The Jaguars currently have three quarterbacks on their active roster, and in all likelihood will trot fourth year QB Blake Bortles out on to the field to start their opening game in 2017.
While it is believed that 2017 will be Bortles last shot to prove that he can be an effective quarterback in the NFL, the Jaguar have veteran Chad Henne and second year QB Brandon Allen behind Bortles on the depth chart.
I believe the Jaguars should pursue a quarterback in the NFL Draft this year. The reason being is if Blake Bortles doesn't work out in 2017 then the Jaguars will be forced to move on from the former third overall pick. With only an aging veteran and a 2016 6th round pick on the roster behind Bortles the Jaguars should do everything they can between now and the start of the 2017 season to make sure that Bortles has every opportunity to succeed, but the Jaguars must be prepared for the worst with Bortles moving forward. So instead of having just Chad Henne, who should be a starter for no team in the NFL, and a late round quarterback in Brandon Allen the Jaguars should look to add another developmental QB in the draft.
While this isn't widely viewed as a good quarterback class there are a lot of draftable guys with decent upside. Most believe that Mitch Trubisky is a lock to go in the top five picks, while Deshaun Watson and Deshone Kizer are also garnering first round attention. If Kizer or Watson fell all the way to the second round, however unlikely that may be, I believe the Jaguars would have to consider pulling the trigger on one of them.
Beyond the three prospects that are garnering serious first round attention there are several other guys that have upside that should be available in round 3 or after. Seeing as how the Jaguars need to do everything they can to ensure Bortles has success in 2017, the Jaguars could very well spend their first two picks on running back and offensive line and after what should be another productive year in free agency for the Jaguars, they shouldn't have too many needs to fill later in the draft, which would give the Jaguars the freedom to take a flyer on a mid to late round QB.
There are several guys that have caught my attention.
Nathan Peterman, Pitt - Peterman is the hometown kid, having played his high school ball at Bartram Trail. After starting his college career in the SEC at Tennessee, Peterman found a home at Pitt and made the most of his opportunity to start his final two years in college. Peterman was efficient yet unspectacular at Pitt. Having started the final 26 games of his college career, Peterman threw 47 TDs to only 17 INTs, and hovered around the 60% completion mark. What makes him an interesting pro prospect aren't his college statistics, rather his ability to make every throw, his poise in the pocket, and his accuracy. If Peterman were a couple of inches taller he might even be considered in the first or second round, but for now the 6'2'', 225 lb. QB from Jacksonville looks like he will land in the third round of beyond. It wouldn't be a stretch to see Peterman return home to start his NFL career. One NFL scout told Bleacher Report last week that Peterman is "this draft's best chance at a Dak Prescott."
Davis Webb, Cal - Another transfer, Webb started his career at Texas Tech where he was the starter for the first two years of his career. During his third season he was beat out by another draft eligible QB Pat Mahomes, who reminds me greatly of Blake Bortles. Webb has very solid arm talent and is believed by some scouts to be the best QB in the draft. The problem is some believe he was a system QB and the fact that he couldn't hold his starting job at QB friendly Texas Tech is a bit of a red flag, even if the job was lost to another NFL prospect. Webb's numbers at Cal aren't dissimilar to the Jared Goff's, but some believe he has an even better arm than the 2016 fist overall pick. Webb has some things to clean up in terms of footwork and mechanics, but he could be had in the third round or later.
There are several other names to keep an eye on.
Pat Mahomes can do it all, but struggles with consistency from throw to throw. He's big and athletic and reminds me way too much of the Jaguar current starter to truly endorse him. He can make the best throw you've ever seen on one play, and the worst you've ever seen on the very next. Mahomes could go as early as the second round.
Cooper Rush will likely be around on day three of the draft due to his lack of arm strength, but his knowledge and understanding of the quarterback position combined with his superlative decision making process makes him a guy that could be on an NFL roster in 2017.
Brad Kaaya draws comparisons to Jared Goff due to their similar size and arm talent, however Kaaya is much less refined when it comes to decision making and poise in the pocket.
The future of the QB position in Jacksonville is uncertain at best, but for 2017 it appears Blake Bortles will be the starter. The Jaguars must do everything they can to ensure that Bortles is successful in 2017, but should also have a contingency plan if things don't go the way they hope. That contingency plan should include another young developmental quarterback.
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