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Drowning a slow death

Posted Apr 13, 2012

Let's get to it . . .

Robert from Lexington, KY:
One major thing I don't think you have done enough of with your Fletcher Cox mock draft is emphasize that he could be a force at left defensive end.
John: You’re right. When mocking Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox to the Jaguars at No. 7 this week, I probably didn’t emphasize Cox’s potential at end enough. I didn’t emphasize that because I don’t get the idea Cox would be your classic, go-get-the-passer, edge-rusher type and that appears to be the Jaguars’ need at end. It’s sort of why I downplay the idea of Tyson Alualu playing end when people bring it up. Those guys could play end and they are good players who make you better wherever they line up, but when people talk about the Jaguars “needing” end, they’re talking about the sort of edge rushers that, frankly, are pretty rare in this year’s draft. That said, could Cox could play some end and be an asset there? Sure.
Ryan from Jacksonville Beach and Section 203:
From talking to scouts is Janoris Jenkins sans issues thought to be more talented than Morris Claiborne?
John: There are those who believe that, yes.
Russ from Atlanta Georgia and Section 215:
There was a question at Trivia recently. Which NFL team last season defeated their division rival twice under two different head coaches? I thought the Jaguars did this versus the Colts, but they said that answer was wrong. They only accepted Miami (over the Bills). Are they correct on this?
John: I don’t know their ground rules, but the Jaguars beat the Colts in Indianapolis with Jack Del Rio as the head coach and they beat them in Jacksonville with Mel Tucker as the interim head coach.
Jacob from Albany, NY:
With regards to not drafting a running back in the top 10. Does your statement reflect the belief that you don't think the NFL will ever adjust the rules back to favor the defense and the run game a bit to even things out? It just seems to me that the quality of the game is being negatively affected when you wouldn't draft Jim Brown in the top 10. Just my opinion, maybe I'm the idiot.
John: You’re no idiot. At the same time, I don’t see a big groundswell to shift the rules back, either. My thought on running backs in the Top 10 actually pre-dates the league’s shift to the passing game. I’ve always been a believer that a running back generally has far less to do with a team being an effective running offense than the play of the offensive line. Most running backs in the league – and indeed, a lot of guys who aren’t in the league – can run effectively behind an offensive line and within the framework of an offense that is otherwise running efficiently. You see far fewer cases, for example, of an injury to a running back shutting down an offense than an injury to a quarterback. I’d rather have a backup running back behind my starting offensive line than vice-versa.
Jason from Hagerstown, MD:
Jags had a great defense considering how often they were on the field last season, however what changes need to be made to stop teams from dropping 41 points again?
John: Being healthy wouldn’t hurt.
Jeff from Starke, FL:
"What do you want? A receiver who can’t play or a defensive tackle who can?" That would assume you know the receiver can't play and the DT can, which you can't possibly know. I guess you would take the girl with glasses, chipped tooth and a hitch in her step to the prom just because you're sure she'd say yes. I say ask the drop-dead gorgeous blond, just in case she'd say "yes."
John: No, you can’t possibly know. I’m not sure I ever said you could. What I was saying, and what I think many people understood, is that it’s the job of the general manager and the scouting department to gather as much information as possible and take the player with the highest probability of playing to the potential of the selection. You simply can’t enter the draft selecting players who you honestly believe after months of scouting won’t be as good as other players on whom you are passing – no matter the sentiments of the fans.
Blake from Auburn, AL:
Hey John, any news about that Zach Miller guy? I remember him looking promising at one point. One more comment, you should start a daily Q & A or something, I think that would be pretty cool.
John: This joke is getting beaten to death. I’d criticize, but I’ve been known to run a joke or two into the ground.
William from St. Augustine, FL:
Regarding Joe from St. Augustine, why are you and the Jags so against or afraid of a big splash? God knows the team needs it.
John: No one’s scared of a big splash. Far scarier to me is taking a player who looks great in April and May in mini-camp and who appeases the vocal minority of the message board, then who is average in the fall and by the following fall is giving everyone that sinking feeling you get every Sunday when you just know he ain’t getting any better. You obviously can get this whether the player makes a splash or not, but my point is you can’t be thinking about splash on draft day or in the weeks leading to it. Worrying about splash in the draft is a sure way to cause your team to drown a slow death.
Jordan from Section 414:
Maybe I'm crazy, John, but I don't think drafting a top 10 BAP DE/DT could ever be a bad thing.
John: You’re not crazy. Football people who know about building teams for the long-term will tell you you cannot have too many elite-level defensive linemen. They form the foundation of your team, and if they’re good they make everything around them and behind them better. That’s the logical, football-guy approach. What that also is is a difficult sell to fans who are clamoring – rightly so – for improved play at the wide receiver position. Still, you don’t hear too many front-office types wringing their hands during the regular season and saying, “Man, we’re just too good up front on defense.”
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
Will we see the Jags draft a fullback in the next couple of years? Greg Jones is not getting any younger even though he is playing at an extremely high level.
John: You might see a fullback drafted, but not early. Greg Jones indeed has been a key part of the Jaguars’ offense and as a fullback, he is a special player. But overall it’s no longer a position on which most teams normally would want to spend a whole lot of draft equity. Generally speaking, it just doesn’t make enough of an impact and isn’t one of the so-called core positions.
Kirk from Jacksonville:
You missed the point of Scott's question, or at least took the easy way out. First his fluctuating weight for two years, now this. Even if Knighton’s eye makes a full recovery and he can play again sometime in the future, we haven't ever and more likely than not ever will get the best out of this guy. I am an optimist, but the issue is now Knighton has made it even harder on himself. Ever been to Pure? I sure haven't, but I bet Knighton knows exactly what kind of patronage it has, and that's no place for a contract year Jaguar with weight issues.
John: I don’t know that that was the point of Scott’s question, and I think the criticism in this case is more than a bit over the top and unreasonable. Criticize Knighton for his weight if you want. He knows it’s an issue, has been very open about it and from all reports he was in better shape when he came back to EverBank for off-season workouts. That’s one issue, but to tie it in with going to a club on a Saturday night? I haven’t been to Pure, either, but I don’t know that the draw is the all-you can eat post-midnight dessert bar. Many athletes go to clubs. I wish for Knighton’s sake he hadn’t gone to Pure that night. I’m sure he wishes he hadn’t gone to Pure that night. It probably wasn’t the ideal decision, but I haven’t made ideal decisions my entire life, and I guess I’m not self-righteous enough to slam Knighton for making a decision that had consequences that were far greater than they should have been.
Bill from Section 204:
You mention Tannehill as someone we could use as "trade down" bait...but I view Richardson as more that guy. What do you think our chances are of trading down if Richardson is still available at No. 7?
John: Probably not as good. Richardson is probably the better talent and he’s a surer bet to be a very, very good player, but teams are more apt to give up draft equity to trade up for a quarterback than a running back.
Gary from Vista, CA:
I hate to say it, but I've grown to like you.
John: That’s weird. I like me less and less.

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