Once Shad Khan made the statement on Friday that the Jacksonville Jaguars would be active in selecting a quarterback “or two” in the upcoming NFL Draft, the question then became obvious as to when this might take place and what happens to Chad Henne or Blaine Gabbert in the process.
While the team has publicly stated it will reach out to Henne before free agency begins, the future of Gabbert, the team’s first round pick in 2011, remains very much up in the air. Gabbert had won the starting job from Henne in the preseason, but was injured in the preseason and multiple times in the regular season and never regained his starting spot.
The $2.7 million the team has tied into the former Missouri passer is guaranteed and the team must decide to either give him a shot at the starting job again while allowing Henne to walk, or trade or release Gabbert and keep Henne to help mentor a rookie (or rookies) until one is ready to take over behind center.
If anything, Khan’s comments in New York created more of a conundrum for the franchise.
According to sources close to the team and spoken about on 1010XL and 92.5 FM in Jacksonville, the team knows it must take a passer early in the draft but where the team sits at No. 3, it is not sure about the three possible candidates - Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel and if given options, Jadeveon Clowney, a defensive end from South Carolina, may fall to them and allow the team to go fishing in the second or third round for a quarterback.
The fact each of the three have potential issues is enough for this team to walk away from them.
Also, should the team wait until the second round, who tickles their fancy? Jaguars head coach and team general manager David Caldwell asked for Jimmy Garoppolo to play in the Senior Bowl when Alabama’s AJ McCarron declined his invitation. David Fales and Derek Carr are two candidates to be drafted either late in the first round (Carr) or in the second or third round (Fales). Each could be on the Jaguars’ radar.
The two names I still stand by are Zach Mettenberger of LSU and Stephen Morris of Miami for different reasons.
Mettenberger, although injured and had offseason surgery is tall and solid and someone who is a Drew Bledsoe, Ben Roethlisberger type of player. And before he was injured, could have slipped into the back end of the first round.
Morris is a kid who did not fulfill all his talent at Miami, but has a nice arm and zip on the ball. He and Jaguars offensive coordinator know each other from Jedd Fisch’s time in south Florida.
Whoever the team does choose now the other 31 teams in the league know this is a team that will be active and gambling as the three days in New York set the tone for the franchise in 2014.