Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm off now to write for Big Cat Country. Check me out there. It's been fun, but I'm sure we'll meet again, right?

Who is "The Man?" - Cristian Ponder

Christian Ponder has been picked as "the quarterback most likely to be taken by the Jaguars." That's a mouthful isn't it? This guy is all about fitting the pick to the player. He's not worth the 16th pick of the draft. He may be worth trading up in the 2nd round to get, however. He shows a lot of upside. Let's continue.



Ponder's arm is very good in the short to middle distances. The problem is, he tends to let the ball flutter on the deeper routes. That's not to say his arm isn't adequate. His decision making is good too. Look at the picture above. He's looking at his receiver and leading him. Some quarterbacks find the receiver, then look ahead and "aim" the ball. Ponder shows here that he knows how to hit those middle range, crossing routes. Those throws are the bread and butter of the Jaguars' passing game, and it's essential that the next quarterback for the Jaguars can make those throws.

As I've said in a previous article, Ponder would be a popular pick in Jacksonville. This factor won't influence Gene Smith's pick, but it's notable in the regard that it could help the Jaguars sell out some games instead of just avoiding blackouts. Look, there's only one guy that can be "the man." This guy has the tools to do that. His style is also fitting for the Jaguars' offense. Personally, I think that Mallett at 16 would be a good pick, but Ponder in the early 2nd or even late 1st would be a popular, and progressive step forward for the Jaguars.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Who is "The Man?" - Jake Locker

Jake Locker would have been the first pick in the draft last year. He has the look and feel of a pro quarterback. He has good mechanics, range, and accuracy. This past year, his performance fell off a bit, but he also had an admirable bowl victory over Nebraska. That being said, is he right for the Jaguars?



I could see the Jaguars trying to go after Locker. Like many of the other quarterbacks in this year's draft, he needs time to develop. I could even see GM Gene trading up to get a guy like locker. No, he won't pay a king's ransom to get him, but if Gene Smith likes what he sees, why not go get him?

Locker's numbers were nothing special in 2010. He had 17 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, and just 2265 yards. Those are okay, but they don't astound anyone right? Unfortunately for Locker, he played at Washington. Locker led his team to a 7-6 record which is pretty impressive considering the lack of tallent he was surrounded by. I don't honestly think the Jaguars will end up with Locker, but he would be a legitimate option should he slide to number 16.
Starting immediately, I will also be writing for bigcatcountry.com. That doesn't mean I won't be writing here too, but it will be less frequent. Thanks for your support, and check me out over there.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who is "The Man?" - Colin Kaepernick

Kaepernick is another big guy. He is 6'6", 225 pounds. Kaepernick is a classic "scrambler" at the quarterback position. That being said, he has a lot of utilities at his disposal.



Kaepernick has very good speed. He moves well in the pocket, and he's always a threat to pull the ball down and run for the open field. He also has the ability to put a nice touch on many of his passes, especially the short ones. Kaepernick completed nearly 65% of his passes in 2010 on his way to 3022 passing yards. He also ran for 1206 yards. That's the definition of dual threat.

Kaepernick certainly has upside, but he also has some downside. First off, he has a long delivery that needs to be fixed. He lowers the ball almost to his hip before starting his arm on its forward motion. He also played in a pistol offense. He'll need to learn to take snaps from under center as well as relying more on his arm. I don't see a team wanting to spend a lot of money on a running back that can pass (as opposed to a quarterback that can run).

Kaepernick is intriguing to me, but I don't see the Jaguars taking him. There's too much uncertainty, and he hasn't proven himself as a viable starter in a pro-style offense. He would make a decent backup for someone, but I honestly don't get why everyone wants this guy. I'll take a drop-back passer with no mobility before taking a guy that relies so heavily on the ground game. In short, when the game is on his shoulders late in the game, the defense will play a quarterback contain with a spy, and Kaepernick will have no where to go. I'll go on the record as saying that this guy is over-hyped, but who knows, he could surprise us all.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is Maurice Jones-Drew the Best in the NFL?

I wonder, should this article be called "Is Maurice Jones-Drew the Best in the AFC South?" Really, Chris Johnson, Arian Foster, and Maurice Jones-Drew make it the best division in football in terms of running backs. Outside of those three, Adrian Peterson is the only other running back in the league that gives Jones-Drew a run for the best RB in the league.



Arian Foster led the league with 1,616 yards in 2010. Maurice Jones-Drew finished fifth with 1,324 yards. The difference? Jones-Drew did it with a bum knee, a loaded box, and without Andre Johnson. Did I just say Andre Johnson? Yes, the man demands attention and respect from the defense. Matt Schaub commands respect too. Teams knew they had to stop the pass to beat the Texans. That opened up a lot of room for Foster to run. My conclusion, Jones-Drew wins out.

Onward now to Chris not-quite-2k5-Johnson. He edged Jones-Drew in yards by only 40, and he didn't show the ability to gash everyone he came up against as he did last year. Chris Johnson wasn't able to move the ball against a loaded box. Without the passing game to support him, Johnson was still affective, but his performance did fall off. David Garrard does help Jones-Drew out. He is always a threat to scramble, and he's one of the best quarterbacks in the league when he's on his "A" game. Again, I'll take Jones-Drew for his combination of speed and power.

Finally, we move on to Adrian Peterson. Peterson mustered 26 yards less than Jones-Drew on 16 less attempts. Peterson seems like an obvious pick, especially considering he only fumbled the ball once in 2010. I'll play "the homer." Peterson didn't have a stacked box as often as Jones-Drew. Defenses were much more content playing the pass because Favre was a pick machine. The mindset was that if the drive lasted long enough, Favre would eventually make a mistake, and you know, he often did. Also, I have to bring up the bum ankle again. We'll get to see Jones-Drew at 100% next year, but for now, I have no choice but to declare him the best all around running back in the NFL. Ain't it great to be a homer?

Who is "The Man?" - Andy Dalton

At 6'3", 220 pounds, Andy Dalton certainly has the build of an NFL quarterback. He, like Mallett, has a strong arm. It's not a cannon, but it is adequate at the next level.


In 2010, Dalton threw for 27 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. He was also only sacked 6 times as he completed 66% of his throws for 2857 yards. That's a lot of statistics, but what do they tell us? He can play. He's a smart decision maker, and he doesn't take many negative plays. Think about it this way. Combine his sack total with his interception total and you get 12. Now double that number and it's still less than his touchdown total of 27. I know that's manipulating stats to make a point, but how often can you do that math and still have a higher touchdown total? Blaine Gabbert only had 16 touchdowns with 23 sacks and 9 interceptions. You don't even have to double his negative numbers for them to top his touchdowns (and in case it wasn't apparent, his completion percentage was lower too).

Dalton does have some concerns. He tends to overthrow receivers when he's off balance. His arm is described as "above average" but nothing special. He also has to actually take snaps from under center, but if the Jaguars picked him, he would have at least a year of practice, so; that shouldn't be a big issue. Another problem is his age. He's already 23 years old, and he'll turn 24 in his rookie year. Again, I don't see this as a big issue because a well protected quarterback should last a long time. Finally, he has a classic three quarters release. That means that the ball isn't coming out of his hands at the highest possible point. This point is illustrated below.


From left to right: David Carr, Andy Dalton, and Peyton Manning is on the bottom.

As you can see, Dalton and Carr throw from a pseudo-side-arm position while Peyton Manning releases the ball at the highest possible point. Those extra couple inches can sometimes be the difference between a touchdown pass and a bat down, especially in the red zone. Dalton will likely be a 2nd round pick, but it wouldn't be unheard of for a team to pick him in the late first. He has some serious upside, but he certainly needs some time to develop. Is that the kind of situation the Jaguars offer? Hmm... Time will tell.

Monday, February 14, 2011

It would seem that the new jaguars.com senior writer has a great sense of humor.

Who is "The Man?" - Ryan Mallett

Coming in at number five on our list is Ryan Mallett. Mallett started his collegiate career at Michigan before moving to Arkansas so he could stay in a pro-style offense. Mallett stands at 6'6", 238 pounds. This guy has all the tools. His height allows him to see over the linemen, he's mobile in the pocket, and he has the ability to run downfield. No, he's not Michael Vick, but he's certainly faster than Peyton Manning.



Of course, I can't mention Ryan Mallett without mentioning the bazooka he has attached to his right shoulder. He may have the strongest arm in the draft. Move the slider to the 1:31 mark and watch the play against the Florida Gators. That's the best of Ryan Mallett.


The worst of Ryan Mallett is his footwork. If a defense can get any pressure at Mallett, specifically his feet, his accuracy deteriorates very quickly. I honestly think that the Jaguars would take Mallett if he were available at #16. They may even be able to trade down a few picks and still pick him. I don't see the Jaguars wanting Cam Newton due to character issues. Mallett may be the only quarterback the Jaguars could pick in the first round. Obviously, if Gabbert or Locker were still available, they would take one of them, but that seems increasingly unlikely.

I like Ryan Mallett in the right situation. I think the Jaguars offer that situation. He's not polished, but David Garrard will be the starter next year and maybe the year after that. With some coaching and hard work, Ryan Mallett has all the necessary tools to be one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"The Man" 5 Part Series Starting on Monday

Here are the top vote getting quarterbacks that the Jaguars are most likely to draft this year. For dramatic affect, they're in descending order.

5. Ryan Mallett

4. Andy Dalton

3. Colin Kaepernick

2. Jake Locker

1. Christian Ponder

Ryan Mallet will be featured on Monday, and we'll work our way to Christian Ponder on Friday.
Jags All Day is now on facebook! Twitter might be in the works if facebook does well.

Jaguars Across the Web

Brian Levenson says that the Jaguars' offensive line held its own.

Alfie Crow highlights one potential Jaguars' pick, Andy Dalton.

Tania Ganguli talks about the Team Teal revival event.

Also, tonight at about 9 PM EST, I will be looking at the results of my poll at the end of this article, and I will highlight the top 5 vote getters. Have a great Sunday!