- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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When new GM David Caldwell decided not to retain Mike Mularkey and set off on a search for a head coach, he spoke of looking for a co-builder of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Caldwell’s guy is hired, and Gus Bradley will be introduced Friday.
Now the two will embark on the toughest job in the league: roster-building for a team that doesn't have much talent.
The Jaguars were technically the second-worst team in the league in 2012. They and the Kansas City Chiefs were 2-14, but Kansas City played an easier schedule and thereby qualified for the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Caldwell and Bradley will be looking to add a blue-chip player at No. 2, a building block.
The list of guys under contract whom I consider pieces they can fill in around isn’t very long:
On offense: Receivers Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon, left tackle Eugene Monroe, tight end Marcedes Lewis (though he’s overpriced), running back Maurice Jones-Drew (who could be dealt with one year remaining on his deal).
That’s not a lot, and we don’t know whether all those guys fit what Caldwell and Bradley will want to do systematically.
While a lot of teams have turned things around quickly, the Jaguars need a major infusion of talent. A quality free-agency class and a good draft can do a lot to help the team make a jump. But this roster needs major revamping, and it’ll take more than a year to turn the Jaguars into a playoff-caliber team.
The one element that can accelerate a turnaround -- a big-time quarterback -- does not appear to be available. The Colts went from 2-14 to 11-5 with a new regime, but the central player in the turnaround was No. 1 pick Andrew Luck. There is no Luck to be brought in here.
Perhaps the Jaguars find a quarterback who’s a revelation like third-rounder Russell Wilson in Seattle, where Bradley comes from. Perhaps they deal for Matt Flynn (also in Seattle) or Alex Smith (San Francisco), and the new veteran is a big upgrade.
But the odds on either scenario are long.
More likely the leadership duo look to build all other areas of the roster while waiting for a chance at a quarterback in a year or two. Caldwell's contract is for five years. We don't know the length of Bradley's deal yet.
But their co-build is very likely going to take time.