The Jacksonville Jaguars have several needs heading into this year's NFL Draft.
While most of its holes are on defense, it may be wise to continue to build the team's offense, especially in the later rounds of the selection process.
The Jaguars saw the eye-opening improvement of starting quarterback Blake Bortles last season and recently re-signed backup Chad Henne to a two-year deal. The quarterback position, on the surface, is a non-issue.
Jacksonville has gone to war with just Bortles and Henne on the active roster over the last two seasons. However, while the team has its top two spots solidified, the development of a "backup in waiting" has alluded the squad.
The team had little success with the likes of Matt Scott, Stephen Morris and Jeff Tuel over the last three seasons. While it seems like the team would like to develop an eventual successor to the high-priced Henne, it has failed to do so.
Luckily, this is considered a quality draft for backup, developmental quarterbacks. While draft junkies dwell on Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Connor Cook, the rest of the field seems poised to be appealing from a project standpoint.
Quarterbacks like NC State's Jacoby Brissett, Indiana's Nate Sudfeld, Mississippi State's Dak Prescott and Arkansas' Brandon Allen all offer long-term potential if developed properly and could be had on Day 3. Others like Louisiana Tech's Jeff Driskell, Oregon's Vernon Adams and Alabama's Jake Coker may even be available as undrafted free agents.
Former New England Patriots executive and current Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn believes drafting a quarterback every few years is a smart play for any NFL franchise.
"I think it’s really good football business to acquire a young quarterback every year or every other year," Quinn said to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. "There’s such a value in the position and nowadays in college football there’s a lot of spread offenses, which means it’s a lot different than pro football. So it takes these young quarterbacks time to develop. So if you can add a young quarterback every year or every other year to your roster, it’s good football business in my mind. So you have time to develop them, either on the practice squad or as a backup, before eventually them having to play in a game."
Quinn comes from a New England franchise that has consistently developed and traded quarterbacks for future value. The Patriots have spent draft picks on the likes of Matt Cassel and Ryan Mallett and later traded them for compensation.
The Jaguars are in a position now where the team has figured out the starting quarterback position and can afford to take on a developmental prospect to be Bortles' long-term backup.
With eight draft picks, most of which will likely to be spent on defense, the team may look to invest a selection on a promising passer. The Jaguars have two sixth round picks (one coming from the Pittsburgh Steelers trade involving former kicker Josh Scobee) and after spending their earlier picks in an effort to improve in the trenches and at linebacker, it would make sense to select for value.
Jacksonville has tried to get by with "camp arms" on the practice squad throughout Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley's tenure and none have offered any glimpse of staying power. With Henne signed to a two-year deal, perhaps now is the time to plan ahead and find the guy to eventually replace him on the cheap.
Within the Jaguars' division last season, the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans all had to use at least three quarterbacks in regular season games due to injuries. Quarterbacks are passing more these days, opening themselves up for more hits, bumps and bruises.
It is logical for the Jaguars to use foresight given the battered and bruised examples that hit close to home in the AFC South. Adding to those instances is the fact that there are some pretty solid options on the board, especially in the later rounds.
Will the Jaguars pull the trigger on a quarterback in Day 3? It remains to be seen, but there is little denying that planning ahead at the league's most important position makes a ton of sense.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.