Trading Yannick Ngakoue gives the Jaguars a ton of draft capital moving forward. Some of it will likely be used to acquire Gardner Minshew’s replacement.
The Jaguars’ decision to finally trade Yannick Ngakoue to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday was a clear play to improve the team’s future. The deal also makes it much more likely that future will not include Gardner Minshew as the team’s starting quarterback.
Jacksonville didn’t ultimately get the first round pick they coveted for their talented defensive end, but getting a second rounder and a conditional fifth round pick was a nice consolation prize. More importantly, the Jaguars are now in a position to control the 2021 NFL Draft. Having eight picks in the first five rounds will give the team’s front office a ton of flexibility to select the highest-rated players on their board.
Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields could replace Gardner Minshew in 2021
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence sits atop nearly every NFL franchise’s draft board heading into the season. Ohio State signal-caller Justin Fields also has a lot of fans around the league. The Ngakoue deal puts the Jaguars in a position where they can grab either player if they believe he’s a future superstar.
That puts Gardner Minshew on thin ice. He came out of nowhere to give the Jaguars an impressive rookie campaign, but there are serious questions about whether or not he has the arm strength and athleticism to succeed over the long haul. There are no questions about the physical gifts of either Lawrence or Fields. Jacksonville will be very tempted to draft a quarterback with a higher ceiling in next year’s draft.
That doesn’t mean Minshew won’t continue to have value around the league. The Jaguars could decide they want to keep him for another season to help transition to their next quarterback of the future. More interestingly, the franchise could view Minshew as a valuable trade chip that could allow them to add even more draft assets before the 2021 draft arrives. If he plays like a solid starting quarterback this season he’ll draw a lot of trade interest from teams looking to upgrade their own options under center.
In a strange way, the Ngakoue will likely be looked back on as the death of Minshew Mania in Jacksonville.