The Jaguars have largely coalesced around quarterback Blake Bortles this offseason, as general manager Dave Caldwell said Bortles can win a Super Bowl, while new executive VP Tom Coughlin indicated Bortles will be Jacksonville’s signal-caller in 2017. But there’s a chance — however small — that those proclamations are part of a smoke screen, as one rumor circulating in league circles has the Jaguars selecting a quarterback with the fourth overall pick, according to Lance Zierlein of NFL.com (Twitter link).
The possibility of taking a quarterback makes some sense for Jacksonville on a number of levels. For one, Bortles regressed mightily in 2016, taking a step back from his relatively successful sophomore campaign. Bortles, 25, finished 26th in quarterback rating, 27th in adjusted yards per attempt, and 26th in DVOA while tossing at least 16 interceptions for the third consecutive season. As such, Caldwell told reporters Friday the Jaguars have yet to make a decision on Bortles’ 2018 fifth-year option. Jacksonville has until May 3 to exercise or decline the option.
Additionally, there aren’t a ton of great prospect fits for the Jaguars at No. 4. Having already spent a good deal of money on free agents along the defensive line and in the secondary, Jacksonville doesn’t necessarily need an impact player on the defensive side of the ball. No offensive lineman is thought to be worth a top-five selection, leaving running back or tight end as possible options for the Jaguars’ first-round pick. Neither would fit a strategy of position-based drafting, whereas a quarterback clearly would.
The Jaguars have only had a few quarterbacks in for visits, as they’ve met with Clemson‘s Deshaun Watson and Pittsburgh‘s Nathan Peterman. However, Caldwell and the rest of the Jacksonville staff proved in 2014 they could keep a secret, as the team’s intention to select Bortles was never divulged prior to the draft.
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