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O-Zone: No sure things

Posted Apr 29, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Trevor from Jacksonville:
Why on Earth would you say Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel are not "game-ready?” What games are you watching?
John: I suppose the answer would be, “The same ones that most people in the NFL seem to be watching.” I get that this is a tough one for many people to wrap their minds around, but the reality is many, many league types believe that while this quarterback class has talent there may not be any quarterbacks who are ready to enter the NFL and play immediately. Because that’s what I mean by game-ready, I wrote recently Bridgewater and Manziel aren’t game-ready. We’ll see if that’s true or not.
Sherick from Jacksonville:
I bet you didn't even know the NFL used to play with a white football in night games.
John: I bet I did.
Brian from New Hampshire:
Do you think there is a chance Matt Scott beats out a quarterback drafted by the Jaguars this year? Scott was rated highly by the so-called experts coming out of college and will be entering his second year in the offense. If he’s really that good, it’s possible, right?
John: I think Matt Scott has potential to be a good NFL quarterback. It would be an upset if he beats out a quarterback the Jaguars draft next week. Upsets have happened before. #Freemattscott
Jeremy from Miles City, MT:
Tecmo Bowl was like the USFL to Super Tecmo Bowls NFL. It’s not even a comparison.
John: That’s correct.
Daniel from Santa Rosa, CA:
Big O, I think it's a bum deal for the Jags to have the third pick. I would rather they had the fourth pick, so they could have the 35th pick in the second round rather than the 39th pick. I think the Browns and even Oakland get the better deal to go down one or two slots in the first round but get four or five slots better in the second round. What do you think?
John: I think you’re overthinking it. One position in the first round is worth significantly more than two or three selections in Round 2. If the Jaguars were picking fifth or sixth plenty of people would be wishing they had the No. 3 overall selection. You draft with the hand you’re dealt, and it’s better to have an earlier selection earlier than late.
Jason from Mobile, AL:
Do you know how many draft picks Mel Kiper got right on his final mock draft last year, released April 24th, 2013, one day before the draft? Here's a hint, it starts with a "Z" and ends with an "O"
John: As much fun as some people have criticizing Mel Kiper, Jr., I can’t jump in on this one. “Mock-draft accuracy” is one of the most meaningless statistics in sports – if it is indeed even a statistic. You can know a lot about drafts and have players ranked very well and have lousy mock drafts. As far as mock-draft oh-fers … well, I’ve probably had my share of those. So, no criticism for others weak mocks here … glass houses, you know.
Marty from Jacksonville:
Speaking of Paul Brown missing out on his first two choices and settling for Jim Brown, do you remember when Tom Coughlin wanted to trade picks No. 9 and 20 to the Bears for pick No. 5 so he could select Curtis Enis? The trade fell through, so we settled for Fred Taylor at 9 and Donovin Darius at 20. Was that lucky or what?
John: It was lucky, and though Darius actually was the No. 25 selection in the 1998 NFL Draft, your underlying point is a good one. Coughlin indeed wanted then-Penn State running back Curtis Enis that year, and tried very hard to make the trade. It wasn’t that he didn’t want Taylor, but he coveted Enis. That does show you the level of luck sometimes involved in the NFL Draft. The Jaguars liked Taylor from the beginning and expected him to be very good, but if they truly had known the level he’d reach they wouldn’t have tried so hard to get Enis – or, in fact, they would have tried to move up to get Taylor. On another note, 16 years later, the idea of a team wanting to trade up for a running back – either Enis or Taylor – seems very outdated. Can you imagine a team trading two first-round selections for a running back? It’s hard to picture.
James from Atlantic Beach, FL:
From where do you think all the hate for Toby Gerhart is coming? He's young, strong, has decent speed, and he's hungry to prove himself. Speaking as someone who's also 50 plus, I can firmly say Walker claiming he can still play and actually being able to still play are two different things.
John: I haven’t sensed much hate for Gerhart, but I’m not looking for such things 24-7, either. One issue fans may have is that Gerhart is something of an unknown entity, and fans inherently distrust unknown, veteran entities. I can say the Jaguars like the Gerhart move very much. They feel he’s the right combination of experience, potential and fresh legs. That’s not easy to find when shopping for free-agent running backs. It doesn’t make Gerhart a guarantee, but it means the Jaguars like their chances of him succeeding.
Jared from Pensacola, FL:
John, I guess your idea of good games is kind of lacking. Jack Nicholas Golf... What else need I say?
John: You should say, “PGA Tour Golf II for Sega Genesis,” Jared – that’s what you should say.
Paul from Jacksonville:
If Caldwell does a good job addressing the team's needs, hitting or missing on any one quarterback prospect takes on slightly less significance than the attempts of Shack and Gene to draft one. The Jags rosters were so consistently weak for so long that neither personnel head/GM felt like they could spare a top pick for a quarterback while they had Garrard and so many needs. I think Caldwell will draft well enough overall that if one prospect doesn't work out, he will get another swing.
John: I get that this is going to be a topic until the Jaguars find a quarterback, but the reality is that David Caldwell is going to search for a quarterback in the same way he’s building the rest of the Jaguars’ roster – that is, by continuing to try to upgrade the position in a way that fits with a sound overall approach. The quarterback position no doubt is important, but you can’t draft the position in the Top 10 if there’s not a player worthy of being selected there. Caldwell said it best earlier this offseason when he said it’s very difficult to take a quarterback who may not be a difference-maker when there are difference-makers at other positions. Remember that statement when trying to project the Jaguars’ draft-day thinking.
John from Jacksonville:
With the No. 3 pick how possible is it the Jaguars select an offensive lineman such as Robinson or Mathews?
John: It’s possible. I wouldn’t call it probable.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
How different do you think the talks around Khalil Mack would have been had Clowney not become this year's crown jewel in pre-draft hype? Do you think he would have been as easily slated in the potential No. 1 spot as easily as Clowney is now?
John: The talk would have been different because very few prospects in recent memory have had the pre-draft buzz of Clowney. He emerged as the Crown Jewel of the class in 2012, and because he wasn’t eligible to enter the 2013 draft, he has been the focus of pre-draft speculation for not only one but two drafts. That is unique for a non-quarterback and Mack certainly wouldn’t have endured that. As for how easily Mack would have been slated, I don’t know that he would have been the clear No. 1 even if Clowney wasn’t in this draft. But would he be in a group of players considered possible No. 1s? Yeah, I think he’d be in that group.
Tommy from Boca Raton, FL:
I like your pick of Watkins at No. 3. This suited with a quarterback in the second could put us at .500.
John: You’re talking about my selection of Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the Jaguars at No. 3 overall in jaguars.com mock draft, v. 3.0. Thank you for liking the pick, but while it is important to me to be liked I must again caution that I don’t feel much more attached to that selection than I did to Jadeveon Clowney in version 2.0 or to Khalil Mack in version 1.0. There remain numerous ways the Jaguars could go and I suspect that may be true until May 8. As for Watkins and a second-round quarterback putting the Jaguars at .500 … who knows? You could be right. At the same time, I wouldn’t assume there’s a rookie quarterback starting for the Jaguars next season. It could happen, I suppose, but even if they choose one in the first or second round it’s a long, long way from a sure thing.

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