Most Jaguars fans could at least agree that the two drafts done by Gene Smith as general manager were relatively successful, some would go would farther that. Through two drafts the Jaguars have come away with two starting offensive tackles, two starting defensive tackles, a starting cornerback, a starting receiver, two backup receivers, two backup running backs, a backup tight end and two backup defensive ends. Not a bad haul so far.
It’s safe to say that Smith isn’t in the hot seat and his job is safe. However, it is very likely that the draft set to begin in two days will be a very defining one during his time as general manager and I’d go so far as to say it’s the most important draft of his career.
“Our drafting success will be defined on the field so we have to win more. The only credit we need is winning. Since there are so many variables that play into players’ success or lack of at this level, it really comes down to winning. If we’re winning then we’re doing something right” – Gene Smith
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the Jaguars do not select a quarterback in this year’s draft. Smith hasn’t ruled out the possibility that he’ll go through the draft without drafting a quarterback; however, his answer made it sound like a doubtful scenario, saying only that “it’s possible.” He said his team approaches the draft “trying to come out of it accomplishing certain goals,” but isn’t always able to do that.
In the event that a quarterback for the future is selected, Smith’s success as general manager for the Jaguars will likely be tied to the success of that player. Regardless of how many players he finds in the draft, Smith is right, his success will be defined by the performance on the field and the wins of his team. A whiff at the quarterback position would cripple the team and doom them to a continued era of inability to perform at the highest level.
While he has built the foundation for a championship level team, no position is more crucial to winning the Super Bowl than finding a Super Bowl level quarterback. Is that Locker? Ponder? Kaepernick? I don’t know, but Smith has done his legwork and his legwork better be right. If the quarterback he selects isn’t as good as Smith thinks he is then his first two drafts will be all for naught.