As teams scramble for one of the two potential franchise quarterbacks available, the NFL Draft is setting up perfectly for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags have the No. 3 pick and defensive end Leonard Williams of USC, a player many consider the best in the draft, could fall in their lap.
Most in the NFL believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select a quarterback with the first pick of the draft and according to SI’s Peter King 80% of NFL people think it will be Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. That means the rest of the teams hoping to score a starting quarterback will be left to fight over Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
The key to the draft is the No. 2 pick, owned by the Tennessee Titans, and nobody knows what they are going to do. The Titans could select whichever quarterback is still on the board. However, they have indicated that they are willing to stick with second-year starter Zach Mettenberger and many draft experts feel they will pass on drafting a quarterback.
The twist here is that Mariota’s stock is starting to rise. This could make the Titans’ pick too valuable to keep as it is the one spot where teams like the New York Jets or Philadelphia Eagles can move to guarantee they will be able to draft a quarterback.
In other words, it is looking more and more like Mariota will be the second player drafted, whether it is by the Titans or another team. If that happens, Williams will still be on the board for the Jaguars with the third pick.
NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. called Williams “the best football player available [and] has the potential to be a force early in his career.”
ESPN’s Todd McShay also calls Williams “the best player in the draft.”
WalterFootball.com refers to Williams as “the top prospect on the board.”
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has similar sentiment, writing that Williams is “the best player in the draft.”
According to one analysis at NFL.com, Williams is the only “Pro Bowl-calibre player” in the draft, receiving a prospect grade of 7.4 (on a scale of 1-10), the only player with a grade of 7.0 or better in the draft.
For comparison, Jameis Winston has a grade of 6.5 (lower end of “chance to become a Pro Bowl-calibre player” range) and Marcus Mariota has a prospect grade of 6.2 (middle of “should become instant starter” range).
The Titans could still pass on a quarterback and trade offers and use the No. 2 pick on Williams. If that happens, the Jags are still in a good position as the value of their pick would suddenly go up as teams will still be looking to move up to take a quarterback.
Another scenario that is possible is the Titans could use the second pick on Winston, a player that fits their style of play, if the Bucs surprise people by drafting Mariota. Under that scenario, Williams once again is still available with the third pick.
No matter what scenario plays out, it is clear that the Jaguars are in a good position with the third pick for what most fans view as a 2-player draft.
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