JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Kyler Murray is a giant wild card in the 2019 NFL draft, and the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma could have a significant impact on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ draft strategy. His presence alone in the draft could end up being a huge help.
It's inevitable that a team or two will fall in love with Murray despite his slight build (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) after they meet with him at the combine and watch him at his pro day. In order to get him, those teams might have to move up in the draft order. With teams potentially trying to move into the top five to draft former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins as well, expect the price to make that move to be higher than first anticipated.
Higher demand, higher price -- that’s something the Jaguars will have to weigh as they try to figure out their draft strategy with the No. 7 pick and their quarterback plan for 2019.
Nick Foles is certainly an option, but it’s hard to see the Jaguars being willing to part with draft picks in a trade with Philadelphia and with the financial capital to sign Foles to a multiyear deal. If Foles were a free agent, the Jaguars would be more likely to be interested, but are Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell willing to pay between $20 million to $25 million for a non-elite quarterback just because he’s the best veteran option available?
If the Jaguars do end up with Foles, however, Coughlin and Caldwell should try to take advantage of the demand for Murray and Haskins and trade down. There are so many needs on offense -- essentially at every position group, and especially at tight end and receiver -- and the extra picks would help.
Teams picking after the Jaguars that need quarterbacks include Miami, which is expected to release Ryan Tannehill, and Washington, which doesn’t have a starter with Alex Smith expected to miss the 2019 season because of a compound leg fracture. Andy Dalton, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Tom Brady are in the back end of their careers. If one of their general managers becomes enamored with one of the top quarterbacks and he's still available after the New York Giants pick sixth -- the Giants are almost certain to take a quarterback to be Eli Manning’s heir apparent -- the Jaguars should make a call.
However, not landing Foles would mean the Jaguars will be going with a lower-tier veteran quarterback and drafting a rookie in 2019. In that case, the Jaguars might have to try to jump over at least the Giants in order to get their top quarterback.
So what would that take? Let’s look at some recent trades involving top-five draft picks to find out:
Tennessee traded the No. 1 overall pick in 2016 to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for the Rams’ first-round pick (No. 15), two second-round picks and a third-round pick in 2016. The Titans also got the Rams’ first- and third-round picks in 2017. The Rams used the first pick to draft Jared Goff. Considering they made the Super Bowl three years later, the trade was likely worth it for the Rams.
Philadelphia traded from eighth to second that same year, giving up their first-round pick, third- and fourth-round picks in 2016, and their first-round pick in 2017 and second-round pick in 2018. The Eagles took quarterback Carson Wentz, and he was having an MVP season in 2017 before a torn ACL ended his season.
In 2012, the Rams traded the No. 2 overall pick to Washington for the No. 6 pick, a second-round pick in the same draft, a first-round pick in 2013 and a first-round pick in 2014. The Redskins selected Robert Griffin III, and they're still trying to recover.
What that means is the Jaguars might have to part with a future first-round draft pick if they want to move up from seventh to third to leap over the Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Giants to get the quarterback they want. Maybe a second- or third-round pick (the Jaguars have two third-rounders this year) as well.
If the Jaguars believe Murray or Haskins will be a 10-year starter who leads the team to the playoffs and gives them a chance to win a Super Bowl, then it’s a no-brainer: Make the deal. Do whatever it takes.