The Jacksonville Jaguars have seen their share of hard times. It's a franchise not even 20 years old, but most of those have been hard. Organizational problems plagued the franchise, but things are now on the uptick. Now we go back through the last few years to see if Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of ESPN could have done better are running the franchise.
It's tough to take this approach without understanding all the working parts in a draft. Trades can happen, free agency can alter draft plans and changes in player snaps can lead to unexpected players emerging. Nevertheless we're going back to 2010 to see who got it right and wrong.
|Mel Kiper||C.J. Spiller||RB||Clemson|
|Todd McShay||C.J. Spiller||RB||Clemson|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Tyson Alualu||DT||California|
The prevailing wisdom from the ESPN duo was to address best player available over need, while the Jaguars went in the opposite direction.
Spiller has been up-and-down due to injury, but when healthy he's one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in the NFL -- skilled at running off tackle and catching out of the backfield. Even with his struggles, it's hard to argue that the Jaguars would be a better team right now if they selected the same way.
On draft day Alualu was seen as one of the biggest reaches of the first round and he quickly quieted pundits with an impressive rookie season. The problem is that he never progressed past this point and suddenly a promising rookie became a middling defensive lineman.
There's a chance he can develop further under head coach Gus Bradley, but that's where the lobbying for him ends.
Winner: Mel Kiper and Todd McShay
|Mel Kiper||Ryan Kerrigan||DE||Purdue|
|Todd McShay||Ryan Kerrigan||DE||Purdue|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Blaine Gabbert||QB||Missouri|
This one was rough for the Jaguars. It is remembered as the last great whiff of an old regime, and the inability for Gabbert to become a franchise quarterback cost several people their jobs.
Jacksonville not only selected a poor quarterback, it traded up for him. It seemed like a home run on draft day, but the same problems that plagued Gabbert at Missouri carried to the NFL -- an inability to read defenses, reaction to imaginary pressure and poor downfield vision.
It was a maddening selection because of what could have been. Kerrigan is not a not-tier pass rusher, but he's a reliable 8.0+ sack linebacker who would thrive in Gus Bradley's scheme today. The Jaguars are still struggling to find reliable pass rushers and he would be a much-needed piece in making Jacksonville competitive.
Winner: Mel Kiper and Todd McShay
|Mel Kiper||Fletcher Cox||DT||Mississippi State|
|Todd McShay||Justin Blackmon||WR||Oklahoma State|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Justin Blackmon||WR||Oklahoma State|
The idea behind McShay and ultimately the Jaguars' pick was a belief that Gabbert could develop with a reliable weapon. It's unclear whether Blackmon would have provided that, but his career has been marred by suspension.
Kiper's idea was to go back to defense and take the best player available. To this end, Fletcher Cox is a very good hybrid defensive lineman who's still developing in the NFL. If paired with a hypothetical selection of Kerrigan it would offer the Jaguars a one-two punch that finally rehabilitates an ailing pass rush.
Both Cox and Blackmon took a step back in their second season. The former was hamstrung by a change in defensive scheme, the latter by bad quarterback play. It's a hard decision either way, with both players having more potential for the future.
Winner: Both and neither
|Mel Kiper||Luke Joeckel||OT||Texas A&M|
|Todd McShay||Eric Fisher||OT||Central Michigan|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Luke Joeckel||OT||Texas A&M|
A quarterback in 2011, wide receiver in 2012 and finally an offensive coordinator. The plan makes sense, but it was derailed by the lack of quarterback.
It's early to judge, but based on what we know, they made the right pick. Eric Fisher was terrible his rookie season and will need to take major strides in order to become a competent offensive tackle, let alone a reliable left tackle. Joeckel had struggles, too, but they were less pronounced.
It might not have formed the offensive future the Jaguars hoped for, but Joeckel is a building block moving forward.
Winner: Mel Kiper and the Jacksonville Jaguars
There's no question the Jaguars have drafted poorly over the last few years, but that doesn't mean the alternative was markedly better. Without the quarterback position sorted out a team has an artificial ceiling, impossible to break through until you find someone. Contrary to popular belief it doesn't even need to be a franchise quarterback, just someone better than Gabbert and Chad Henne.
In the end there's only one of the trio who didn't significantly whiff, and in the case of Ryan Kerrigan, he made the right call.