Jacksonville Jaguars 2014 NFL Draft: Aggregating Report Card Grades from the Web
Behind general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley, the Jaguars were staring down the barrel of a serious rebuilding project.
The result? The Jaguars were able to land their franchise quarterback, two solid receivers and some exceptional role players.
As the draft excitement begins to simmer, let’s see how “experts” have graded the Jaguars’ performance.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: A
Kiper seemed to walk away impressed (subscription required) with GM Dave Caldwell’s second draft.
“I thought the Jags did a tremendous job, which is something I mentioned more than once during our broadcast.”
You can’t deny the Jaguars are trending up, especially after securing a potential franchise quarterback. While Mel didn’t like the value, he seemed to see it as a necessary pick:
“Even if I’m not in love with the value of Blake Bortles at No. 3, consider: it really only looks shakier given where some of the other QBs landed. If the Jags truly believe they have their franchise QB, can they sit and hope the Browns don’t take him at no. 4? […] You see your future, you take the shot.”
The addition of Bortles provides the Jaguars fanbase something it hasn't had in a while—hope.
Since 2003, the team has endured Byron Leftwich, David Garrard, Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. At some point, they had to find a player who can lead their franchise into the next decade.
With Bortles’ prototypical size and skill set, he projects to be successful in the NFL. The Jaguars are hoping he turns out and leads their franchise back into prominence.
Dane Brugler, CBS Sports: A
Like Kiper, Brugler was also happy with what the Jaguars did over the NFL draft.
“Ultimately, this draft will hinge on Bortles development but I see this class as potentially a big win for an up and coming franchise.”
With the additions of Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee, Brugler believes the Jaguars have loaded up on offense.
Another aspect of the draft Brugler loved was the Jaguars' selections on the final day of the draft:
“Jacksonville’s Day Three picks also are going to turn heads as they are each athletes who are very good schematic fits in Gus Bradley’s defense.”
Telvin Smith and Aaron Colvin may be the biggest steals for the Jaguars, and they could be impact players on the defense from the first day.
Chris Burke and Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated: A-
Burke and Farrar liked the Jaguars’ draft but questioned the selection of Blake Bortles:
“The Blake Bortles show. And that pick probably was the hardest to understand.”
However, they also acknowledge the team believes Bortles can come on and be the leader for years to come. That fact alone makes this selection worth it.
With the retooling the team did, Bortles will succeed:
“Getting both Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in Round 2 was remarkable. With Cecil Shorts, they’ll form a dangerous corp capable of shifting looks.”
Translation: This offense is going to be fun to watch.
Shutdown Corner, Yahoo! Sports: A-
“The Jaguars made the most of their Senior Bowl experience, drafting a slew of players they coached in Mobile in the later rounds, including potential steals in Colvin, Telvin Smith and Chris Smith.”
They go on to label Marqise Lee the Jaguars’ best pick:
“Look, let’s not get too cute here. If Blake Bortles turns out to be what the Jags think he is, Bortles will be – by a mile – their best choice. But with value in mind, as things stand now, getting Lee where they did to help this somewhat weaponless offense was huge.”
The worst pick? Brandon Linder:
“Watch: I’ll look like an idiot when Linder becomes an eight-year starter, surviving with his off-the-charts smarts, toughness and desire. He’s just limited physically is all.”
If Linder is the worst pick, the Jaguars did pretty well for themselves in a very important offseason.
Alessandro Miglio, Bleacher Report: A
Like all the rest, Miglio considered Bortles a surprising pick:
“The draft’s first surprise came from the Jaguars who took Blake Bortles out of UCF with the No. 3 overall pick."
He is a hulking quarterback prospect at 6’5” and 232 pounds, at least when compared to diminutive Johnny Manziel and “too skinny” Teddy Bridgewater. […] Bortles offered a tantalizing combination of size, athleticism and potential heading into the draft”
Outside of the Bortles pick, Miglio seemed rather impressed:
“The Jaguars hit on pick after pick in the draft after Bortles, including receivers Marqise Lee out of USC and Allen Robinson out of Penn State.”
The Jaguars definitely deserve this “A” grade after securing a very promising draft class. If everything comes together and Bortles ends up reaching his potential, this draft easily becomes an “A+.”
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