With free agency underway and the draft looming, Jaguars fans are compiling wish lists of players they’d love to see playing in Jacksonville. Chances are the fans will be disappointed because General Manager Dave Caldwell doesn’t seem star struck nor inclined to go for a quick fix.
His approach may not be popular, but it’s the right way to go as far as I’m concerned. The ugly truth about the Jaguars is they are more than two or three players, regardless of their positions, from being competitive. The Jaguars’ needs are numerous and on both sides of the ball. The overused term “rebuilding” does apply in this case.
Caldwell can’t afford many misses in acquiring new players for the next two off-seasons. If he finds some star players, all the better, but more importantly he must find a lot of good, hard working and dedicated players.
He has to build a winning foundation. Such signings won’t grab the headlines, but they will turn losses into victories in a couple of seasons.
The fact the Jaguars have plenty of money to spend under the salary cap ($28 million, 7th most in the NFL) doesn’t mean they should overspend for a handful of players. I think Caldwell needs to replace as much as half the roster. The last thing Caldwell needs to do is sign star players past their prime or Pro Bowlers looking for that one last big payday. He needs to find young players who haven’t reached their potential or been given opportunities elsewhere.
As for the draft, it isn’t nearly as important who he drafts as it is that he drafts players who can immediately contribute to a winning cause. He can’t afford to reach with the No. 2 overall pick on a player because of his position. That shouldn’t be a problem for the Jaguars because they need pass-rushers . . . and defensive linemen . . . and cornerbacks . . . and offensive linemen . . . and linebackers . . . and a tight end . . . and, yes, a quarterback.
If ever there was a team that should follow the “draft the best player available” line of thinking, it is the Jaguars.
That means the Jaguars could draft defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (Florida) or cornerback Dee Milner (Alabama) or outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (Georgia) or offensive tackle Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) or offensive tackle Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M) or defensive end Dion Jordan (Oregon) or guard Chance Warmack (Alabama) or quarterback Geno Smith (West Virginia) or someone else.
(Remember, Gene Smith is no longer the Jaguars GM. That means drafting an SEC player is a possibility.)
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