NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars

Where do the Jacksonville Jaguars go from here?

This has been a year that the Jacksonville Jaguars and their fans won’t soon forget, and for all the wrong reasons. What started off as breath of fresh air has turned into that air going stagnant and stale and just downright putrid. This year stinks and with no end in sight, just how much worse can it get? Well I’m not here for that. I’m not going to do the easy thing and bash this team. That just wouldn’t be fair. This teams’ fans deserve better than that and that’s what I intend to do.

The Jags actually have a good future building if people will be patient with the team. Owner Shad Khan, while in London for their upcoming game against the San Francisco 49ers, gave an impromptu “State of the Union” address about the Jags. While definitely not sunshine and rainbows, it’s not all doom and gloom either. Khan knew that despite sacrificing a year, gutting this team and getting rid of some bad culture was the only way to go. The results are painfully obvious to see right now, but in time, that is the better overall way of re-building a team. The team traded Eugene Monroe, a pretty decent offensive tackle, for future draft picks and with those extra picks, the Jaguars have 10 in the upcoming draft. That’s the most this team has had in a very long time. Picking the correct players is the ultimate endgame, but that is a lot of ammunition for a team that is rebuilding.

In this draft, draft experts like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are already comparing the QB class of this year to the 1983 class that produced such talent as Dan Marino, Jim Kelley and John Elway. The Jaguars have a desperate need for a QB. Neither Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne will be the future here after this year and GM Dave Caldwell is sure to take a QB at some point in this draft. Where, still remains to be seen as the draft plays out, but with those 10 picks, some wheeling and dealing could be done to fit a variety of scenarios. Sitting at 0-7, the first overall pick is staring the Jaguars in the face as well. The Jags don’t have to choose a QB at number one overall if they don’t like one there. The flexibility those extra picks provide means they could get back in to the bottom of round one if they choose to go with a DE instead, at number one. Again, way too far out to project scenarios, but by doing that, you can start to see the Jaguars future and where it will play out.

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This year the Jaguars will have to be big players in Free Agency. They are, right now at least, 30 million under the cap. A few veterans who are eating cap space will be released or allowed to become free agents and that will free up even more money to spend. I expect to see the Jaguars to be very active there and spending some money along the offensive line to shore that area up so a young, talented rookie QB can thrive to make the throws to talented, young WR’s Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts and Ace Sanders. A few more playmakers on the defense and few more talented rookies to back them up and learn and you have the basic building blocks of a good team on the rise, next year.

But it took a visionary owner to see all of this and a courageous one to actually do it. The Jaguar fan-base is lucky to have both in one guy, Shad Khan. His willingness to tear it down and try to build it the right way had not been seen in Jacksonville. Oh sure the cynics will say they’ve been rebuilding for the past decade, but when have they actually traded veterans for future picks? When did they let go of so many people and then not bring in the talent necessary? When have they not spent big in free agency only to have it blow up in their face? This is a complete tear down. It was needed, and it will be for the better, but it is painful. I know. I am a season ticket holder. I‘ve seen it all first hand. I’ve said to myself that this has to be different. This feels different. This is different. It has to be.

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