This is always an interesting time of the year for me. I am on the verge of depression because there is no football on the weekends, and the next season just seems so far away. However, on the horizon is free agency, the draft and high hopes of better things to come. This is the time of year that every general manager, coach, scout and fan is trying to find the missing pieces that will lead them to the 'Promised Land', where they hold the Lombardi Trophy high above their heads.
One could argue that this is the time of year that a football organization really lays the groundwork for the season to come and when championship rosters are formed. Most teams have been through the arduous task of self-scouting, looking for and finding every strength and weakness of the offense, defense and special teams. Like a child making their gift lists for Santa Claus, GMs and coaches have long lists of needs they believe will get them over the top, and usually more lost games equals a longer list. With thoughts like, "If we could just fill this need, we would be so much better!" GMs and coaches head off to Indianapolis for the NFL scouting combine hoping to find the next top draft choice as well as the diamond in the rough. But what everyone has to remember is the NFL Combine is only a part, and we can argue how big of part, of the evaluation process in determining where to draft a player. The good GMs realize this; don't fall in love with a guy just because he runs fast, jumps high or can bench press 225 pounds 45 times. How the player looks in his college game tape should carry the most weight in evaluating any player. The combine should do one of three things; confirm what you saw on tape, raise a doubt, or force you to go back to watch again because you must have missed something.
With this in mind, after spending a week in Indianapolis for the NFL combine, what should Dave Caldwell and theJaguars do in the Draft this year with the number three overall pick? In most years this is a tough question, but for the Jaguars answering this question is simple; THE BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE! I don't care what position it is, upgrading it will make the entire team better. After completely turning over the roster last year, Dave Caldwell has plenty of holes to fill on one of the youngest rosters in the NFL. With ten total picks in the Draft this year, Caldwell and his team will have several opportunities to add good players that they would like to make an immediate impact. Sitting here today, I would narrow the first pick down to two players – Sammy Watkins, WR from Clemson, and Jadeveon Clowney, DE from South Carolina. Obviously the Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams, drafting one and two respectively, could take both of those players off the board, but I don't think that will happen. I am not sure what direction the Texans will go, but I feel strongly the Rams are going to take the best offensive tackle in the draft to shore up an abysmal offensive line.
I know a great number of fans and experts feel like the Jaguars have to take a quarterback with their first pick. I don't see it that way. The Jaguars have too many needs, and they need to upgrade their talent throughout the roster. It would be one thing if there was a can't-miss prospect like Andrew Luck. Then you take him no matter what. However, that is not the case. All of the QBs that are talked about in the top of the draft have major questions. Maybe one of them turns out to be a franchise QB, I just don't think with the other high-quality prospects in this draft I would roll the dice. However, if I was forced to take one I am picking Teddy Bridgewater. I believe he is the most 'pro ready.' While both Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles might have higher upsides, I am not sure I believe that. Bridgewater is the most consistent. He is an accurate passer, good athlete and has shown good presence in the pocket. The major knock against him is his slight frame. Would he be able to hold up for an entire NFL season? In trying to counter this criticism he put on nine pounds for the combine.
The only thing that we know for sure right now about who the Jaguars will pick, or who the best QB is, is that it will change multiple times over the next two months as we move through free agency and pro workout days leading up to the draft.