Mailbag: The Bortles pick; Wins and Losses; Starters up front

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Was Blake Bortles a need-based draft pick or was he simply the best available player? – Brian H. from Jacksonville, FL

Great question Brian. In my opinion, the answer here is both.

With the third overall pick, as a general manager, you want to go and get a guy who you know can come in and help your franchise for the next decade or so. In most cases, you want a guy who you can plug in as a starter from day one.

The exception to that? Quarterback.

Bortles was the guy that general manager David Caldwell wanted all along. Quarterback was indeed a position of need for the Jaguars and something they were bound to address at some point in the draft, we just didn’t know when.

Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are building this team for long-term success. So while Bortles may not play until Week 9 or Week 10, he’s going to be our guy for a long time. He also happened to be the best quarterback available.

How many games do you think the Jaguars will win this year? – Wyatt R. from Jacksonville, FL

Let’s break it down it a little. In the first four weeks, you have three roads games against the Eagles, Redskins, and Chargers.

The Chargers an the Redskins are two I think that we can win if we execute properly and don’t make silly mistakes like false starts every drive. That first game against Philadelphia is going to challenge us from the start — Chip Kelly took that team from bottom-of-the-league to playoff contender in one year, they’re a talented group. While yes, they’ve lost De’Sean Jackson, don’t forget that they acquired Darren Sproles in a trade with the Saints. It will be a dogfight of a game, winnable but tough.

Our first game at home in Week 3 against the Colts will be tough as always, but, with the recent suspension of Robert Mathis, there will be some soft spots in their defense. With the home field advantage, I say we pull out the win. The next four teams are the Steelers, Titans, Browns, and Dolphins. The Titans game is on the road but something we should be able to do — there’s no CJ2K, no quarterback, and a weak, young defense.

Our three homes games will be tough like the Eagles game. Anytime the Jaguars and Steelers suit-up, it’s bound to be a last-minute decision to see who comes out on top. The Browns and Dolphins will be evenly matched games. They could all go either way.

It’s a real possibility that by the middle of the season, we could only have lost one game, that first one against the Eagles. The games against the Colts and Steelers could be losses too… but I’m going to be generous and say we’re 7-1.

Looking at the rest of the schedule, we play the Cowboys in London, the Ravens, Giants, Titans once more and the Texans twice…. there isn’t any reason we can’t win 10 games this season. Our defense is much improved, we have a solid core of receivers, a great group of running backs… the arrow is pointing up on the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Who do you see starting in the trenches for the Jaguars? – Mark S. from Valdosta, GA

On the offensive line, you have Luke Joeckel coming strong who will start at left tackle and Austin Pasztor who filled in at right tackle last year when Joeckel went down, Caldwell has made it clear, he’s the starter at right tackle. Inside, I think Brandon Linder who we drafted in the third round starts at right guard with the release of Will Rackley.

At right guard, you’ll have Zane Beadles who signed in free agency, a pro bowler from the Broncos… and at center, Mike Brewster is penciled in to start, but I think you’ve got a competition for that starting spot between Brewster and Luke Bowanko.

Defensively, we will have not one, but TWO super bowl champions at defensive end in Chris Clemons and Red Bryant who we signed in free agency from the Seattle Seahawks.

Inside, I think Sen’Derrick Marks starts next to Roy Miller. Tyson Alualu will rotate with Bryant and Jason Babin along with Andre Branch will rotate with Clemons. Ziggy Hood, the defensive end from the Steelers will move back to his natural position and rotate with Marks.

Thanks to everyone for the tweets and emails. Tweet all your Jaguars-related questions, comments, and stories to @cover32_JAX or @Future_NFL_GM.

  • Ken

    Whoa…I was born and raised in Jax, am a diehard fan of the Jags, but you can’t seriously think we’re going to be 7-1 and end up winning 10 games, can you?! I love the optimism but it’s going to take another good draft and free agency for us to get where we’d all like to see the Jags get…gotta be realistic, though, bro!