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O-Zone: Wearing it well

Posted Feb 27, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Kevin from Richland, WA:
Since Dave Caldwell and Tom Dimitroff are close, do you see the Jags making a deal with the Falcons and dropping to No. 6 in the draft or do you think the Jags would want to go deeper into the first round in order to pick up more draft picks overall?
John: A trade with the Falcons? Sure, it’s a possibility. Trades on Draft Day often occur between general managers who share a level of trust, and Caldwell and Dimitroff certainly trust one another. The Falcons are also talented enough that they could feel they are one impact player away whereas the Jaguars could benefit from extra selections. But realistically, trading to No. 6 or wherever probably will be difficult. This is considered a very deep draft. That means teams could be reluctant to move up when there are plenty of good players likely to be available where they already stand.
Chris from Daytona Beach, FL:
Can you run the 40 in under six seconds?
John: Forty what?
Mike from East Smithfield, PA:
If Clowney is there at No. 3, how much do you have to love a quarterback to pass on the potential of Clowney making the whole defense instantly better like he did with South Carolina? I think our defense is only a piece or two away before it all suddenly clicks. What say you?
John: I say you have to love one of the quarterbacks more than you love Clowney. Look, Clowney has the potential to be very good, but always remember: it’s very rare for a pass rusher to make season-long significant impact. This gets forgotten before every draft, and every year there are rookie pass rushers who are declared as busts who actually just need time to develop. Still, while it’s unlikely that any pass-rusher is going to elevate the Jaguars’ defense to the level of Seattle or San Francisco, if you like Clowney or Khalil Mack better than the quarterbacks then there’s nothing wrong with taking him.
Mike the Man from Middleburgh Clan:
Mr. O, I just like your column. No doubt, you’re the best. Thank you every day.
John: You’re a genius with impeccable taste.
You’re a genius with impeccable taste.:
I am a firm believer in drafting the Best Available Player, so regardless of our situation at offensive tackle, I hope the Jaguars at least consider Greg Robinson with the third pick in case they can't trade down. Can I get a one fer Robinson?
John: Sure, and I’m sure the Jaguars will “consider” it, but the guess here is they will be opting fer a different player at No. 3. Not that Robinson isn’t very, very good, but it’s unlikely they take a second consecutive offensive tackle in a year in which there are potential elite players at a lot of positions early.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
Honestly, with Gus as a coach, I could do Dave's job. I'm not worried about this draft at all... Unless we draft Johnny.
John: I’m sure Bradley would love the praise and your confidence. I also think he’s glad David Caldwell is the Jaguars’ General Manager.
Andy from Saint Johns, FL:
I have noticed a trend reading the O-Zone. I have concluded that if you submit questions praising you and making fun of JP, they get published, vs. submitting questions making fun of you and praising JP.
John: Yep.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
The Jaguars’ success at picking in the first round has been poor at best, especially when using the pick on a "skill" position. If Marcedes leaves, Alualu and Gabbert will be our sole remaining number ones not counting Luke or any player currently serving an indefinite suspension. The franchise can simply not afford another busted pick. I vote for moving down and taking a big body in the middle of the round and keep building our lines.
John: A couple of thoughts. First, you can’t not count Luke Joeckel. Second, it doesn’t appear Lewis is going anywhere, so that’s Joeckel, Alualu, Gabbert, Lewis and probably Justin Blackmon – not a terrific first-round track record but perhaps not quite as dreary as you say. But your main point seems to be that because the Jaguars have struggled in the first round they should trade back in the future to avoid busts. You can’t operate that way. If you want to trade back because it’s the wise thing to do, then fine. Don’t do it from a fear of failure.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
What percentage of the hype surrounding Clowney is directly related to the hit against Michigan than was shown 78,000 times on ESPN?
John: 25.6 percent.
Chris from Omaha, NE:
John, what is it about Bridgewater that makes people question his ceiling or potential to get better? I don't see how anyone could accurately say that at this point. It seems like it would be opposite since he is usually regarded as the quarterback that studies the most film and understands reading defenses and works extremely hard – all qualities needed to improve atquarterback in the NFL.
John: It’s mainly his size. He doesn’t appear to have the frame to get much bigger, and NFL folks seem so think he’ll probably play at about 205-210 pounds. That scares some people. That doesn’t mean those NFL folks are right; NFL folks are actually wrong a lot. But that’s a big reason people talk about Bridgewater’s ceiling.
Rich from Chicago, IL:
Since the suspension of Blackmon isn't assured of playing anytime soon, would a replacement via free agency, draft or play with what we have be the best plan going forward in your opinion? I really liked what I saw of Evans in the combine.
John: This will be something that plays out over the offseason. The Jaguars, remember, still have a lot of adding to do, and that adding likely will take place over the course of the next two or three offseasons. One position they likely want to add is an elite receiver – and that’s true whatever Blackmon’s future holds. The question then becomes, “When do you do that?” Because there are many positions to add, the answer may be this offseason, but it could be next offseason, too. If the draft falls in such a way that an elite receiver is the best choice in the first- or second-round this year, they could go that route.
John from Section 105:
If Joeckel was in this draft class, do you think he would be the favorite to be the No. 1 pick at this point? I think he would be.
John: No. That’s not a knock on Joeckel, but with pass-rushing defensive ends and quarterbacks very much in the mix those positions often move past left tackle except in rare circumstances.
James from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Clowney might be the closest thing to Lawrence Taylor physically, but from what I've watched he doesn't seem to have LT's passion.
John: We shall see.
James from Socorro, NM:
Pro Bowl defensive end or above-average quarterback? It seems like Houston answered that question last year.
John: The Texans indeed had J.J. Watt and average quarterback play last season, a season in which they finished 2-14. If you believe the NFL is a game of simple if-then scenarios and two-man rosters, then the Texans’ season answered forever the question of Pro Bowl defensive end or above-average quarterback. There was, of course, much more to the Texans’ season, but yeah – if you have a choice, you take the above-average quarterback.
Dave from Oviedo, FL:
O-man, let's say the Jags pass on quarterback in Round 1, but select one in Round 2. If you were a betting man, who would you put your money on?
John: A.J. McCarron, but I’m a terrible gambler.
Manning from Calgary, AB:
I've seen some reputable people mock us Sammy Watkins and there's no question he's the best receiver in the draft, but I can't think of a scenario where we'd actually go this route. Can you? I mean, too me, even with Blackmon's issues, I can't imagine us taking a wide receiver over a quarterback or pass rusher.Thoughts?
John: It would be a surprise, but not out of the question. Remember, the Jaguars are approaching the Blackmon situation very much wanting him to return but not planning the roster around him. Watkins would give the Jaguars three very good receivers with he, Blackmon and Shorts if Blackmon returns. Either way, many believe Watkins can be a No. 1 receiver. That makes it a possibility, though I wouldn’t call it likely.
Greg from Jacksonville:
The cap is supposed to exceed $132 million – basically negating any significant advantage we had. Bummer.
John: I wouldn’t be too bummed out. The raised cap raises it for all teams, which means the Jaguars still have more cap space than most teams. Besides, the Jaguars weren’t planning to break the bank in free agency; that’s not the long-term building plan.
Steve from Hudson, FL:
If you were to run the 40 at the combine would you wear your glasses?
John: Oh, I think I’d wear more than that.

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