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Jags, Falcons nearly flip-flopped first-round picks

Bortles Getty Images

As the 2014 draft approached, it seemed that the Falcons hoped to trade up from pick No. 6 — and the Rams at No. 2 and the Jaguars at No. 3 seemed to be the best possibilities for making a deal.

Both teams have General Managers who previously served as the right-hand man to Falcons G.M. Thomas Dimitroff.  Through 2011 it was Rams G.M. Les Snead, working at the director of player personnel.  Jaguars G.M. Dave Caldwell succeeded Snead in 2013.

As it turns out, the Jags and Falcons were indeed discussing a trade that would have placed the Jaguars at No. 6 and the Falcons at No. 3.  According to Peter King of TheMMQB.com, Atlanta would have taken tackle Jake Matthews at No. 3 (not linebacker Khalil Mack), and the Jags would have targeted quarterback Blake Bortles at No. 6.

Jacksonville also would have gotten a third-round pick for sliding down three spots.

“The reason I didn’t take the trade is there were so many teams that wanted quarterbacks — at one, four, five, seven and eight, and they were all within striking distance of us,’’ Caldwell told King. “I just kept thinking, ‘One of those teams has to see what we were seeing in Bortles.’  So let’s say we move back and make a deal.  What are we going to take in the third?  A guard?  You can find guards.  You can’t find the quarterback you think fits your team best.  So in the end it wasn’t a hard decision for us.”

Despite plenty of draft experts and media members arguing after the fact that the Jags could have traded down far lower than No. 6 and still gotten Bortles, Caldwell wasn’t so sure.  What if another team had managed, as he had, to conceal his interest in Bortles?

“[T]here was just too much at stake to risk anyone finding out and possible jumping us,” Caldwell said.  “I’m quiet by nature, so it wasn’t hard for me. I wasn’t saying a word. I love Thomas.  I’d say 99 percent of the time when we talk, I tell him everything and bounce things off him.  But not this time.”

Regardless of whether Bortles pans out at the next level, the Jaguars made the right move.  When a team finds the guy it wants at such a critical position, the team shouldn’t play games.  They should just take him and not look back.

For the Jags, it’s now all about looking forward to perhaps the brightest future the franchise has had, in a while.

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18 Responses to “Jags, Falcons nearly flip-flopped first-round picks”
  1. ytownjoe says: May 12, 2014 8:20 AM

    Great draft by the Jags.

  2. gtiguy says: May 12, 2014 8:20 AM

    We reached, sorry Caldwell. But hey, the rest of the draft was great

  3. koudoes says: May 12, 2014 8:27 AM

    For only a third round pick?

  4. rwhite84 says: May 12, 2014 8:37 AM

    Why wouldn’t they have taken Mack? They didn’t take a pass rusher until their compensatory 4th round pick, don’t they know they need one?

  5. popolover says: May 12, 2014 8:46 AM

    I’m quiet by nature??
    Really David? You do more ‘quiet’ talking than anyone else. Or should I say backstabbing.

  6. shackdelrio says: May 12, 2014 8:47 AM

    The extra third would have been nice. But you can’t risk losing a guy you view as a franchise QB.

  7. ttommytom says: May 12, 2014 8:50 AM

    He did the right thing. You get your guy and move on.

    PS

    You need a lot more than a 3rd to roll those dice.

  8. tigers182 says: May 12, 2014 8:57 AM

    Smart move by the Jags. Don’t risk losing a franchise quarterback for a third rounder.

  9. kayakattack says: May 12, 2014 8:58 AM

    funny, he did draft a guard in round three

  10. robigd says: May 12, 2014 9:08 AM

    I know it just has to kill the “usual suspects” on here to see the Jag’s arrow pointing up. You even have national media pundits saying we had the best draft in the AFC.

  11. orecic76 says: May 12, 2014 9:25 AM

    Dave “the Genius” Caldwell.

  12. klroot says: May 12, 2014 10:22 AM

    I suspect that the Brown’s would have selected Bortles that their 4 th overall pick, he was not, so Cleveland traded down

  13. EJ says: May 12, 2014 10:30 AM

    Had they waited a bit longer and made a trade or two, they would have still had their guy… I don’t think many teams had Bortles very high on their lists.

  14. fanme57 says: May 12, 2014 10:54 AM

    Three years.

    If Bortles works out, it’s a good draft for the Jaguars.

    If not, new coach, and general manager…..again.

  15. swagjag says: May 12, 2014 10:57 AM

    I love how six weeks ago Bortles was mocked to go #1 to the Texans, but when the Jags take him at 3 it was a reach.

  16. okeedokeesmokee says: May 12, 2014 11:24 AM

    Poker Dave did a GREAT job in both his drafts so far. Shad Khan really hired the best man for the job. Very excited to see all the new faces and talent we have in Jax now. Just bought a pair of season tickets for me and my kid. After letting them go in the Weaver era. Everything feels like it did back in the mid 90s with Coughlin here. Jax is scaring the heck out of our division rivals. I say Jags make the playoffs this year, but if not they will be a much better team than anyone expects or wants. Jag haters just want what we have…..the team they wish theirs was!

  17. therealjr says: May 12, 2014 12:46 PM

    Jax was the only team in the top 10 who would have taken Bortles. Should have traded down.

    You think Cleveland would be BSC for Blake Bortles?

  18. thegreatgabbert says: May 12, 2014 1:05 PM

    Instead of flipping, they FLOPPED. Jethro Bortles is a poor (homeless, starving, emaciated) man’s Blaine Gabbert. With open running sores.

    He is the same size, but that is where the comparison ends. Weaker arm, much slower, lower intellectual score, slower release.
    Played in a second rate conference and sat behind a guy who was younger than him, for two years. A guy who was under 6 feet, under 200 pounds, and was switched to wide receiver.

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