Mailbag Extended Edition: Are the Jaguars setting themselves up to take a QB in the draft?

Jaguars Mailbag: How does FA impact the draft?

The Jaguars have made several moves since the start of free agency.

The team has been active (as expected) and they have addressed several needs. Naturally, fans are curious about how the moves will impact the team's plans for the rest of free agency and the draft.

In this extended edition of the Jaguars Mailbag, we answered eight fan questions. The topics range from the No. 4 overall pick to potential quarterback acquisitions.

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Jeff Albaneze asks: If the Jaguars don't sign Latavius Murray (who is visiting Jacksonville on Monday), and take a defensive lineman at No.4, are you tempted to take Stanford running back Christian McCaffery when he's there at 35? Do you wait on guard until No. 68?

Mike Kaye: I don't think McCaffery will be available at No. 35. For the sake of the question, let's pretend he does get to No. 35. If that happens, you take him. McCaffery is a versatile player who can make plays for this offense. I also think he would be an ideal dump off guy for quarterback Blake Bortles on third down. Again, I don't see him lasting on the board that long, but it would be a huge addition to the offense.

This class will have some talented guards in the 3rd-4th round range. I don't see a problem with waiting on guard if you think Patrick Omameh, Earl Watford, A.J. Cann and Chris Reed are capable of starting this season.

@ReemsMTL asks: Run blocking was a big issue last season. From what I read, it's not new left tackle Branden Albert's main strength either. So how does it improve? Draft?

MK: I'd move incumbent right guard A.J. Cann to the left side. Cann is a terrific pass blocker, but his run blocking has left a lot to be desired. Moving Cann away from the side where the run game is typically favored makes sense. I also think having a consistent presence at both guard spots will help. Left guard was a carousel last season and I think stability can improve the line.

Albert may not be the best run blocking left tackle in football, but he is ridiculously athletic. Being able to get out in front of running backs is a huge asset and Albert has the ability to do that. I also think that with Jermey Parnell potentially being healthier this year, the right side of the line should definitely benefit.

I do think the Jaguars will add an offensive lineman or two in the draft. Youth is important with Parnell and Albert both in their 30s.

Bill McNeal asks: Prioritize the next few extensions in order of importance for the Jaguars: Allen Robinson, Brandon Linder, Telvin Smith and Marqise Lee.

MK: I would say Smith is the most urgent. The Jaguars have paid several defensive free agents and it's important that the team takes care of its own. Smith is one of general manager Dave Caldwell's best finds and I think he was the best player on defense last season. He is among the best weakside linebackers in the league.

Next, I think Robinson is due. He had an outstanding 2015 season, but struggled last year. Those struggles give the Jaguars some leverage. The team is actively trying to improve its roster, so he should bounce back. Getting him to sign now will likely be cheaper than after a bounce back year.

Linder has struggled with injuries, but he has also been the best offensive lineman on the team when healthy. I think it's important to lock him up so you know you have some stability there long-term.

Lee has one successful season in the books. The question the Jaguars have to ask themselves is: "Do we want to pay all three wide receivers?"

I think they are better off waiting to reward Lee.

@Ortapalooza asks: Do you think Cam Robinson is the slightly under the radar name to watch for the Jags at No. 4 in the first round?

MK: In short: no. That said, I do think they could have interest in a guy like Western Kentucky's Forrest Lamp as a trade up option in the late-first round. Robinson is a guard in my view point and I don't think the value is there to take him at No. 4. If the team trades back to No. 16, that would make more sense.

@IrishJaguar asks: If they were to sign both Dontari Poe (also visiting Monday) and Murray, who makes sense at No. 4 in April? (Editor's Note: We received this question in some form or fashion roughly a dozen times)

MK: I would still say Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas if he is available. The Jaguars are clearly focused on adding more and more punch to the defensive line. Thomas can play nearly every position and is scheme versatile. I think he makes the most sense.

If he is gone, I think you go after LSU safety Jamal Adams. While Barry Church was signed to start at strong safety, you always need to protect yourself. Tom Coughlin knows that and I think Adams would be a good long-term strong safety.

@TerenceLHayes asks: With the revamped defensive line &  offensive line additions, is LSU RB Leonard Fournette a clear-cut option at No. 4 to boost the ground game & help Blake Bortles?

MK: I think a lot depends on the rest of free agency. Drafting a running back at No. 4, especially in this draft, would be interesting from a value perspective. I think you can get a starting running back in the first three rounds. Fournette is the best in a very good class, but I think you're best off getting an impact player on defense at No. 4 and then look at running back later.

Tony Mathis asks: Doesn't it seem like Coughlin is setting up to pick a QB?

MK: This is a good question. I don't think the team will jump at a quarterback at No. 4. I do think they will add a rookie quarterback at some point in this draft. I could see them having interest in California quarterback Davis Webb or Pittsburgh's Nathan Peterman in the third round. 

The Jaguars have added eight players (as of Monday morning) and attacked several needs, so perhaps the offseason goal is to grab a backup plan for Bortles.

Sam Saville asks: Bigger impact in 2017: A.J. Bouye or Calais Campbell?

MK: I think for Bouye to make an impact, Campbell has to be the answer to this question. Over the last two seasons, Jaguars cornerbacks have had to cover wide receivers and tight ends for way too long. If Campbell can help create consistent pressure, Bouye will pad his statistics and be able to handle his responsibilities in coverage.

I do think Campbell will excel in Todd Wash's scheme. He will be a good bookend for Yannick Ngakoue and a strong rotational presence with Malik Jackson.

Tweet your questions to Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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