Jaguars: QB or Not QB

The Jaguars quarterback situation is far from settled, even with head coach Jack Del Rio's announcement of Byron Leftwich as the starter for the 2007 season. With that said, the team has brought in a few draftable quarterbacks for visits, and it is likely that the Jaguars could look for a quarterback as early as the first day.

Is it possible for the team to take a quarterback in the first or second round? Sure, but it's not likely. The third round will likely be the target round if the Jaguars are going to select that position. Two of the quarterbacks the Jaguars seem to like according to their press conference regarding the draft are Kevin Kolb of Houston and John Beck of BYU. Both quarterbacks are strong-armed guys who have all the intangibles to become franchise quarterbacks, but will not be ready to start immediately.

Kevin Kolb ranks in the top-ten all-time in almost all NCAA passing categories. For his career, Kolb was a 62% passer, throwing for nearly 13,000 yards, 85 touchdowns, and 31 interceptions. He started all four years at Houston in the "Cougar" offense which was predominantly a run out of the shotgun, spread-formation. Kolb was not required to make a lot of reads or throw the ball down-field often, due to the style of offense, but he has the arm to do so. He's been very durable and has more game experience than most quarterbacks coming out of college.

John Beck fits the profile of the stereotypical BYU quarterback. What I mean by that is that he's very accurate and smart with the football. Beck played in the traditional BYU west-coast style of offense that uses a lot of short, quick passes and rarely do they throw the deep ball. There are questions concerning his arm strength, but he is intelligent and makes smart throws. Both Kolb and Beck are athletes and give the added dimension of mobility, should the need arise.

Although both Kolb and Beck are nice prospects, and at least one of them should be around when the Jaguars select in round three, the Jaguars have a numbers problem already at the position. The team has claimed that they like the three quarterbacks they currently have on the roster (Byron Leftwich, David Garrard, and Quinn Gray). It's not feasible for an NFL team to carry four quarterbacks on the roster, and neither Kolb nor Beck would survive the waiver wire to make it onto the practice squad. Clearly, if the Jaguars are serious about drafting one of these quarterbacks, someone already on the roster has got to go. All indications indicate that David Garrard would be the most likely suspect. There have been some ridiculous reports that speculate that Byron Leftwich was named the starter by coach Del Rio to increase his value, thus anticipating a possible trade. Those reports simply do not make sense. An NFL team is not going to offer you more in terms of compensation just because you "named him the starter." Teams watch film, and they know what guys are. The reason that we feel that the most likely suspect is David Garrard, is because it was his job to lose last season in Jacksonville when Leftwich went down, and he lost the job. While Garrard will not net you much on draft day, in terms of a draft pick, he could be packaged in a deal to move up in the middle-rounds, or there are plenty of rumors of both he and offensive tackle Maurice Williams packaged together.

Along with the problem of working the numbers out, what does drafting a quarterback say to the incumbent Byron Leftwich? There are already rumors swirling that there is a rift between Leftwich and head coach Jack Del Rio. If a front office brings in a guy on the first day of the NFL draft, it says a couple of things. First and foremost, it sends a message to Byron Leftwich that you're tired of waiting. It tells him that he needs to do something this year, in the final year of his contract, to show why you took him seventh overall, or else the team is prepared to groom the next successor. The other thing it does is that it tells Byron Leftwich that he is the guy. That may sound contradictory, but in order to take a quarterback on the first day in this draft, you're going to have to remove one guy on a filled roster. Like I mentioned before, that guy will likely be David Garrard, considering the tender at which restricted free agent Quinn Gray received. What the Jaguars front office, and fan base alike, especially the pro-Leftwich camp, must realize that if this scenario happens, it will happen because the NFL is a business. There is certainly a need for insurance, given Leftwich's injury history, regardless of what both he and the fans think about drafting a quarterback. Either way, the Jaguars are in the position in which they almost have to take a guy. They need an insurance plan if Leftwich goes down, doesn't live up to expectations, or does live up to all the expectations and decides to hold the team hostage contractually.

Jags Illustrated Top Stories