Minshew and Foles were supposed to compete to be the starter in 2020, but that changed when GM Dave Caldwell traded Nick Foles to Chicago for a fourth-round pick. That left Minshew, who had the best passer rating and threw the fewest interceptions of any rookie quarterback in 2019, as the only quarterback on the roster with game experience.
There are other options, however. Cam Newton and Jameis Winston are free agents, and Andy Dalton might eventually be available as well. Newton is a former MVP and led Carolina to a 15-1 record and berth in the Super Bowl, but injuries have hampered him significantly the past few seasons. Winston led the NFL in passing yardage last season -- and interceptions (33), which might make the Jaguars leery of him after they dealt with Blake Bortles’ NFL-high 94 turnovers from 2014 to '18.
Bortles did help the Jaguars reach the AFC Championship Game after the 2017 season, but the Jaguars opted for Foles last season, a decision that backfired when Foles got hurt in the season opener. Bortles is the franchise’s latest first-round QB miss, a list that includes Blaine Gabbert and Byron Leftwich.
That isn't keeping the Jaguars from taking another swing at the position in Todd McShay’s latest mock draft. He has the Jaguars choosing Oregon’s Justin Herbert ninth overall, a move that would likely mean Herbert -- not Minshew -- would be the starter. Teams don’t take a quarterback that high in the first round to have him sit all season, especially not when a GM and head coach are under a win-now directive from the owner.
Herbert, who was regarded as a potential No. 1 overall pick before his play slipped a bit with the Ducks, is a big player (6-foot-6, 236 pounds) with a strong arm, and some analysts believe he’s the most physically gifted quarterback in the draft. Herbert has experience with some pro-passing concepts and has shown the ability to move a safety off with his eyes. He also has run the zone read and is effective as a runner, which adds another dimension to his game.
Minshew had success with off-schedule plays -- such as his juking in the pocket and TD pass to Ryquell Armstead against Denver -- and coach Doug Marrone said that is becoming more of a requirement for quarterbacks. Herbert has that ability as well, and with a stronger arm, that might mean more big plays down field.
In McShay's mock, the Jaguars get their new QB some help with their second first-round pick (20th overall), Arizona state receiver Brandon Aiyuk. The 6-foot, 205-pound Aiyuk, who ran a 4.5 at the combine, had a lot of success on catch-and-run quick throws, which will help him fit into offensive coordinator Jay Gruden’s West Coast offense.
The Herbert selection likely would cause some protest among the Jaguars fan base. Minshew has become a cult hero around Jacksonville, and it was clear last season that the players in the locker room responded to his swagger and attitude. He had his ups and downs as a rookie, but he outperformed Daniel Jones and No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray, and there’s a large segment of the fan base that believes Minshew deserves the chance to show that he can be a long-term starter.