To QB or not to QB

That is the question for two teams who currently sit at no 6 and no 7 in the forthcoming NFL Draft – the NY Giants and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both sides are in need of an upgrade in the QB position; either to plug-and-play from day 1 (Jags) or to sit and learn on the sidelines and then take the reins in the second season (Giants).

Before we look at the draft options, would either side consider taking someone in free agency? Perhaps a Nick Foles or Teddy Bridgewater or Joe Flacco? The biggest factor in this decision may well be the cap space each team has available. For the Jags, the answer to this is ‘not much’ as they sit $3M over at this point in time – granted something of that will be jettisoned once the likes of Blake Bortles is sent on his merry way out of Jacksonville. Also, let’s not forget John DeFilippo newly installed as OC at the Jags – working with Nick Foles at the Eagles during the run to Super Bowl LII already on the CV. I still think the cap space issue may be the biggest deciding factor here though and it may push the Jags towards the draft.

For the Giants, cap space is not so much of an issue (around $30M to play with) and they hold a ton of draft picks (as many as 11) which could be offered up. The sticking point for me here is the ‘sell’ to the NYG fans and media (more pressure than in Jacksonville). I don’t think a Foles, Flacco, Bridgewater signing will be seen as any sort of ‘coup’ for the franchise and as other teams have signed up all these new young, fast, athletic, multipurpose QBs that prosper now in the league I think those associated with NYG will be saying ‘get me one of those’! In the case of Foles I doubt the Eagles will let him pop across to a divisional rival.

So, let’s turn to the draft. It is well documented that the 2019 class is not as strong as 2018 in the QB position – but it has been spiced up of late with the declarations from the likes of Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State) and Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) which have definitely caught the imagination of the NFL world. I’d expect most of the chatter around potential first round QBs to revolve around them primarily. The 2019 draft is well stocked in other positions on the board but it always seems to be the QBs, naturally, that generate most attention.

Taking all this into account, it is almost as though the needs of each team don’t match their situation. The Giants have some cash to splash but can afford to go with the draft and sit the rookie behind Eli until necessary (ideally in a situation like the Chiefs have managed with Mahomes sitting behind Alex Smith initially), The Jags are stretched for cap space but really need to plug their new guy in from day one (more like a free agency move). Then take into account the teams other current needs on the roster (Giants need to improve O-line, pass rush, secondary. Jags need more options on offense and to tie up defensive talent to new contracts).

It is certainly a predicament for the respective GMs and front office staff. A lot will depend on free agency and the moves both teams choose to make – this will lead to a much clearer picture when late April rolls around. I have a feeling that both teams will enter the draft with a potential starter at QB on the roster (Eli for NYG, who knows for Jags!) but at the draft, when their numbers are called, don’t be surprised if either team takes a QB who they think could lead their franchise into the future.

FInally, throw into the mix that certain other teams are also in potential need of a QB and they lie in wait just a few spots behind the Jags in the draft order – Broncos at 10, Bengals at 11 and Dolphins at 13 (possibly Redskins at 15 too). Don’t be surprised to see any of these trading up to leapfrog into the top 6 if they think it is justified. That would spice things up a bit on what I think could be a dramatic first night of the 2019 NFL draft.

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