No team in the NFL other than the Cleveland Browns has quite had the run of incompetence at the quarterback position like the Jacksonville Jaguars.
From failed free agents, first-round draft picks failing in historical fashion, or cinderella stories that go off the rails, the Jaguars have seen it all at the quarterback position over the last decade-plus.
They have seen everything but a franchise passer, that is. Six quarterbacks have started for the Jaguars over the last three years, a total mismanagement of the position that has led the team to a 12-36 record in that period.
As a result, new head coach Urban Meyer knows the most important steps he takes with his team will be the steps he takes toward finding a franchise quarterback. He also knows the three biggest options to be his next franchise quarterback are Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State's Justin Fields, and BYU's Zach Wilson, any of whom the team could pick with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“You see Trevor, you see Justin, you see Zach," Meyer said Friday when asked about his thoughts on the quarterback class.
"Who we pick at that quarterback spot, that’s going to be one of the most important decisions I’ve made in my lifetime, along with the partnership of our owner and general manager. The ones that are out there, my initial study, because I have been studying a lot, I like to use the term elite, I see some elite quarterbacks out there right now.”
So, no pressure. Just one of the most important decisions of Meyer's lifetime and of the entire existence of the Jaguars.
The debate has raged for the last month whether the Jaguars would still take Lawrence, who has been a presumptive No. 1 overall pick since he was a freshman, and even likely sometime before then.
Due to Meyer's affiliation with Ohio State, some have wondered if Meyer would buck tradition and select Fields over Lawrence. While this is highly unlikely, it doesn't change the fact that Meyer is singing the same tune that Jaguars owner Khan was just 11 days ago when he talked about the importance of finding the type of franchise quarterback that has evaded the franchise.
"As Shad said, this is a monumental moment for this franchise and we’ve seen some franchises explode and we’ve seen others fail," Meyer said Friday.
"I’ve said this many times throughout my career, when the NFL says it’s a quarterback league I would say well so is college and so is high school and so is Pop Warner. It’s a quarterback sport. So whoever takes that snap we have got to be right on."
Meyer is right. The Jaguars can not afford to miss on the No. 1 overall pick for a multitude of reasons. Meyer needs to hit the ground running with his new team to ensure full buy-in from the locker room, and the best way to do that is to find a leader for the roster at the quarterback position.
We have seen the Jaguars make the wrong decision at quarterback countless times in recent years. From passing up on elite talents to investing in mediocre ones who never really had a shot, the Jaguars have never figured out the sport's most important role.
That is a big reason why Meyer is now in Jacksonville. For his regime to succeed, it will need to answer the quarterback question that no other Jaguars coach since Tom Coughlin was able to answer.
And having the chance to use that top pick on any of these quarterbacks, with Lawrence being the runaway favorite, is a big reason why Meyer felt it was the right for him to not only get back into coaching, but to make the leap from college to the NFL.
"Huge. I think Shad and the organization is positioned, and it’s not by accident," Meyer said about the impact of the No. 1 pick on his decision.
"I think it’s primed to put together a good team. I think, Gene, we know each other, and people that know me, I’m not going to jump into a situation where I don’t believe we can win. I won’t do that."