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O-Zone: Backlash no factor

Posted Mar 6, 2013

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .

Joey from Middleburg, FL:
Do you see the trade value of the No. 1 and 2 draft picks declining this year? With multiple Top 5 teams looking to trade down and with no Andrew Luck or RGIII in this year's draft, the chances for a bidding war appear to be low. Should/would a team be willing to "take slightly less" in a draft-day trade this year?
John: There’s no question the trade value of those top two selections is much lower than last off-season. That’s the difference between having can’t-miss quarterbacks in those positions and not having can’t-miss quarterbacks there. So, to answer your final question: yes, a team trading out likely will have to take less than they would have last offseason. Quarterback changes the dynamic that much.
Eric from Yulee, FL:
Good to hear we cut Guy Whimper. I guess someone there has been reviewing footage of the games... finally. Now where can I expect to see all the roster moves on the website?
John: The roster moves will be on the site – and reflected on the roster – as they become official.
Ray from Vernon, FL:
Is it correct to believe if a free agent is truly still a great player, then the player’s current team would find a way to re-sign him? I will admit as a Jags fan I get frustrated when I hear we aren't going to be active in free agency, but there is a reason those players are free agents to begin with. Thanks for giving us fans daily reading, O-Man.
John: That’s usually very much the case. As free agency has gone on, teams have gotten better and better at identifying core players and re-signing those core players before they become free agents. There are exceptions, and players do become free. Sometimes, a team categorically doesn’t re-sign players at certain positions and those players go on to join other teams and be core players. Mike Peterson comes to mind. He was a good linebacker for the Colts, but that franchise didn’t re-sign outside linebackers in free agency at the time and he became a core player on some very good Jaguars defenses. But more often than not, free agents are outrageously expensive and – as you say – if they were ideal players, their former teams probably wouldn’t have let them leave.
Jeff from Orange Park, FL:
In response to Mike from Jacksonville, I went to the Clay County forum in Orange Park and I'd like to make the comment that Mark is very interested in fan input, especially from the "die-hard" fans; those that have been around from Day 1. I'm impressed by his leadership from the Business Development side, I just hope it translates to the football side.
John: I thought it fair to include this after including the email Tuesday wondering if Jaguars President Mark Lamping was interested in fan input. The best indication of the level of interest is that the fan forums exist. If the Jaguars weren’t interested in the fans, there would be no reason to have the forums. Most NFL teams don’t have a similar outreach program.
Schnel from Jamaica:
Is it true there will no longer be flyovers before games?? I would sacrifice the bigger display screen for a show of patriotism.
John: One has nothing to do with the other, Schnel. The military is suspending the flyovers. That means the Jaguars and any other team can’t have them whatever the size or cost of the proposed video boards.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
Are teams able to work out a player they are targeting beside the combine or pro day? For instance, if a player is injured for both events?
John: Yes. First, most top players will reschedule their Pro Day as late as early April if they are injured. That’s relatively common. Second, teams do bring in up to 30 college players each April as they prepare for the draft. A workout is part of that visit.
Jason from Orange Park, FL:
So, in a league that features the most parity in all professional sports, the Jaguars are sending a message of "not next year" to a fan base that has not experienced a winning season since 2007?
John: I don’t know what message fans are receiving. I know what the Jaguars plan to do is build through the draft with an eye toward contending long-term. That means staying away from high-priced, stop-gap, high-profile free agency.
Duncan from Jacksonville:
John, I have this hunch that the Jags won't be very active in free agency.
John: Shh.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I heard a report that two Jaguars players (names omitted, of course) expressed their displeasure that the Jags did not get Alex Smith. In your opinion, are the players sold on the quarterbacks that are on the roster, or are we in for some locker room disfunction if we enter the year with the same quarterbacks?
John: There probably are players unhappy about that. There also may be players who don’t like this coach or that coach, or players who aren’t nuts about having V-8 in the cafeteria and not Red Bull. Players play, coaches coach and general managers generally manage. As I said when answering a question about Blaine Gabbert Monday, everyone has their opinion on what has gone on before. Are there players who like Gabbert? Sure. Are there those who are skeptical? Most likely – just as anyone who has seen the Jaguars the last two years would be skeptical. You know how much all of that matters? Very little. What matters is what’s going on moving forward, and my guess is players who aren’t in tune with that won’t be around long enough for their voices to be heard.
Anthony from Fontana, CA:
I was listening to an interview with Chuck Pagano and he was saying that they were focused on keeping their QB upright. One of our many needs is keeping our QB upright also. We should draft accordingly.
John: I’ll pass it along.
Ben from Jacksonville:
I found an interesting article on mockdrafthq.com. The writer gives his analysis on your mock draft selection of Ezekiel Ansah for the Jags. He says, "once again the Jaguars overlook an SEC player right in their backyard (Jarvis Jones) to select a small school player. Wasn’t that Gene Smith’s thing? Where has that gotten them so far? If the neck checks out there is no reason to turn a blind eye to Jarvis Jones, who’s right there in Georgia and should be well-scouted by this organization." Not even a day after you release your mock and you're already getting ripped. Well, that’s life.
John: Well, if mockdrafthq.com said it . . .
Patrick from St. Augustine, FL:
In your opinion how does the tagging of Branden Albert change things for the Chiefs in the upcoming draft?
John: Very little, if at all. Tagging a player secures him for one season, and offers no particular guarantee that the player will be there after that season. Taking a player No. 1 overall is essentially setting that player up to be a major part of your organization for at least four or five years, and ideally a lot longer than that. To think that the Chiefs would automatically go away from Luke Joeckel as the top pick just because they franchised Albert is to not understand the difference between long-term and short-term.
Matt from Orlando, FL:
Hey OZone, Tecmo Bowl or Madden? Be honest.
John: Matty, you know it’s always been Tecmo and always will be.
John from Section 213:
Will the Jaguars scouts or general manager ask current players for their input on old college teammates entering the draft? Will someone ask Mike Harris about his thoughts on Werner or Xavier Rhodes?
John: A conversation such as that might take place in passing, but it likely wouldn’t have much sway on the eventual decision. Most likely anything a former teammate could tell a team – particularly about a potential first-round selection – already has been covered in the pre-draft research and investigation into the player’s background.
Joey from Middleburg, FL:
John, are there positions that are easier to predict success with when drafting? It seems QB, DE, and WR have always befuddled NFL teams (the Jags included) come draft day. Are there any "safe" positions when drafting?
John: Yes, running back – barring injury – is usually a more straightforward position to scout because most come in more NFL-ready than many positions. Cornerback also is more straightforward – meaning a top prospect either has the athletic skills and attributes necessary to play at a high level or he doesn’t. Probably the easiest is offensive line, and particularly left tackle. Most players were either born to play that position or they weren’t. There are exceptions, of course, but that’s an overview.
Josiah from Jacksonville:
Ziggy Ansah? How would someone who has played sporadically throughout college with a career 4.5 sacks, jump to 2nd overall pick? What happened to Floyd or Werner or even Jarvis Jones? I've seen Ziggy’s highlights, but he is just still too new to football and has yet to play a full season. Can he last 16 games?
John: We’ll see. It’s early March. It’s a mock draft. It’s a possibility. There are others – many others.
Chad from Section 123:
Do you see potential backlash from the fans if the new regime picks a defensive tackle with the No. 2 selection? Didn't we reach and do that three years ago and get a mediocre player?
John: I have no idea how the fans will react to the Jaguars’ selection. I certainly hope David Caldwell’s not thinking about that. If he is, the franchise is in real trouble.

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