Once.. Twice... Jags Passed On Brady

If I had told you on Friday that the Jacksonville Jaguars would pass on drafting Brady Quinn twice, would you believe me? Everyone watching the NFL Draft on Saturday had their eyes open wide and their eyebrows perked when the Miami Dolphins selected their pick in the first round.

As a surprise to many, the Dolphins opted to pass on the well-bred, highly-touted quarterback from Notre Dame and instead opted for Ted Ginn, the wide receiver from Ohio State. That selection sent the draft into a swirl of confusion, and also sent a guy that noone had previously thought would get anywhere near the Jaguars, down to pick 17 and beyond. Here comes the great dilemma for the Jaguars, they now had to decide to take a future possible franchise quarterback, or stick with the guys they have and take the next best player on the board.

As we all know, the Jaguars opted to pass on Brady Quinn and selected the free safety from Florida , Reggie Nelson. Passing on Brady Quinn was a smart move for this team, in my opinion. Reason being, if everyone thought that the quarterback controversy was bad with Leftwich and Garrard, it would have been exponentially worse with the drafting of a quarterback in the first round. The locker room was reportedly split before between Leftwich and Garrard, bringing in a first round pick would just send the locker room into more disarray. In addition to sending the locker room and the fan base into disarray, what does that say to the current quarterback in Byron Leftwich? While it may give the team a possible future franchise quarterback, Brady Quinn is an unproven commodity and requires the Jaguars to start all over again at the quarterback position, which sets a team back 2-3 years at minimum. The Jaguars currently have their defense and running game peaking, and they simply do not have the window to wait on another quarterback to develop. Not only would it set the team back by drafting the quarterback, but selecting Reggie Nelson helps the team right now. While Byron Leftwich has not been great, he has proven that he can win and make it to the playoffs with him. Reggie Nelson fills an immediate need on the Jaguars defense at the nearly vacant free safety position, and provides speed and a play-making ability that they previously lacked. Quinn offers a warm seat on the bench for a season or two, plus the growing pains of a new quarterback. Jack Del Rio is somewhat on the hot seat this year, and he has to win now. Reggie Nelson will help the team out more in the short term than a quarterback who needs to hold a clipboard.

What passing on Brady Quinn ultimately does is put a huge vote of confidence in Byron Leftwich. Passing on a franchise quarterback twice quells all the silly rumors of Leftwich being named the starter to use him as a bargaining chip. It tells everyone he is the guy for this team, at least for '07. While some argue that handing Leftwich the starting job could make him lax and content, I think it gives him a clear mind so he can focus on working out in the off-season and learning the new playbook without having to look over his shoulder. While some people sit scratching their heads and chastising the front office for passing on Quinn, I give the Jaguars kudos for passing on a guy nine different teams with questions at quarterback also passed on. This is no slight on Brady Quinn, he could be the next Tom Brady, but he could also be the next Rick Mirer

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