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O-Zone: No-Mow Zone

Posted May 3, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Robert from Orange Park, FL:
Who was our general manager during the '90s? The man deserves credit; he had some great drafts. How did we manage to get a first-round pick for Rob Johnson?
John: That man was Tom Coughlin, who served as head coach and general manager. He did have some very productive drafts, though like any general manager, he made mistakes. He took Tony Boselli No. 2 overall in the 1995 NFL Draft. That was a hit by any measure. He took Brian DeMarco, James Stewart and Brian Schwartz with the ensuing three selections. While they were productive players, Curtis Martin also was on the board at the time and is now in the Hall of Fame. That’s not to denigrate any of those players, but to make the point that you can build a good team while not hitting home runs with every selection. As for how the Jaguars got a first-round pick for Rob Johnson, he was a quarterback with physical gifts who showed flashes of being very good. Those flashes were brief, but even so, that’s often enough to merit a first-round selection.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
Why would you select someone's comment that still thinks Blaine is a Jag?
John: Because #Duval.
Richard from Jacksonville:
In your response to a question from Quinn from Tampa you made some of the following observations in explaining NFL Draft analysts’ possible impact on Dave Caldwell's thinking: "reflective of what analysts are hearing from NFL personnel people, not vice-versa, with reports of players flying up and down draft boards far more about the media learning what personnel people are really thinking … personnel departments work year-round scouting players to put together draft boards and plans." I heard a former NFL head coach say no one sees the draft board but the GM/Head Coach/Owner...essentially, the assistant coaches and scouting personnel do not. Is that the case? Is the board that secretive, even in our own organization?
John: David Caldwell hasn’t said who, exactly, sees the Jaguars’ draft board, though I get the sense more people see it than just Caldwell, Shad Khan and Gus Bradley. There is effort, though, to minimize the number of people who see it. And certainly there is a good chance Caldwell will keep his exact scenario at No. 3 overall a secret from all but those at the highest levels. The more people who know the strategy the more people who can mention the strategy to someone else and so on and so on and so on …
Andrew from Jacksonville:
A thousand consecutive days for the O-Zone? One fer you, O-Man!
John: Wait! What?
Kent from Oak Harbor, WA:
1000! Congrats, John. That's some severe Moodachay!
John: Word.
Rudy from Baldwin, FL:
Only 1,632 behind Cal Ripken!
John: Actually, it's 1,631.
Ryan from Boone, NC:
Always been curious: do NFL prospects drop out of school the semester of the draft or does the school just work with them around their schedule? I just can’t see how some of these guys can visit multiple teams, go to the combine, All-Star games, and the draft all while taking classes.
John: Many, if not most, draft-eligible prospects take that semester off. There are exceptions, but the schedule is not conducive to a full-time class schedule.
Damon from Jacksonville:
So I have loved the Jaguars growing up and I just got a promotion and raise at work. Now I have more money and can afford season tickets so I bought some and will be cheering on the Jags from section 122. I'm so excited!!!
John: What's a "raise?"
Malosi from Santa Clara, CA:
I was very happy with David Caldwell front-loading the contracts for incoming free agents. Not every team can do it, but Caldwell has put himself in position to do it by reshaping the roster with lower-priced young veterans. That's why I don't understand the Marcedes Lewis situation. He is going to be the second-highest paid tight end in the NFL at $8.25 million for 2014. Since the CBA allows cap space rollover, why wouldn't Caldwell find a price more in line with Lewis' production versus other tight-end alternatives through the draft, free agency or trade? I understand Marcedes' value isn't represented well with 'fantasy football' stats, but I also don't think that his blocking/red zone ability is $8.25 million worthy. Am I way off thinking Marcedes’ contract should be reworked to create more cap space to roll over to next year?
John: And Marcedes Lewis would agree to that why? That’s not a sarcastic reply, but rather pointing out that contracts are a two-way situation. The Jaguars probably would like to rework Lewis’ contract. They also would probably like to have all players on the roster playing at a minimum salary. Shoot, the Broncos probably would love to pay Peyton Manning $100 in Best Buy gift cards. He’s not going to agree to that, and Lewis probably wouldn’t agree to reworking his contract. At least not this offseason.
Nick from Fort Benning, GA:
What do Emmanuel Smith, Bryan Anger, Matt Jones, and Marcus Stroud have in common? None of them were drafted by David Caldwell.
John: No, they were not.
Chris from the City of Brotherly Shove, PA:
Hypothetical: Assuming that Watkins is the highest-rated available prospect on the Jags' board, would you accept an offer from the Browns to swap their respective two first picks (i.e. Jags' 3 & 39 for Browns' 4 & 26)?
John: Would I? Yes, probably. Would David Caldwell? Probably, if there was someone he really, really wanted at No. 26.
Gary from Centerville, OH:
"It’s necessary for me to be coherent when doing these tasks." Excuse me, I had to pick myself back up off the floor. Coherent, come on now, one or two little beers won't hurt your writing (not any more than having to answer some of the questions you get).
John: What’s “one or two beers?”
Kevin from Jacksonville:
I read an article (I won’t say where) that said the Jags and Dave Caldwell will take Sammy Watkins as No. 3, then trade their second- and third-round picks for a quarterback before the end of Round 1. This seems to not be worth it to me based on where they pick in Round 2. What are your thoughts?
John: I think there’s no way to know if it’s worth it or not if we don’t know high into Round 1 the Jaguars would be going. To give up a third-round selection to move from No. 39 to No. 32 might be a bit high; to give up a third-round selection to move from No. 39 to No.16 would be a bargain.
Brian from Greenwood, IN:
Were you surprised to see the Jaguars on the road for the first two weeks of the season? We are talking about the biggest scoreboards in the world. I would have thought the NFL would have played that up a little more. If ever there was a reason to start the season at home, it would be to unveil the largest scoreboards in the world.
John: I wasn’t surprised only because the NFL doesn’t cater as to individual team desires as much as fans and teams might like. Most of the early season – and most of the season, for that matter – is catered to drawing large television numbers, and understandably so. Beyond that, it’s a matter of trying to craft a schedule for 32 teams, which is a complex enough task that it’s difficult to cater to individual teams.
James from Socorro, NM:
I went back and looked at the quarterbacks that have been drafted the last five years or so. Almost all of them are terrible and maybe one per year can be considered "good;" it seems to be extremely difficult to get a quality starter, no matter where you draft.
John: Yes, which is a huge reason the Jaguars are taking the **tack** they appear likely to take at the position. If you don’t believe a quarterback worthy of taking at No. 3, and if you believe there to be little difference between the top one or two and the best six or seven, find one or two with the qualities you like outside the first round and let that players try to develop into the position. It’s not the sexy, immediate-results method, but that method rarely works.
Greg from Jacksonville and Section 147:
There has been a lot of talk about the renovations, scoreboards and pool, but will the tarps be coming off this year?
John: Most of the tarps will be removed. The goal is to eventually have “most” be “all.”
Keith from Summerville, SC:
No one knows the depth of my hatred for the word "mock". Please, call it what it is. "Fake". Mel Kippers Fake draft. Fan's Fake draft. Have you ever known a single Fake draft to be correct? No. All it means is that the season hasn't started yet. It means that Sunday is going to be boring. It means that I'm probably going to have to go cut the grass.
John: Perhaps you should invest in some field turf.

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