After a bit of a surprise with the Chiefs at No. 1, things settle down a bit with pick No. 2. Brother Girth acted as Jaguars general manager and went with a pick a lot of people see happening. With the second overall pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars select Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. Here is what Brother Girth had to say about the pick, followed by Trevor and Nick's analysis:
Explanation: New GM David Caldwell spent 10 years working for Indianapolis, during the Peyton era, and then became Director of College Scouting for Atlanta. What did he do in his first year with Atlanta? He drafted Matt Ryan with the 3rd pick of the 2008 draft.
Caldwell will want to build around a quarterback. Ok, what GM doesn't? The key is that the Panthers won't be afraid of the noise around Geno Smith. Matty Ice had "arm strength and turnover" issues, but they went ahead with him and Caldwell won't be afraid to do that again.
There are two high profile veteran quarterbacks that could easily fit into the Jaguar's plans, Matt Flynn and Tim Tebow. Both have been discounted by the Jaguars in recent news articles. In addition, In a March 20th Forbes interview, new Panthers owner Shahid Khan said this of Gus Bradley, "I want to pair [David Caldwell] up with a very high potential assistant so that they can grow together, mature together, and almost the DNA becomes one, they're entwined." That methodology can easily be extended to the third leg of that stool, the starting quarterback. They want someone new, without baggage, and they will want someone now. The timing is right.
Why Geno Smith? A good quarterback needs a number of attributes, but in my simplistic mind it comes down to three things: ability to diagnose defenses (aka "football IQ"), composure under pressure, and accuracy. Geno Smith comes across as a student of the game, worked successfully under a lot of pass rush pressure at West Virginia, and was 60 of 64 on his pro day. There is a reason he is the number 1 rated quarterback in this years draft.
Also, according to nfldraftscout.com: "West Virginia University had a whopping 28 teams in attendance for the school's pro day. The Jacksonville Jaguars brought a large contingent, including new coach Gus Bradley, owner Shahid Khan and Khan's son." There is no way Caldwell sends his billionaire boss out to a pro day if they aren't serious.
The Jaguars have so many needs that I believe there is a good chance they trade down. At least 5 of the top 10 teams in the draft need a quarterback, and Geno stands out as the top prospect. Jaguar statements supporting Blaine Gabbert are strictly to support this trade scenario. This mock assumes no trades, however, so assuming all trade deals fall through the Jaguars are going with Geno Smith. Let the rebuilding begin!
Trevor Woods: The problem with the Jaguars is it seems they have been in a constant state of rebuilding over the past six seasons or so. Should they really go quarterback again two seasons removed from drafting Blaine Gabbert in the first round? I am not sure. I don't think drafting Smith would necessarily be a mistake, but the Jaguars are a team with many needs. As bad as Gabbert has looked, it would be wise for the Jaguars to give him one more shot. This season will end up being for naught for the Jags, as they cannot realistically contend for a Super Bowl in 2013. The best thing they can do is fill a need while also snagging the best player available. BPA here is debatable, but I would like to see them go with Oregon OLB Dion Jordan. Jordan is a freak at 6'6" 248 lbs. He ran a 4.54 forty at the combine. The Jaguars could use a legitimate pass rusher who can also cover. I would bet the Jaguars have a top ten selection next season, and next year's draft will have more desirable options at QB (if Gabbert falters).
Nick Chiamardas: This pick makes perfect sense. Jacksonville gambled on Blaine Gabbert and it appears that their gamble backfired. It's time to move on. With emerging wideouts like Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon and the impending return of All-Pro Maurice Jones-Drew, selecting the draft's top quarterback is a match made in Jaguar heaven.