Crafting a draft strategy to turn around a franchise is difficult. You're competing at the highest level against a number of other people with the same goal in mind. And if you're dealing with a roster like the one Dave Caldwell's facing in Jacksonville, you've got an uphill battle.
But, for the second-straight year, I like his plan of attack.
This year it's all about the offense. Blake Bortles was the bold move on Day 1. Dunno if I think he's a lockjob franchise quarterback but Caldwell has experience targeting those guys; if you're Jacksonville you've got to trust him to nail the Bortles pick.
At the very least he's doing his best to support his new franchise quarterback. Friday's two rounds were all about helping out Bortles and I love the plan.
With their first pick the Jaguars picked up the free-falling Marqise Lee. He won't be Keenan Allen 2.0 because Philip Rivers isn't throwing to him. But with Justin Blackmon likely done in Jacksonville he could be an impact receiver. Then Caldwell traded up to grab Allen Robinson of Penn State, giving his young quarterback a complementary pair of weapons to grow with.
And finally he added Brandon Linder to shore up the offensive line. It all hinges on Bortles but picking up the players they did in Rounds 2 and 3 certainly improves the chances of success from their young quarterback.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Their first-day move was grabbing a franchise quarterback in Blake Bortles. Whether or not he's the answer remains to be seen, but Dave Caldwell's making the necessary moves to set him up for success by landing Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee in the second round. Lee's a steal where the Jags landed him and Robinson's an excellent complement as well. They can't really expect much out of Justin Blackmon with the way things are going with his personal situation. They improved defense in the draft last year and attacked offensive production this time around.
Nick Foles, QB, Eagles: Foles lost DeSean Jackson this offseason and it looked like he might have Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper as his primary weapons heading into 2014, particularly when the Saints leapfrogged the Eagles for Brandin Cooks. Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman rebounded nicely on the second day of the draft, grabbing two guys in Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff who should make an impact early. Matthews is a steal to me and will make a major impact at the pro level at some point. Huff played for Chip Kelly at Oregon — he's Chip's first guy taken from his old gig — and shouldn't take long to get acclimated in Philly.
Chicago Bears: Chicago's defense was a massive, massive issue in 2013. They addressed the corner position on the first day by grabbing Kyle Fuller and then wisely went all in on the defensive line during the second day of the draft snagging defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton. The defense isn't hopping in a Deloreon back to 1985 or anything but with Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young combining with the young players at defensive tackle the pass rush is at least interesting.
Oakland Raiders: For the past few years the Bengals flipped the script on their draft narrative. Could Oakland be doing the same thing? Grabbing Khalil Mack at No. 5 was easy on Day 1 but at least Reggie McKenzie did the smart thing. He followed it up very nicely on Day 2, picking up Derek Carr as his quarterback of the future and then helping out the offensive line with Gabe Jackson, a big boy out of Mississippi State who will improve the offensive line. Personally I don't care for the Carr pick but I give McKenzie credit for being patient on the quarterback he wanted and getting him at a good spot of value.
Washington Redskins: The Redskins certainly had a better day than yesterday! Sorry. But really, Washington had a strong showing on Day 2. Morgan Moses at the top of Round 3 feels like absolute thievery. Even if he's not really prepared to play the right side, he's big enough to play the position with some gusto. Trent Murphy's got a motor that doesn't quit and gives the Redskins some flexibility on future decisions involving Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, while also giving them linebacker depth. Spencer Long helps improve the line as well; Robert Griffin III needs more protection and he got it on the second day of the draft.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Browns: Remember the halcyon days of Friday? Back when Mr. Football was slinging the ball to a slew of weapons in Clevleand and the Browns could grab a wide receiver at the top of Round 2? Things unraveled quickly with the news that Josh Gordon could face a one-year suspension and Nate Burleson suffered a broken arm. Burleson will be back by camp but it's just a very Browns thing, you know? On the second day of the draft, the Browns went guard, linebacker and running back.
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: Brady had his worst year in a long time in 2013 but didn't get much help in the second day of the draft. In fact, the only player the Patriots took was Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo. Ryan Mallett's contract is up after a season and Brady is old so they've got to take his successor at some point. But with a team that can still win now it stings a little to burn a second-round pick on a quarterback who might not see the field for three-plus years. For Brady it really stings because it comes at the expense of grabbing someone who could improve the offense.
AFC South offenses: The Texans still haven't found someone to play quarterback but, man, are they going to wreck some havoc in their division. After grabbing Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 pick, Houston circled back to steal Louis Nix with the 83rd overall pick of the draft. Pair those two dudes with J.J. Watt and opposing quarterbacks are going to get some serious heat. The Xavier Su'a Filo pick at the top of the second round was nice too: they're switching offensive schemes and need to get more physical. All told a solid day with three picks for Houston.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals: When Cincy took Jeremy Hill, you know Hue Jackson was behind the move to a degree. He gets to pair the thumping LSU product with Giovani Bernard to create a very nice one-two punch for the Bengals. The only problem is it means the Law Firm could find himself on the unemployment line soon. At the very least he won't be getting nearly as many carries in the foreseeable future.
Georgia Bulldogs: SEC SPEEEEEEEED?
Georgia Southern now with more picks than Georgia.— SB Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) May 10, 2014
Quarterbacks: We expected to see a big run of quarterbacks on Friday ... and we didn't get it. Only Carr and Garoppolo were taken in Rounds 2 and 3 after a trio (Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater) went in the first round. More running backs (7) were taken on Friday than quarterbacks in the first three rounds. Weird, right? We should get a run at some point with Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron, Tom Savage, Zach Mettenberger, David Fales and Logan Thomas all sitting out there.