While we continue to march through the 2020 season, we will take looks at mock drafts from throughout the football industry to reflect on what outside projections for the Jacksonville Jaguars look like.
The Jaguars currently hold the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, along with the Los Angeles Rams first-round pick as a result of the Jalen Ramsey trade. As of this writing, the Jaguars have 11 picks in the upcoming draft.
We don't yet know who will be the one making personnel decisions for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021, but we do know the executive will likely prioritize finding a franchise quarterback.
The Jaguars haven't had a bonafide franchise quarterback for most of the franchise's existence, but especially during Shad Khan's tenure as owner. Since then he has seen the Jaguars swing and miss on first-round picks (Blake Bortles), high-priced free agents (Nick Foles), and even the underdogs (Gardner Minshew).
The Jaguars going 0-for-3 on their attempts to find their signal-caller of the future is a big reason why general manager Dave Caldwell was fired by Khan following Sunday's 27-25 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Caldwell's 39-87 record was largely a result of these failures at the most important position in sports.
This begs the most important question for whoever the next Jaguars general manager will be: how are they going to find a quarterback?
With the Jaguars currently on track to pick No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, chances are their options in April will be between Ohio State's Justin Fields, BYU's Zach Wilson, and North Dakota State's Trey Lance.
The debate between these three young signal-callers will rage until the day of the draft unless the Jaguars somehow overtake the Jets for the No. 1 overall pick. Opinions will vary throughout the league and media until the Jaguars turn in their card.
In an effort to see what those throughout the football world think about the options currently facing the Jaguars at quarterback, and elsewhere, we break down a mock draft pick for the Jaguars via The Athletic's Dane Brugler.
No. 2 overall: BYU QB Zach Wilson
In a first-round mock draft from Brugler, the veteran draft writer opted to give the Jaguars what many would consider a surprise pick. Brugler projected the Jaguars to take Zach Wilson, bypassing Fields, Lance, and other prospects such as Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell.
Nobody has done more to improve their draft stock in 2020 than Wilson. Wilson was likely on NFL radars before 2020, but it is what he has done this fall that has likely made him a lock to be picked in the first round once April rolls around. But has he done enough to be considered in the top-2 and over a player like Fields?
In short, maybe. Why? Because while Fields is a supremely talented prospect in his own right, Wilson has played flawlessly this year and has flashed the type of skill set that teams have found success with at the quarterback position in recent years.
BYU's strength of schedule is obviously low considering they have played Navy, Troy, Louisiana Tech, Texas San-Antonio, Houston, Texas State, Western Kentucky, Boise State, and North Alabama. But Wilson can't control who he plays -- he can only control what he does. And what he has done has been nothing short of jaw-dropping. Add in the fact that past small-school quarterbacks have found success in Josh Allen and Carson Wentz before 2020, and the strength of argument schedule should be moot.
In nine games this year, Wilson has completed 176-of-237 passes (74.3% completion) for 2,724 yards (11.5 yards per attempt, 13.3 adjusted yards per attempt), along with 26 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. This has given him a 205.3 passing rating. He is a dual-threat as well, using his quickness to record 51 rushes for 191 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and 8 touchdowns.
Wilson has just two games all season where he has completed fewer than 71% of his passes, while only having a rating of below 205 twice: a 177.1 rating vs. Texas San-Antonio and a 139.7 rating vs. Western Kentucky. He is third in the nation in completion percentage, touchdown passes, yards per attempt, adjusted yards per attempt, and passing efficiency rating. Simply put, there isn't much more he could do to play better than he is right now.
But the primary question here isn't about Wilson's talent. It is about whether he would be the smart pick over Fields, who has long been thought of as the natural No. 2 quarterback in this year's draft class behind Clemson's Trevor Lawrence.
The two are similar in some ways; each has the athleticism to make plays out of the pocket and on designed runs. Both have plenty of natural arm talent. Wilson is more wiry in terms of his frame than Fields, but he is also better at throwing from multiple platforms and finding open receivers at each level of the field. Meanwhile, Fields is better as a pure pocket passer and has impeccable down-to-down accuracy.
In short, the two are close. Each are good quarterback prospects who have legitimate chances to turn into franchise quarterbacks. The question of which quarterback the Jaguars should take will rely on preference and fit.
Whoever the Jaguars bring in at head coach and general manager will be pivotal to deciding who the best option is between Fields and Lawrence. The Jaguars need to know what kind of player and leader they are looking for and how they can fit this year's prospects to their new regime's specifics.
While the debate between Wilson and Fields has no real answer now, it is at least notable to see some major players in the NFL Draft industry feel comfortable with having Wilson ranked first. For the Jaguars, having a hard decision like this one is the best-case scenario.