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NFL Draft

Should Jaguars Draft A Top-3 QB In 2021?

  • The Draft Network
  • October 8, 2020
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The levies on the NFL coaching carousel have already been opened following the Houston Texans' firing of Bill O’Brien. It was a tumultuous power struggle with his own self with wearing multiple hats as both the general manager and head coach, but it came as a huge surprise that he was the first head coach relieved of his duties during the 2020 cycle. Most bets were on Adam Gase with the Jets and Dan Quinn of the Falcons, but the other candidate that had multiple bets on him was Doug Marrone.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been one of the more active teams on the market as they have shipped off Yannick Ngakoue and Ronnie Harrison for draft picks and an argument could be made that the team isn’t done yet making deals. 

Despite all of the future draft capital and what seems like an inevitable head coaching change in the future, the biggest decision that the team will have to make is under-center. 2019 sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew has far exceeded expectations as a late-round option, but the debates are still ongoing as to whether or not he could be the team's long-term solution under-center.

From Mark Brunell to Byron Leftwich to even David Garrard, the franchise has been filled with exciting signal-callers who quickly became fan favorites, but never finished their careers with the team. Brunell lasted the longest of the bunch, as he spent eight seasons (1995-2003) with the team, but bounced around the league following that point. Minshew is the latest of the bunch as he entered the 2020 season with the weight of the world on his shoulders. 

The Jaguars were a team who most pegged as the front runners to eventually win the “Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes,” but through the first quarter of the season, the former Washington State quarterback has made some believers in his long-term future with the team. Posting a 1-3 record while having 1,138 passing yards to go along with eight touchdown passes and four interceptions, the jury still remains out on Minshew. One aspect is clear, the upside isn’t nearly as apparent as what Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance will be touted as having.  

While Minshew has his great moments of highs, he equally has a mixture of low moments as well. The ”new age Ryan Fitzpatrick” has been a popular nickname to describe him, as he has the talent to squeeze four to five wins out of a team no matter how putrid the roster may be—plus you have to add the excitement factor plus the magnetism of his personality. 

Those are the underlying reasons why Minshew will hardly ever have troubles with finding work throughout the league, but the Jaguars would be wise to select their true quarterback of the future during the 2021 NFL Draft.

With two first-round selections, the team is in firm contention to draft one of the big three at the top of the board. While Minshew has plenty of likable traits, it would be wise to hitch the franchise wagon to one of Lawrence, Fields or Lance. With possibly a brand new regime overtaking the organization and having no ties to the current roster, we could see a quick rebuild happen in Jacksonville, but that all starts with which route the team opts to take at quarterback. 

Having said that, let’s take a look at how Minshew stacks up against the other top signal callers in the class.

Minshew vs. Trevor Lawrence

Prior to the season, this was a popular debate among the fan base and among football fans in general as the team opened up as the early favorite to secure the top overall pick. As prospects, there couldn’t be a bigger discrepancy in overall talent and upside as the Clemson quarterback is labeled as being the best prospect at the position since Andrew Luck. But the reasons why Lawrence would be the better option far exceed that. While Minshew has the personality, Lawrence has the leadership qualities, as we all saw how he spearheaded many issues arising in college football during the summer and fall months. Those traits carry over onto the field as he’s recorded a 32-1 record and has been a part of two championship game appearances. As a true freshman, he won a title in a blowout victory over Alabama during the 2018 season. Carrying over all of the charisma and combining it with his talent, it's an easy selection as to who better suits the franchise moving forward.

Minshew vs. Justin Fields

In a similar mold as Lawrence, Fields took the college football world by storm after his first full season as a starter. Recording 40 touchdowns to only two interceptions serves as respectable numbers for any quarterback in the country, but with Fields, it’s a microcosm of just how much success he experienced as a sophomore. There are many factors that the Buckeye thrower has over Minshew as he has a much sturdier build, superior arm strength, and upside. He’s another that falls into the category of one that would make more sense to invest in moving forward if the team decides to choose an alternate route under-center.

Minshew vs. Trey Lance

The biggest wild card of the position is Lance, as he’s already played his single-game showcase against Central Arkansas in what could be classified as an average showing. However, it wouldn’t be wise to base his entire draft stock off that single outing. Possessing immense upside, Lance has one of the more impressive resumes that we’ve seen from an FCS prospect in quite some time. Recording 46 total touchdowns and only one interception in his career, the word “upside” will be one that’s pegged beside his name throughout his pre-draft process. Having played in only 17 career games, the sample size is small, but the product in those contests have been highly intriguing. So much that astronomical pre-draft comparisons have been placed upon him. While the intrigue is high with Lance, it’s honest to have some concerns with him. Despite those questions, he still makes more sense for the Jaguars future because of how well-rounded and scheme proof his skill set is entering the NFL.

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