The Jaguars are one of the teams interested in Kansas State gunslinger Josh Freeman, but where does he actually fit in their draft plans? Most mock drafts have Freeman going somewhere between the 15th and 20th picks overall, and with the ever increasing likelihood of either Mark Sanchez or Matt Stafford being available when the Jags pick at number eight, it seems as if the team could be jockeying for position to potentially move back in round one.
For a team in the Jaguars situation, the idea of moving back to acquire more draft picks is certainly an attractive notion, especially considering the massive amount of depth, as well as the lack of top-line talent in this draft. But at what cost?
It is conceivable that a team could want to move up to select a Matt Stafford or a Mark Sanchez, possibly the New York Jets or Tampa Bay Bucs, but what would the actual cost be for Jacksonville? Sanchez and Stafford are clearly the two best quarterback prospects in this draft, but how much better will they be than Josh Freeman, who’s the consensus third-best quarterback? College Football News columnist Hunter Ansley dubbed Freeman as a “physical freak,” and had this to add—
There’s not a quarterback in the entire draft with the total package of physical tools that Freeman possesses. He’s 6-06 250 pounds, has an arm that could have tossed Kevin Costner farther than the catapult used in Robin Hood, and he moves surprisingly well. He’s taken some heat for his low TD numbers, but Freeman’s got loads of experience in a pro-style system and never had the talent around him that someone like Mark Sanchez did. It’s a good thing he’s so big; he put the whole Kansas State team on his back every Saturday.
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If the Jags were able to pull off a deal to move back, they would be giving up yet another opportunity to select a potential franchise signal caller, as they did with Ben Roethlisberger, Brady Quinn, and Chad Henne. Would going from Sanchez to Freeman be worth an extra pair of third round draft picks?
Although the Jaguars certainly need more draft picks, as they are in complete rebuilding mode, it shouldn’t come at the possible expense of a franchise quarterback. Although some teams have won Super Bowls with non-Hall of Fame quarterbacks, a franchise quarterback can put you in position to win a title year in and year out. Many people site examples of Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson winning championships, but those examples are few and far between. If you look at this past year’s playoffs, it’s abundantly clear that quarterback play was the defining factor. 10 of the 12 starting playoff quarterbacks were former first-round picks, and two of those were rookies.
“It’s a quarterback driven league,” NFL Films producer Greg Cosell said. “You had Warner, who is a special quarterback, and you had Roethlisberger, who in his own way is a special quarterback. He’s a little unconventional, but he’s won more games in five years than any other quarterback and two Super Bowls. At the end of the day, it’s a quarterback driven league.”
It’s no sure thing that either Mark Sanchez or Matt Stafford will be a franchise, Peyton Manning type of quarterback, and it’s not a sure thing that either will be a better quarterback than Josh Freeman, as all three are underclassmen. Still, it’s a risky move to pass on yet another quarterback if you’re a team like Jacksonville.