JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .
Corey from Section 147:
You say we won't be big spenders in free agency, but the way the coaches make it sound, we will bring in a large amount of undrafted free agents. They won't be big names, but players like Victor Cruz are easier to spot if they're on your roster. I'd be okay with consistently only spending in the second wave of free agency and picking up large amounts of undrafted free agents.
John: It certainly sounds as if you’ll be OK with the Jaguars’ approach, because collegiate free agency will be a big part of it. The Colts took that aspect of scouting and player acquisition very seriously during Caldwell’s time there, and players such as Gary Brackett and Dominic Rhodes played key roles for Indianapolis during that time after being selected as undrafted free agents. You have a lot of misses with those players; more often than not there’s a reason players are undrafted. But in these early stages of Caldwell and Bradley running things, it makes sense to utilize a market where there are a lot of inexpensive players with potential. Collegiate free agency certainly is that.
John from St. Augustine, FL:
Damontre Moore ran a 4.95 40-yard dash and 11 repetitions on the bench. That is nowhere close to second-round-pick-of-the-draft numbers. I certainly would think long and hard about him in the first round, period.
John: Players usually can’t take mammoth leaps at the combine anymore. They can take huge drops. Eleven reps could mean a huge drop in this case.
Aaron from Carbondale, IL:
I thought I'd save you some work and let you get to your next nap a little sooner. Copy the following sentences and use them to answer every question about the draft for a while. Nobody knows. Wait and see. We won't know until he's played in the NFL for a few seasons.
John: Good advice. Will I use it? Nobody knows. Wait and see.
Bryan from Charlottesville, VA:
We all know that the Jaguars won't be participants in the early part of free agency. I've also read reports that they plan to let Derek Cox
test the free agent market. One would think he'll be signed in the first handful of days. Is this the writing on the wall that he likely won't be back with the Jags next year? Do you think he's viewed along the same lines as Mincey/Lowery were last year in terms of free agent value by the Jags and other teams in the league?
John: The writing on the wall indicates that Cox will hit free agency. The team has declined to use the franchise tag on him, and it appears the sides may be quite far apart. If a player hits free agency, it’s historically difficult to get him back. My guess is he’ll probably be viewed a bit higher by some teams than Mincey or Lowery, because there have been times he has played like an elite corner. Now, with many teams up against the cap, will he get as much money as Mincey? That remains to be seen.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
The defensive end talent looks to be late first-round at best. With other holes to fill on the offensive line, would an offensive tackle or possibly cornerback Dee Milliner be a good No. 2 pick?
John: Milliner has an injury issue, but beyond that, he isn’t considered on the level of past Top 5 cornerbacks. I’d pass at No. 2 if a defensive back isn’t elite and go with defensive line or offensive line.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
It seems the Jaguars are going to go more or less BAP with the No. 2 selection. That seems to make sense in the Top 15 or 20 picks, or until the talent and grades start to bunch up. It's exciting to see Caldwell has an open mind and sets rough guidelines, not firm rules. This bodes well for the direction he is leading the Jaguars. If Joeckel is that Hall of Fame or Perennial Pro-Bowl player, and you don't believe the other premium positions have a player in that class, you take him and let the Monroe situation handle itself. The Bills got 3 draft picks for Peters in 2009. Just saying.
John: Oh, as long as you were just saying.
Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Can you name for me a player within the last five years that was not drafted out of college and later became a superstar?
John: Victor Cruz. Arian Foster. Before them, Tony Romo, Wes Welker, James Harrison, Antonio Gates.
Adam from New York, NY:
DO YOUR JOB!
John: Not now! Later!
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I've heard a lot about the Jaguars being unlikely to trade down from No. 2 because there are no real game-changers and premium positions. But, I'm also hearing that Luke Joeckel is a potential game-changer at left tackle. So, why is everyone so sure the Jags won't be able to trade down? If the Chiefs pass on Joeckel, there could easily be teams willing to trade up to get him at No. 2.
John: Your theory makes sense, but the thing that could prevent a trade in that scenario is the presence of Eric Fisher. The Central Michigan left tackle isn’t significantly worse than Joeckel, which means teams wanting a left tackle may be more apt to let the draft fall to them and take Fisher rather than give up selections to move up for Joeckel.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
When Boselli came out, was he regarded as a can't-miss prospect? How does Joeckel compare to Boselli at this point?
John: Yes, among football people, Boselli was pretty much considered can’t-miss. There wasn’t the 24-7, three-month lead-up to the draft at that point, but it was evident for a while before the draft that he was likely going to be the Jaguars’ selection and there wasn’t much doubt he would be very, very good. The more I see of Joeckel, the more he reminds me of Boselli.
Corey from Orange Park, FL:
Knowing what you do right now, which quarterback do you think comes off the board first? Do you think more than one goes in the first round?
John: I think Geno Smith comes off the board first, probably in the late teens/early 20s. After that, it stands to reason there could be a run on quarterbacks late in the first round. That would be a little early for some of the players after Smith and say, Matt Barkley, but it is the nature of the position that teams reach for it.
Dave from Fukuoka, Japan:
John, The quality control coach is the guy who gets the donuts.
John: Yes, that, too.
Timmothy from Houston, TX:
I must say, John, the word on the streets is that you’re a flopper when it comes to Joeckel. Your tone seems to have changed a bit on him, any explanation as to why my friend?
It’s February 26. The draft is two months away. I wouldn’t spend a lot of time taking my Ozone answers and trying to analyze what the Jaguars are going to do in the draft until, say, April 24 or so – if then. But seriously, as the draft gets closer and I spend more time considering it, my answers likely will change from time to time. Predicting the future in the draft is never easy, particularly with a first-time general manager. When I first considered the possibility of taking Joeckel, it seemed unlikely because of the presence of Eugene Monroe
. I’d still be a little surprised if the selection is Joeckel, but if he’s the best player available, then it makes sense. Bear in mind, this is not a commentary whatsoever on Monroe. I think he’s an asset to the Jaguars and a very good left tackle. But if the idea is to add talent at premium positions, you can’t rule out taking a player such as Joeckel if he is indeed far and away the best player on your board.
Larry from Section 118:
It is really nice to see David Caldwell give Marcedes Lewis
the props he deserves. Fans often throw tight ends under the bus if they are not "catching the ball." But we must remember that is not their primary job. Their core job is to block. Regardless of Lewis having the alligator arms at times, he is still a heck of a tight end.
John: Lewis is a premium talent, a former first-round selection who is one of the best-blocking tight ends in the NFL. He also is under contract. Caldwell is poring over the Jaguars’ roster trying to figure what assets there are. It’s not surprising that he considers Lewis a strength.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
Can you find out if the Oklahoma tradition will be back this year? It would seem to be at the heart of the competition philosophy that the new leadership keeps preaching.
John: I wouldn’t worry about that.