Predicting what will happen in an NFL season is tough to do simply because teams can turn around so quickly. Still, at least on paper it’s a fair bet it will take one more year for the Jacksonville Jaguars to get into such position. The big question ahead for them though is if they did land the top over draft pick, would they take a highly rated quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater or go for the talent like Jadeveon Clowney?
Bridgewater looks a sight better than Blaine Gabbert
The drawback to such speculation is it’s difficult to tell whether certain players end up placing in expected areas for a draft. Still, based on expert claims it’s a reasonable bet that Bridgewater and Clowney will stand atop the heap come next May provided neither gets injured or suffers an unforeseen regression. The reason Jacksonville is the subject is because they don’t have that look of a good team. Much of their off-season was spent simply filling holes left by the previous regime. Their top pick was an offensive lineman and a number of others were defensive backs in hopes of reviving a listless defense. A big reason for the pessimism is the mess at quarterback. Blaine Gabbert has struggled through two rough seasons whether it be injuries or erratic play. Those problems continued into training camp as he suffered an ankle injury. Behind him is Chad Henne who fell out of favor in Miami and Mike Kafka who was cast off from the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. Put simply, when there is little room for hope at quarterback, it usually means a team will have a bad year.
Teddy Bridgewater suffers from no such doubt. He is the hottest draft prospect in college football thanks to his dominant showing in the Sugar Bowl against Florida. His size, athleticism and remarkably advanced football mechanics make him the early favorite to become the #1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. If Jacksonville were to land him it would justify their selection of Luke Joeckel and give the team a solid young core on offense for the first time in years.
Gus Bradley could do so many things with Clowney
The problem is the show isn’t run by a hot offensive mind. Gus Bradley is one of the top defensive coordinators in the NFL. Like any coach he will want to move things through his vision, and that means defense first though he has stated repeatedly Pete Carroll taught him about the importance of balance. There in lay the problem. If he were to struggle through the first year and end up with the top pick, how could he, as a defensive coach, justify passing on Jadeveon Clowney? Scouts have already begun to label the South Carolina defensive end as the best pass rusher to come out of college since eight-time Pro Bowler Julius Peppers. He is an absolute nightmare to block and rated as one of those rare players who has no ceiling in terms of potential. Imagine what an innovator like Bradley could do with a talent like that on his defense. It borders on being unfair, but is it the right thing to do?
That is the question the team will ask over and over as the draft draws closer. The Jacksonville Jaguars could very well avoid placing last in the league in 2013, but if they do the Teddy Bridgewater vs. Jadeveon Clowney debate will rage for months.