lee never got healthy and made contributions this year. He, too is back on injured reserve.
Further, the team also had to deal with the constant off field distraction and then decided to trade away arguably their best player, defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the LA Rams. Granted, Ramsey wanted out and was trying not to play while the trade was being consummated. Still, this missed him on the field and it was an issue.
Then, there’s the mess on offense, where the Jags offensive line is in shambles and Marrone had to bench high-priced free agent quarterback Nick Foles before last week’s game. That’s because of his ineffective play and lack of mobility to play behind their poor line.
Rookie Gardner Minshew, who had won four games earlier this year, didn’t do much with only 162 yards in the air and a late third-quarter touchdown that only cut the lead to 31 – 10 in the loss Sunday.
Further, running back Leonard Fournette has now been neutralized by the lack of good line play and the inability to get the passing game going. Fournette went from having a good start to the season that included three 100-yard or more games out of four in late September and October, to having five of his last six games where he has run for 50 yards or less.
So, everywhere you look, the Jags are struggling and losing, and owner Shad Khan is expected to make wholesale changes at the end of the year.
But for now, Jacksonville must go out to Oakland this week and try not to be further embarrassed there.
Jaguars injury woes continue- LB Myles Jack to IR
The bad news on the injury front for the Jaguars continued on Thursday, when they placed star linebacker Myles Jack on injured reserve.
Source: #Jaguars LB Myles Jack (knee) is going on Injured Reserve today. A hit to the Jacksonville defense.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2019
Jack missed Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers with a knee injury that was believed to be a sprain suffered in the loss to the Colts two weeks ago. However, the move to IR indicates it may be more serious.
The Jaguars season has unraveled over the course of the last month with injuries to their defense and the team trading away perennial Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. Jacksonville had already put DT Marcel Dareus on IR, All-Pro defensive tackle Calais Campbell has been trying to battle through a bad back and DB Tony Harrison has still not been cleared with a concussion.
Coach Doug Marrone has expressed the last two weeks that it has been a struggle for his defense with all of the injuries mounting late in the year.
As for Jack, he had settled in the middle linebacker roll after Telvin Smith abruptly retired in May.
Jack has been solid, but not spectacular, in the middle of the defense registering 7 or more tackles in five games this season. However he hasn’t forced a fumble, has only one interception and half of a sack. Jack also has just three tackles-for-loss at a position that often dictates much more output than that.
The former second-round pick out of UCLA had question marks about his knee coming out of college, when the Jaguars took him in the 2016 draft. However, he has answered critics on his durability by being active for all 59 games of his career up until last week.
Jacksonville will use veteran Donald Payne at middle linebacker for now. Payne played significantly last week against the Buccaneers and has been on and off of Jacksonville roster this season.
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