We are hot and heavy in the dead period of the NFL calendar. The Jaguars won't be fully back together as a team until July 25th. During this time period no news is good news.
To fill the void we've decided to break down each and every position group on the Jaguars roster. Since QB is the most important position in football, if not in all of sports, we're going to start with that.
During the course of our positional breakdown we will start with the starters and then work our way through the rest of the group.
So let's get to it!
The Starter: Blake Bortles
Blake Bortles is entering his fourth season as the Jaguars full time starter. Since being drafted by the Jaguars with the third overall pick in the 2014 draft Bortles has started 62 games with a record of 21-40 (10 of those wins came in 2017). With a career completion percentage of 59.1, a 90 to 64 TD-INT ratio, and a QB Rating of 80.8 he's left a bit to be desired. Still, he did have his best season as a pro in 2017 and was the catalyst for the Jaguars offense several times throughout the season. He completed over 60% of his passes and but for a two game stretch to end the regular season - after the Jaguars already clinched their playoff spot - in which he threw five interceptions, he would have finished with 23 total touchdowns and just eight interceptions on the season. 2018 will be the first time in Bortles career that he will have the same offensive coordinator for two consecutive seasons, which should allow him to have more command of the offense than he has had to this point in his career. Coming off an impressive playoff run that saw his squad fall just minutes short of the Super Bowl (Friendly reminder: Myles Jack wasn't down.) Bortles has been a leader on offense throughout OTAs and minicamp. If he can continue to show command of the offense and be a leader then he should see his best season yet as a pro. While the national feeling on Bortles is still that he is a subpar starting QB, another solid regular season could do a lot to change that, especially if he is able to improve his play in the fourth quarter of close games, which has been poor over the years.
The Backups: Cody Kessler, Tanner Lee
At this point Cody Kessler seems like a lock to be the Jaguars second string QB in 2018. He's the only backup that has any experience and unless the Jaguars decide to trade for a different veteran QB the backup job is Kessler's to lose. Originally drafted by the Browns in the third round of the 2016 draft the Jaguars acquired Kessler for next to nothing following the 2017 season. During his time in Cleveland Kessler started 8 games, completing 63.8% of his passes with six touchdowns to just three interceptions. Having just turned 25 it's safe to assume that Kessler's best days as a pro QB are in front of him. Despite not having the biggest arm he may end up being one of the better backup QBs in the league. He's currently learning a new system but has shown some chemistry with players like DJ Chark and Rashad Greene.
Tanner Lee seems like a long shot to make the roster. He is the definition of a project QB with nice measurables and a big arm, but has a long way to go before he is pro caliber signal caller. If he shows great improvement throughout training camp he could force the Jaguars to keep three QBs on their active roster, but it seems more likely that the Jags will stash the sixth round pick on the practice squad.
Overall the Jaguars QB room looks better than it has in some time. All signs point to Blake Bortles having a career year. Cody Kessler, at just 25 and with a somewhat impressive track record, is much more exciting as a backup than Chad "Check Down" Henne was. Kessler certainly has the potential to develop into, at the very least, a quality backup. The Jaguars QB room doesn't feature one of the so called "elite" guys and even if Bortles does take a big step forward, it's unlikely that he'll reach the level of some of the best QBs in the game in 2018.
Overall Grade: B-
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