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Will history show Jaguars smart or dumb to pass on QB Lamar Jackson?

Florida Football Insiders

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

There is no disputing that the NFL has become a quarterback driven league. There’s also no disputing that the 2018 QB class is littered with stars, big names and even some depth on night two, etc. of the draft.

However, there was a possible “watershed moment” in Jacksonville last night involving the short and long term future of the most critical position on an offense, quarterback. And the Jaguars, as several teams did before them, looked right at Louisville QB Lamar Jackson still sitting there late in the first round,….and passed.

They instead went with a safer pick at #29 of Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan. He’s a big, athletic and a regional favorite, because he played his college ball just down I-75 in Gainesville.

But, don’t mistake this: he’s not a game changing impact player.

Not like what Jackson potentially will be for his new team, the Ravens.

Baltimore, was aggressive on Thursday night, trading down, while on the clock, not once, but twice in the opening round. And in picking up more selections, the Ravens and GM Ozzie Newsome were able to easily able to bounce back into the final pick of round one to get their apparent QB of the future.

We wrote extensively about Lamar Jackson leading up to the draft, about his dual threat capabilities and how it might or might not translate at the next level. He has tremendous “upside,” and the fact that he last until the 32nd pick Thursday night means it was much less risky for anyone to take him.

Here’s what Baltimore understood. Joe Flacco is a known commodity. He’s obviously had good success and was great in the 2012 playoffs. However, that was six seasons ago. He is definitely limited post knee surgery last off season, in some regards, too. And, the Ravens don’t owe him any guaranteed money for 2019.

Now let’s relate this to the Jaguars. Same as Flacco, you know what you have in Blake Bortles. And, as we wrote at the time, you also have a large short term, but not long term, financial commitment to him on the contract extension they gave him in January. So, similarly, if Bortles struggles or regresses in 2018, you can decide to move on with someone else and it doesn’t cost you dearly on the cap.

Only, the Jaguars didn’t take that someone last night.

Keep in mind by grabbing Jackson in the first round, under the CBA negotiating rules for rookies, the Ravens now hold the option on the fifth year of Jackson’s rookie deal. That means, just like Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota recently this off season, a team can pick up the fifth year option before the fourth season starts, if warranted.

Big advantage for the clubs in getting to “wait and see” for three years, and then decide.

Look. Jacksonville might take a QB in the second or the third round Friday night, and maybe that player could be groomed as the future. But, as we just wrote, that’s a four year deal only, now. And that player isn’t going to be as talented as Lamar Jackson.

Jackson is explosive and brings people out of their seats at times. He’s someone you can build around and market to the fans, now and/or down the road. Baltimore now gets to do that.

The Jags don’t have that with the QB position, currently.

And, Thursday night, they looked right at a discounted cost, former Heisman winning, big play QB, who fell right to them without having to trade up.

And? They didn’t take him.

Right move?

We don’t think so. But, history over the next 2-3 years will be the final judge.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. DC

    April 29, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    They will regret this dearly…a florida kid that has everything you want in a QB, but you pass on him to keep blake bortles smh

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars “cornerstone” player for 2018?

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The third installment of our “cornerstone” players series takes us to North Florida. And, as the Jaguars get ready to start up 2018, we wondered which impact player would be the one to build around.

You could make arguments for last year’s top free agent acquisition defensive tackle Calais Campbell, or lock down corner Jalen Ramsey, as being that player. However, it’s a player on the offensive side of the ball that appears to be everything that Jacksonville could have hoped for in a running back. That running back is Leonard Fournette.

Fournette, whom the Jags took fourth overall in the draft, is fantastic physical talent at 6’0 230lbs. with a blend of speed and power. And in his debut season, repeatedly showed why you would want to have your offense centered on his ability pound on a defense.

He made a tremendous impact from the beginning of the Jags breakout 2017 with a 100 yard game in the opening win at Houston, and three more 100 yard games in the first nine.

There was lull in Fournette’s productivity due an ankle injury and he also missed a game in Indianapolis due disciplinary reasons, but eventually, Fournette got back on track. He ran for 109 yards and 3 TDs in Jacksonville’s statement win over Seattle in December that clinched the first playoff spot for Jacksonville in 11 seasons.

Then, in the post season Fournette was just okay against the Bills in the AFC Wildcard game with 57 yards on 21 carries. However the next week in Pittsburgh, Fournette set the tone early and often with two first quarter TDs. He finished with 109 yards and 3 rushing TDs, and Jacksonville stunned the Steelers to advance to the AFC Championship Game.

The Jags sledgehammer back scored another early TD and finished with 76 yards rushing as the Patriots rallied to win 24-20 scoring in the final three minutes to knock the Jaguars out of the Superbowl.

Of course there will be great scrutiny on the play of quarterback Blake Bortles, and rightfully so.

However, much of the Jaguars success offensively, the identity of what they want to do, will be centered around Leonard Fournette.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Why is Jalen Ramsey Twitter feuding with NFL Network analyst?

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There is no mistaking that Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey is talented, and in 2017 he was named as an All-Pro by his peers and most recenlty in the player polled “Top 100.” So, that’s a validation that doesn’t need a whole lot else.

Yet, an NFL Network analyst and a former NFL defensive back himself, is questioning part of his game.

And, Jalen Ramsey got annoyed. Like, really annoyed.

It all began when, Bucky Brooks, who hosts a successful podcast and appears regularly on the NFL Network questioned another player, DB Casey Hayward of the Chargers, and whether he was a “transcendent talent” in coverage.

The exchanges with Hayward on Twitter Thursday went on for a bit and then, Ramsey jumped in here:

 

And, when Brooks tweeted about Ramsey and why he was drafted two years ago in the top five by Jacksonville, things cranked up on social media:

Next, Ramsey questioned whether Brooks believes Ramsey is only a product of the Jaguars “defensive system” and not of his ability to shutdown the opposing team’s top wideout, one on one:

Brooks referenced former fellow Noles All American and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders as one of those rare “lock down” corners, and of course, that someone that Ramsey, two years removed from FSU, wants to be compared to with his own game.

Brooks then explained further about his own analysis and teams/GMs/personnel executives thinking:

In the end, Ramsey, who is not bashful about expressing his opinions on or off the field, finally gave some props to Brooks for having an informed opinion:

The bottom line is that analysts get paid to analyze. And the good ones are always soliciting the opinions of others, who are actually coaching and working in the NFL Front office.

And further, if Ramsey keeps “locking down” the likes of the Texans DeAndre Hopkins, and the Colts T.Y. Hilton, who he sees twice a year, then he will continue to get the respect he wants. And, he’ll get the second contract dollars that come with it, too.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Network will show Jaguars preseason game at Minnesota nationally

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a tremendous surprise turnaround season that included a division win and two playoff victories, the Jaguars have everyone in North Florida buzzing for 2018. And the NFL Network is interested enough that it has announced it will be showing their second preseason game, at the Vikings, to the nation on Saturday August 18th.

This information was included in the NFL’s announcement that NFL Network will televise a total of 15 preseason games live, nationally:

The Jaguars will practice against the Vikings in Minnesota on Wednesday and Thursday (8/15-16) prior to playing the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota, who won the NFC North and made the NFC Championship Game last year, signed arguably the top free agent on the market last March. That’s when they inked former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins to a massive three year fully guaranteed $84 million deal.

Jacksonville will open the preseason the previous week against the NFC South champion Saints at newly renamed TIAA Bank Field in North Florida.

The good news in addition to the practice time with the Vikes, most of the starters on both sides of the ball will see action into the second quarter, if not halftime of the second preseason game.

This will be good work for QB Blake Bortles and his new assortment of targets like WR Donte Moncrief and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who both signed with the Jags in March.

And for the stout Jaguars defense led by DT Calais Campbell, LB Telvin Smith and CB Jalen Ramsey (all of whom made the Pro Bowl last year) will get a good opening half challenge from Cousins, and receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. It will also be curious to see if second year former FSU star running back Dalvin will be fully recovered from his ACL tear. And, we’ll see if the Vikings want to give him some work or rest him completely in August.

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