By Danny Cox
Both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans have been eliminated from playoff contention for a while now, but the season needs to be finished out. With two games remaining in 2014 for them, they will face off on Thursday Night Football, and the loser will actually be a team that has the advantage in getting the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Is that really worth losing, though?
The Jaguars appear to have their quarterback of the future in Blake Bortles, so they will likely go in a different direction in the draft. Tennessee, on the other hand, has a handful of quarterbacks but no clue who to lead them. It’s going to be a game that determines a lot for next year, and CBS Sports’ own Steve Beuerlein took time to discuss the match-up.
Two AFC South teams fighting for the No. 1 draft pick — If the Jaguars end up with it, which direction do you think they will go in the draft?
Steve Beuerlein: “Both teams believe the answer to their quarterback issue is already on their team. Jacksonville has Blake Bortles and Tennessee has (Zach) Mettenberger, and I don’t necessarily agree with those assessments. Jacksonville…I think if they ended up with the top, they would work that and could get a lot of great picks in exchange for it. They could use it to build their roster.”
With all the injuries and moving around this season — Do the Titans currently have their quarterback of the future on their roster?
SB: “No. There will be a lot of pressure on Tennessee to draft (Marcus) Mariota if they get the first pick. Mettenberger was a late-round pick and Tennessee will be pressured to take a quarterback high.
I think Mettenberger is a project and Jake Locker is probably not going to be there. Bortles has been good, and they’re not going to go after a quarterback in the draft. Tennessee…they will be hard-pressed not to take Mariota.”
Can the Jaguars offensive line possibly protect Blake Bortles or Chad Henne against the Titans?
SB: “That offensive line has been an issue for them all season. Bortles [was] sacked regularly and is one of the top in the league. Tennessee has a pass rush that has [been] bogged down in the last couple of weeks. They’re not getting nearly the amount of pressure they were getting in the beginning of the year, and that’s good for Jacksonville. I think they’re licking their chops for the opportunity this week though, and Jacksonville will have some problems.
On the flip side, Tennessee has major problems up front as well. Jacksonville has a great, young defensive front, so both teams should be excited about the match-up this week.”
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.