Happy Draft-mas Eve, everyone. #DraftTwitter is absolutely blowing up with speculation. Make sure you follow @aacameron1 for draft reaction tomorrow night, by the way. I’ll be following it until it gets boring (so, mid-teens or so) and giving capsule reactions to the top 10 for sure, as well as the pick the Jaguars make.
Once Thursday is shuffled off into that great night for another year, and Draft Weekend is complete, I’ll have some analysis available early next week, in plenty of time for you to be completely tired of reading draft analysis.
So why am I writing this, when I just last week made some observations about the draft? It’s because the narrative has become too strong for the Jaguars, and I can’t say what I want to say in the realm of Twitter in a coherent fashion.
I’m moving off the Dalvin Cook bandwagon; for whatever reason, he appears to have dropped down many draft boards. If the Jags do take him, I will be very pleasantly surprised, but I’m not seeing it happen.
No, the more and more I think about it, the more I want to change my pick, and it depends largely on what happens in front of the Jaguars. The Browns should not move off of Myles Garrett at 1. The Niners should take Solomon Thomas. The Bears are way, way more of a wild card. They need defensive help and may go that way, but they also could surprise everyone except for a couple of local beat writers (and me!) and take a QB. Anyone with half a brain dismissed the Mike Glennon signing as a stopgap move. However, a lot of mock drafts have them high on Malik Hooker.
Anyway, I’m changing my pick to Deshaun Watson. Let me tell you why.
It is ludicrous to expect the kind of turnaround in Blake Bortles that everyone is expecting to happen after his season last year. No player in NFL history has regressed to the point where they were able to return to some sort of form after playing so badly. The most recent case of this that I can find is Jake Delhomme. Jake Delhomme started for a few years in Carolina and then was injured. His playing ability took a shot due to injury and probably his mental situation, he thought he could leave the Panthers and go to the Browns but he was still bad there, and he got drummed out of the league pretty quickly.
Blake Bortles threw at multiple peoples’ feet in multiple games in the 2016 season. He never looked confident, and he never looked like he knew he could win the games. Whenever there was an interception or a botched play, he didn’t seem to ever recover. Bortles lost multiple games for the Jaguars last year. I am pretty sure that Gus Bradley somehow broke Bortles, using kid gloves with him and letting him “learn from his mistakes” instead of working to turn him into a winner.
If Tom Coughlin, Doug Marrone, and Dave Caldwell want to “win now,” and it can clearly be seen that they have shorn up several gaps in their defense by the way they spent in free agency, then the answer doesn’t lie at running back; the line is still being developed and this draft is deep with running backs. The answer doesn’t lie in offensive line at pick 4; there’s not enough talent there to justify that high of a pick. The draft is also deep in tight ends and while O.J. Howard warrants at least a look, I don’t think they go in that direction.
The Jaguars should draft Deshaun Watson. Yes, a quarterback.
BB5 is not the answer. Does this mean he needs to be traded? Probably; you can’t draft a round one QB and not expect your round one QB who is a bust from 4 years ago to be happy.
Watson has played in 2 national championship games and won one. Watson led his team in a two-minute come-from-behind victory drive to win a national championship. Watson recovers from interceptions and bad plays, shakes them off, and moves on. Watson is mobile enough to extend plays behind a developing/gelling line. Watson has great delivery and has worked with tall, physical and speedy receivers like the Jaguars have. It makes too much sense to not happen.
Watson is a smart kid, too. He completed his degree at Clemson within 3 years. He isn’t technically coming out early; he’s actually done with college. I am impressed by that. I’m also impressed by this:
2015-2016 Orange Bowl: 189 yards and 1 TD passing; 145 yards and 1 TD rushing
2015-2016 Championship (Clemson loss): 405 yards and 4 TDs passing; 73 yards rushing
2016-2017 Fiesta Bowl: Shut out Ohio State; 259 yards and 1 TD passing
2016-2017 Championship (Clemson win): 420 yards and 3 TDs passing including game winner
I may be crazy, but the more I think about it, the more I dive into it, the more I see it happening and the more it makes sense.
See you on Twitter in about 30 hours, when I am proved to be totally wrong and this article completely unnecessary.