With just six games left in the 2020 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars are inching closer and closer to ending what has been a nightmare season and beginning what is a likely to be an offseason of transition and change.
That type of change is the primary topic in this week's mailbag, an edition in which we take questions from our readers on social media. Which players make sense? What will happen to the current regime? These questions and more are answered here.
Q: What are 3 players that you would earmark as possibilities for the Jags' second 1st round pick?
Three names I want to say right now: Kyle Pitts, Christian Barmore, and Christian Darrisaw. Tight end, defensive line, and offensive tackle could all very well be major needs if the Jaguars don't invest in the positions during free agency. I know people love to say there is no way Pitts falls to Jacksonville's second pick, but I have learned by now to never say never when it comes to the draft and landing spots, especially when it comes to tight ends.
Q: Does the extra year of financial security given to first-round picks mean the Jags should wait on TE and focus on QB and a more premium position (CB/LT/DL) in the first?
Well I think the Jaguars need to target impact players no matter what with their first two picks and absolutely need to select a quarterback with their first pick. If the Jaguars don't like the options at those key positions you mentioned by the time their second pick comes along, I think Kyle Pitts would make sense. Otherwise, I do think the Jaguars should wait on that position until at least after the first.
Q: James Robinson has clearly been the biggest undrafted signing of the NFL this year. He is signed to a 3-year contract. If he can continue to show that he is a workhorse, an effective NFL back, and stay healthy, do you see him getting a contract more in line with RB1 terms?
While drafted players can't sign to a new deal until after their third season, undrafted players can get a contract extension after two seasons. This means Robinson just has to put in one more season of playing before he gets a payday. If he has a year in 2021 that is like 2020, I can't imagine the Jaguars not giving him a deal that is much more appropriate for his talent and production. They will have the cap flexibility to do so, after all.
Q: Do you think we'll ever stop being bad?
Lol, sure I do. They just have to hit on the quarterback and, perhaps to a slightly smaller degree, a head coach. Those are big tasks and two things they have failed to do in some time, but other teams have done it and improved. Look at the Dolphins, for example. It can be done. It isn't a lock, but there is a chance.
Q: Outside of QBs, do you have any favorite prospects that might help the Jags?
Trey Smith (Tennessee) is a fantastic guard who I think can step in and make an impact from day one. Christian Barmore (Alabama) is a tremendously-gifted defensive tackle with a sky-high ceiling. Carlos Basham Jr. (Wake Forest) makes sense if they want to go all-in on defensive ends. Shaun Wade (Ohio State) is a corner who is a logical fit due to his experience on the outside and inside. Rondale Moore (Purdue) may be a luxury pick but he is a dynamic receiver who can help the offense reach new heights. Finally, Alex Leatherwood (Alabama) and Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech) are two offensive tackles who could play left tackle as rookies in the event the Jaguars don't extend Cam Robinson.
Q: Do Marone and Caldwell stay the whole year?
I do not think Doug Marrone does. I have said it every time someone has asked, but I think he won't be the head coach by a few days before Christmas at the latest. Caldwell is a tougher one. It makes sense to fire them as a pair, but the Jaguars have also kept Caldwell on for a long time at this point. What is a few more weeks, if not longer?
Q: Biggest need no one seems to talk about?
A backup running back for James Robinson. Robinson is terrific and has been the MVP of the 2020 squad, but the Jaguars can't afford to continue to give him the ball at historically high rates past this year. Keeping him healthy is important, but so is adding a more explosive and speedy element to the offense at times.
Q: Is Justin Fields still the pick at 2?
If the draft was today, he is who I think the Jaguars would take.
Q: Do you believe the 11 picks will be made by Dave Caldwell or a new GM?
Right now? A new GM, but I am not married to the answer. I go back and forth on it a lot. Caldwell is a very good and well-respected scout and evaluator of talent, but his first coaching hire was historically bad and he has made a few questionable moves since. Essentially, neither result would surprise me.