The Jacksonville Jaguars were tied for first place after week 1.
NOT SATISFIED WITH 1-0 😤 pic.twitter.com/blRc4p6J1n
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) September 13, 2020
To say it was downhill from there would have been an understatement.
It was more of a sprint over the edge of a cliff.
The Jags would go on to lose their next 15 games to finish with the leagues’ worst record at 1-15.
As a trophy to commemorate their league-worst finish, the NFL gifted them with the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Pick #1 is just one of their 11 selections they have in the up-coming draft.
With all this draft capital, the Jags were bound to be included in potential trade destinations for disgruntled Houston Texan Deshaun Watson.
We have already discussed what a trade package for Watson might look like, but should the Jaguars throw their hat in the ring?
Fun little hypothetical question: Would the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars be willing to trade Deshaun Watson for the No. 1 pick? Watson to Jacksonville, Trevor Lawrence to Houston. Fair?
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 29, 2021
The first overall pick is far-and-away the most valuable selection so Jacksonville might be able to get away with offering just two first-round picks.
But the question is, should they?
Jaguars Have Never Had Franchise QB
The quarterback is undoubtedly the most important position in football.
To have a realistic chance at winning a Super Bowl, a team needs quality QB play.
Just look at the teams that made the Conference Title games this year:
- Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Tom Brady)
- Buffalo Bills (Josh Allen)
- Kansas City Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes)
All four of those teams have top-10 quarterbacks in the league.
An argument could be made those are four of the top-5 even.
Jacksonville has never had a top-10 QB in franchise history – unless you consider early-2000s’ Mark Brunell a top-10 signal-caller.
They have started six different QBs in the past 3 years.
That is all supposed to change this year with the arrival of Trevor Lawrence, maybe the best QB prospect of the past decade.
Is Trevor Lawrence the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck? Is Justin Fields or Zach Wilson more likely to go at no. 2? Will DeVonta Smith or Ja’Marr Chase be the top receiver off the board?
Find out in our 2021 Draft Guide here: https://t.co/GBycb9FFMU
— The Ringer (@ringer) January 27, 2021
As good as Lawrence could be, Watson is already proven to be good.
However, Lawrence will come on a rookie scale contract.
Last year’s first overall pick Joe Burrow signed for 4-years, $36 million – about $9 million per year.
Watson is about to have his 4-year, $156 million extension kick-in – about $39 million per year.
The AAV isn’t that simple in the NFL, but it is still useful to see the difference.
If Jacksonville were to trade for Watson, they would have ~$30 million less to spend to fill out the rest of the roster.
And they would be sacrificing draft picks that could provide cheap opportunities to add talent.
The proven formula to win in the NFL is to find a franchise QB on his rookie deal and spend big to fill out the rest of the team.
The Jaguars would be better off keeping the pick and moving forward with Lawrence.
Other Holes to Fill
While the QB is the most important position on the field, it is not the only position.
The Jaguars are not a team that is just a QB-away from becoming a playoff contender.
They had the 4th fewest rushing yards behind the 22nd ranked offensive line in the league according to PFF.
While they have some decent interior offensive linemen, their tackles are a weakness.
Jacksonville’s defense has some talented young pieces, but still surrendered the 2nd-most points in the league.
The Jags have holes in both lines, the secondary, and the skill positions in addition to the QB.
Instead of giving up cap space and picks to acquire one player, the Jaguars should focus on stockpiling young talent.
Jacksonville should pass on the opportunity to trade the first pick for Deshaun Watson.
They are still years away from contending given their roster has numerous holes.
Selecting Lawrence and surrounding him with other talented young prospects would give the Jaguars a promising future.