2020 NFL Draft: Why Utah State Passer Jordan Love Would Be a Questionable Fit for Jaguars
Sometimes, a player is just the wrong fit for a team at the wrong time. He can still be an immensely talented player with loads of potential, but the direction and the short- and long-term goals of a team can impact how well a player would fit as a team's first-round pick.
Utah State head coach Matt Wells left the Moutain West for Texas Tech following the 2018 season, and in his place entered Gary Andersen, a defensive-centric head coach whose staff implemented an offensive scheme that was a stark contrast from the one Love succeeded in as a sophomore.
After creating an abundance of hype thanks to his phenomenal 2018 season, Love regressed in a big way under Andersen and new offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. In only four fewer pass attempts than the year prior, Love completed 61.9% of his passes for 3,402 yards (7.2 yards per attempt) for 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Love created fewer plays, and the mistakes increased at a dramatic rate as he failed to maintain ball security.
This inconsistency as a passer, both in terms of accuracy, decision making, and ability to fit in multiple offenses, has made Love the ultimate boom or bust quarterback prospect. Any team that takes him will have to hope they can refine his pure physical tools and tap into the potential that was vividly on display in 2018, but they will also have to be wary of 2019 Love showing up.
For this reason, Love best fits with a franchise that can sit him on the bench early in his career as he learns the ins and outs of the position and NFL defensive schemes. Just as Mahomes did in 2017, Love would benefit greatly from playing behind a veteran passer in 2020 and serving in a backup role for a season as he refines his game.
While this makes sense for some teams, such as the Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, Las Vegas Raiders and a few others, should the Jaguars be considered a team that can afford to be patient enough for Love to develop?
The Jaguars are in a strictly win-now mode, even if unloading veteran players such as Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye may imply to some that they aren't. But make no mistake, head coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell have each been given the mandate to win in 2020 and to put the failures of the last two seasons behind them.
Because of this, the Jaguars will likely want each of their two first-round selections to be impact players who can help create more wins right away. Of course, having two first-round picks (No. 9 and No. 20) gives the Jaguars the flexibility to take an impact player at No. 9 and then roll the dice later on for a player like Love, but Love simply would not help the Jaguars enough in 2020 for the pick to make sense for either Marrone or Caldwell.
Current starting quarterback Gardner Minshew II has yet to establish himself as the long-term answer at quarterback in Jacksonville despite a solid rookie season, so it is feasible for the Jaguars to potentially upgrade over Minshew in April. But the only scenario in which this move would make sense for the Jaguars would be for the team to take a signal-caller who can start day one and become both the short- and long-term answer.
The Jaguars have plenty of flexibility in this year's draft thanks to a stockpile of picks, but the one thing the team's brass doesn't have on their side is time. Whichever team drafts Love needs to know they will have to be patient in order to get returns on their investment. For Marrone and Caldwell, who may only have 2020, it would be hard to justify taking a project who will likely be ready to make an impact a year from now as opposed to this fall (pending the NFL season starts on time).
Love makes sense for a number of teams who have the ability to wait for their 2020 first-round selection to step on the field and contribute later down the road. The Jaguars, however, are not one of these teams. Jacksonville's flawed roster needs first-rounders who can help the team instantly, and Love doesn't fit this bill despite his incredibly appealing tools and skill set.
It is fair to question if the Jaguars have an answer at quarterback and if they should take one in the first round later this month. But if they do choose to go down the quarterback route, they will need to take a more pro-ready one than Love.