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On to '21: Quarterbacks


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser and Jaguars analyst Bucky Brooks examine the Jaguars' quarterbacks in this position-by-position look at the '21 offseason:

Position: Quarterback.

Position coach: Brian Schottenheimer, passing-game coordinator.

2020 starters: Gardner Minshew II (8), Mike Glennon (5), Jake Luton (3).

Others: None.

2020 at a glance: The Jaguars for a third consecutive season changed quarterbacks during the season – and uncertainty at the position again meant offensive inconsistency. Minshew, a second-year veteran and a sixth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, started the first seven games of the season, completing 216 of 327 passes for 2,259 yards and 16 touchdowns with five interceptions in eight starts. Luton, a rookie sixth-round selection, started the next three games and completed 60 of 110 passes for 624 yards and two touchdowns with six interceptions. Glennon, an eight-year veteran, started five of the last six games and completed 111 of 179 passes for 1,072 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.

Offseason storyline: Quarterback – along with the January hiring of Head Coach Urban Meyer – is the Jaguars' No. 1 offseason storyline, and that storyline focuses squarely on the future and the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. The Jaguars hold the No. 1 overall selection in the draft for the first time in the franchise's 27-year history, and Owner Shad Khan set the tone for the offseason a day after the '20 regular season ended when he said: "What has evaded the history of the Jags, really, has been a franchise quarterback." One detail worth mentioning: while many analysts assume the Jaguars will select Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall, neither Khan nor Meyer publicly has stated that for certain – or even that they will select a quarterback. Still, Meyer, General Manager Trent Baalke and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell upon their hirings all discussed the importance of quarterback and the importance of getting the No. 1 overall selection correct. So even though all draft-related topics are unofficial until someone within the organization says otherwise, quarterback will dominate the Jaguars' pre-draft storyline – and Lawrence will dominate it most of all.

Free agents as of March 17: Glennon.

Bucky Brooks' top three free-agent quarterbacks: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys; Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints; Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins

Bucky Brooks' top three quarterback prospects: Lawrence, Justin Fields, Ohio State and Zach Wilson, Brigham Young.

Oehser analysis: All signs point to a new starting quarterback for the Jaguars next season – and those same signs point to them selecting the position No. 1 overall. Does that automatically mean selecting Lawrence? Not necessarily, and there almost certainly will be pre-draft buzz and hype surrounding not only Wilson but Fields. Buzz and hype notwithstanding, Lawrence appears the right fit for Meyer's style of offense. He has all the traits of a quarterback around whom to build a franchise and he's considered the best quarterback prospect to enter the draft in a decade. The thought here is Lawrence's skill set and potential are too enticing for the Jaguars to pass – and it would be a surprise of major proportion if the Jaguars go another direction at No. 1. Another fascinating offseason storyline will be what happens with the overall makeup of the quarterback room. If the No. 1 selection indeed is a quarterback, will Baalke/Meyer sign a veteran familiar with someone on the offensive coaching staff to be the backup? Could it be an entire new quarterback room? Will the team opt to retain Minshew? Do the decision-makers consider him a fit with the new scheme? Even beyond the questions surrounding No. 1 overall, these are areas to watch as the offseason continues.

Brooks analysis: Finding a franchise quarterback is the No. 1 priority for the Jaguars this offseason. Meyer is looking for a talented playmaker at the position with the maturity, leadership skills, and intangibles to be the face of the franchise. Whether it is an experienced young veteran or a top prospect like Lawrence, Fields, or Wilson, the Jaguars need to find a long-term solution at the position, particularly with the AFC loaded with field generals with big-time talent. Meyer must assess the talent available and determine if there is a quarterback with the skills and moxie to lead the Jaguars to shootout wins against Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs), Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills), Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans), Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens), Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers), Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns) and others. If the Jaguars hope to re-emerge as title contenders under Meyer, the Jaguars must find an elite quarterback this offseason.

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