After five years of futility, save for a 10-6 season in 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars are free of Blake Bortles. The former first-round pick left Jacksonville mired in NFL purgatory. The Jaguars never quite bottomed out fully, but never had a season good enough to push them to a Super Bowl run.
That 2017 season is the only exception. That year the Jaguars fielded one of the NFL’s best defenses and advanced all the way to the AFC Championship Game. But otherwise, Jacksonville has played poorly. Not helping matters is taking running back Leonard Fournette with the fourth overall pick in 2017, or a lackluster rookie season from 2018 first-rounder Taven Bryan.
Now the Jaguars approach the 2019 draft looking to make a difference. After signing quarterback Nick Foles, Jacksonville circumvented the need for a quarterback right now. Unless, of course, one falls right in their laps. That’s the case in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, where Alfie Crowe of Big Cat Country is here to make the pick for the Jaguars.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Crowe: I’ll start off by saying I do not think the Jaguars will draft Dwayne Haskins after signing Nick Foles in free agency, but I’m not going to completely rule it out. There is actually a good argument for the team to double down on the position, especially if Haskins is right there for the taking. It’s hard to ignore that the Jaguars have done a lot of work on Haskins this season, including game trips to scout him in person.
The contract the team signed Foles to is effectively a two-year deal if he flames out. Haskins offers a Plan B and can sit on the sideline and learn, as experience is one of his biggest knocks. Not only that, but it would be an upgrade over the backup position at a cost-controlled price that’s relatively cheap for a high-end backup. Quarterback depth in the NFL is terrible and the Philadelphia Eagles proved twice that if you have good depth there, your season isn’t necessarily in the tank. If something happens to Foles, who has never played a 16-game season, would you rather trot out a rookie Haskins or Cody Kessler?
Alternatively, the Jaguars hope they won’t be in position to pick a top quarterback in the draft for a while. In a draft light on high-end offensive playmakers, why not make the choice when it falls in your lap? The front office has admitted one of their biggest regrets with Blake Bortles was starting him much sooner than planned, and picking Haskins with Foles in the fold allows the team to run that back and do it the right way. Haskins can sit for a few seasons and then make the transition, similar to the careers of Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers. New Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo is also kind of known as a quarterback developer, so it would make sense to double dip and have him working with Haskins while Foles is running an offense he’s already familiar with. The front office could effectively not only win now with Foles, but also lay the foundation for the future with Haskins.
While a tight end, pass rusher, or right tackle make sense at No. 7 overall, I wanted to spice it up a bit with a pick that is a little outside the box.
Analysis: This all makes complete sense. As said, this probably won’t happen, unfortunately, but it should. A rookie quarterback deal is so affordable, relatively speaking, that adding one alongside a veteran is a smart play. That’s especially true considering how inconsistent Foles has been during his career. And yes, a tight end could be in play here. It can be hard to argue the value of the position inside the top 10, though.
Top five remaining players:
- 7. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
- 8. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
- 10. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
- 11. Brian Burns, Edge rusher, Florida State
- 12. Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
Our second pick of the day in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft is coming up at 1 p.m. ET with Pride of Detroit making the choice for the Lions.
What grade do you give the pick of Dwayne Haskins by the Jacksonville Jaguars?
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