Jaguars Mailbag: Signs continue to point toward Fournette at 4? How many quarterbacks go in Top 10?

Could the Jaguars trade up or down in the draft? Beat writer Mike Kaye weighs in

With the offseason program underway, the Jaguars are just 10 days away from the 2017 NFL Draft.

As the days dwindle, the anticipation over the team's first round pick grows.

This week's Monday Mailbag features questions regarding the quarterbacks in the draft class, Leonard Fournette and more.

@Loomer100 asks: Listening to Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone talking about physicality and about how important the run game is at EverBank last week, is Leonard Fournette more plausible?

Mike Kaye: I think those comments make drafting a running back early seem more plausible. If the Jaguars wanted Fournette, I doubt they'd tip their hand hard. I think Marrone's comments and Tom Coughlin's comments on the matter were philosophical in nature and not necessarily indicators of their intentions in the draft.

Fournette does make a lot of sense from a philosophical standpoint, there is no doubt about that. I also think Florida State's Dalvin Cook, Tennessee's Alvin Kamara, Oklahoma's Joe Mixon (on the field) and several others fit that mold as well. 

I think Fournette being the favorite at No. 4 makes a lot of sense, but the Jaguars do know how deep this running back class is.

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Robby Knight asks: What took so long to cut Dan Skuta?

MK: I was under the assumption that Skuta was being shopped for a trade during the early parts of free agency. However, he was released with a failed physical designation last week. The Jaguars clearly wanted to move on from him before the start of their offseason program. He wasn't guaranteed any money until the start of the season, so there was no harm in keeping him on the roster until April.

The Jaguars are very strategic with the way they handle roster moves as far as timing is concerned. I think this was a case of letting Skuta heal from his various injuries suffered last season. Those injuries included back, hip and elbow ailments.

 

Kyle H asks: How many quarterbacks drafted in the top ten this year? The more, the better for the Jaguars right?

MK: I wouldn't necessarily say the number of quarterbacks being picked in the Top 10 is a huge positive for the Jaguars. I'd say the number of quarterbacks taken in the Top 3 would be more important. If one or two quarterbacks are selected in the Top 3, the Jaguars will have a shot at one or two of the Top 3 defenders in the draft.

If Stanford's Solomon Thomas or Alabama's Jonathan Allen falls to No. 4, the Jaguars could benefit from selecting either player. They could also draw interest for a trade down as quarterback-needy teams look to grab one of the top guys before it's too late.

If four quarterbacks go in the Top 10, perhaps that pushes a talented tight end or running back into the early second round in theory. If that were to happen and the Jaguars don't address either position at No. 4, that would be advantageous.

To answer the initial question: I'll go with two quarterbacks in the Top 10.

 

Bryan asks: If one of the QBs fall, how likely is it that the Jags trade back into the 20-32 range to take one?

MK: I'm not sure anyone knows the answer but Marrone, Coughlin and Dave Caldwell. I reported that the Jaguars hosted Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes on a visit earlier this month. He is probably going to be drafted in the 10-25 range, if I had to guess. If the Jaguars were so inclined to meet with him, perhaps they'd be willing to jump from No. 35 to No. 26 if he fell out of that range.

I think if you select a quarterback at any point in this draft, you're probably going to have him sit for the first several games of the season or for the entirety of it. For the Jaguars, who already have Blake Bortles, it may make sense to pass on a quarterback at No. 4 but trade up into the end of the first round to secure a potential franchise passer with the fifth-year option.

 

Sigmund Bloom asks: Teams picking at 2, 3, 5, 6 often mentioned as trade down candidates, but not Jacksonville, believe that means that they have clarity on the selection?

MK: I think that has more to do with what I call "pressure points" in the draft. I use that term to describe areas of interest that could force a trade.

For instance, let's look at why those picks are lumped together as potential trade down options:

No. 2: The San Francisco 49ers are in a great spot. Either the first quarterback or Myles Garrett falls to them. Both options offer intrigue for a potential trade down partner. The 49ers could also - in theory - desire a quarterback themselves. Thus, the market kind of sways with what the 49ers decide to do. If they decide to trade away the pick, they'll have a ton of leverage.

No. 3: The Chicago Bears are in a similar situation to San Francisco. However, if the draft loses its top quarterback and Garrett in the first two picks, the Bears' post becomes even more valuable. Typically, when there is a run on a position, other teams scramble to get one of the remaining talents. It would be easy to project that a team like Chicago could take the second quarterback or offer up their pick for a team badly craving a new signal caller.

No. 5: The Tennessee Titans have two first round picks and have two major needs: cornerback and wide receiver. Luckily, the classes for both positions are considered very deep. The Titans pick before the New York Jets, who may want to add the top remaining wide receiver or a quarterback at No. 6. If another team is inclined to nab their top option at wide receiver or jump the Jets for a quarterback, the Titans make a lot of sense as a trade partner.

No. 6: The Jets are a mess. They have the most holes of any team in the league after purging the roster heavily before free agency. They need as much draft ammunition as possible to add bodies to the squad. Seemingly, the Browns could offer a plethora of picks to move from No. 12 to No. 6 if they pass on a quarterback at No. 1.

For the Jaguars at No. 4, the team has already begun to subtly light the fuse for potential trade leverage. They have hosted visits with pretty much every player projected to go in the Top 10. They have hosted Mahomes and Deshaun Watson to acknowledge potential quarterback interest.

If the Jaguars appear to be interested in a quarterback at No. 4 and there is already one quarterback off the board, teams may try to deal with Jacksonville to get their guy before he is gone. If the Jaguars make it seem like they want a quarterback badly, they'll be able to leverage another team to give up more value.

The Jaguars should want to trade out.

For one, it will prevent their AFC South rival, Tennessee, from adding significant value in their own trade down. Two, the draft class is heavy in talent at most of their needs, especially at the top of the draft. 

More folks should peg the Jaguars as a trade down spot. 

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter and ask him your mailbag questions at @Mike_E_Kaye.

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