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O-Zone: Easily distracted

Posted Feb 28, 2013

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

Terrance from Jacksonville:
John, with Kansas City trading for Alex Smith it looks like they'll maybe pick Luke Joeckel with the first selection. That being said, it also looks like any team wanting Geno Smith will have to get up to the second pick, making it easier to trade back in the first round.
John: There’s no question the Chiefs’ pending trade for Alex Smith changes the dynamic of the draft. Now, we know that the Chiefs aren’t taking a quarterback. That in theory could enhance the value of the No. 2 pick if teams are indeed wanting to trade up. It also will bring the Jaguars into the national conversation regarding Smith. The guess at this early stage is still that the Jaguars would prefer to trade the selection, but that’s the guess now and as we saw with Tuesday’s trade, much can change on a day-to-day basis leading to the trade. Remember, too, that there’s no hard, fast rule that a team automatically will want to trade up for Smith. It seems very possible, but it’s not a sure thing.
John from Section 213:
What's your favorite part of being the senior writer at jaguars.com?
John: Oh, all of it!!! The money, the great working environment and certainly my company car. It’s really not work at all.
Alex from New York, NY:
Can you explain what makes a 'Leo' different from a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker? Is it just coaches trying to sound fancy? Is it a position for tweeners?
John: It’s really a hybrid position, and has been described as a guy who’s not really an outside linebacker and not really a defensive end. It’s sort of a position for tweeners, but if a guy is a tweener, he better be able to rush the passer and he better have the speed to do it quickly if he wants to play the Leo.
Robert from Jacksonville:
I think this year’s draft shows great value for a punter in the first round. What say you, John?
John: I don’t get it.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
Do you feel a majority of the O-Zone questions you receive are serious in nature, or do you get a large percentage of joke-type questions, like people asking far-fetched scenarios to try to trick you into thinking they are serious questions, or stupid questions just to get you to respond with a cheap answer to solicit a laugh from your readers?
John: The majority of questions are from women, mainly wanting pictures of me working out. I delete most of those.
Justus from Spartanburg, FL:
Here is the Jaguars’ website from 1996. How does that make you feel?
John: Old.
Troy from Orange Park, FL:
I am not surprised that the JAGS don't want to give any of the free agents the franchise tag. After two wins, they would be lucky to still be on the team after the general manager said he wants to clean house and this is his team. That is why I posed the Maurice Jones-Drew question to you a while back. Is anybody on the roster job safe?
John: Sure, there are players who are essentially safe for next season – particularly a lot of players under contract. I see Jones-Drew being here, as well as Blaine Gabbert, Eugene Monroe, Cecil Shorts, Justin Blackmon, Marcedes Lewis, Paul Posluszny, Tyson Alualu, C.J. Mosley, Josh Scobee, Bryan Anger – to name a few. That group figures to be a pretty significant part of the core next season.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Defensive linemen often shift around the line depending on the scheme and to give their pass rushers the best chance to get to the quarterbacks. Is this tactic ever used by offensive lines? Do they ever shift the offensive linemen around, maybe to put their best man on the defensive line’s best man? If that is a possibility, then I think drafting Joeckel or another left tackle could be a good option for the Jaguars.
John: Teams typically don’t move their starting linemen around on a game-to-game basis. There’s a lot of communication that goes on on the line, and teams generally feel continuity and comfort level with a player next to another is key. As far as Joeckel, it’s too early to say for certain, but my early guess is the odds of the Jaguars taking him got a lot worse Wednesday with the news that the Chiefs are trading for Smith.
Andrew from Orange Park, FL:
We all know that at some point earlier in the draft the Jags are going to select a defensive end, most likely with the second pick. Do you think they will look for a traditional defensive end or a LEO-specific type player? Like what Seattle did selecting Bruce Irvin.
John: I’d lean toward a player who can play the Leo, but if the Jaguars believe there is a guy who can make a huge difference rushing the passer, I think they would take him and figure out where to play him.
Ron from Orlando, FL:
Could you explain why we let our few draft picks that are actually productive starters hit free agency?? Especially at positions of need such as cornerback. This is ridiculous. Why draft anyone if we don’t plan to keep them? Just pick up a cheap veteran instead and hope for the best.
John: The Jaguars have a new general manager and a new head coach. That adds up to a pretty significant new direction, one that is going to involve competition and almost certainly quite a bit of change. I assume the player you’re referring to is Derek Cox. If he indeed doesn’t return, it would be a matter of the two sides not being able to agree on Cox’s value as a player. That happens all the time in the NFL, and considering the Jaguars are building a young roster through the draft, it wouldn’t be out of the question for the decision-makers to put a limit on what to pay a fifth-year veteran who has missed significant time with injuries. I would be sorry to see Cox go. He’s a good person who has been nothing but professional in his dealings with me, but considering the circumstances, sure, there’s a chance it could happen.
Al from Fruit Cove, FL and Section TBA:
If Alabama's Chance Warmack is as great as we are told, why is he still playing guard, rather than move to the more impactful (more difficult?) position of tackle?
John: Because he is more physically suited to the guard position. There’s nothing wrong with that. At the same, the reason for the resistance to taking a guard in the first round lies within the premise of your question. It’s difficult for people to draft guards earlier and pay them more than tackles when tackle is typically where the best linemen play.
John from Jacksonville:
At this point, which would you say has a higher chance of getting traded: our second overall pick or the first pick in the second round? With this draft there's not a lot of drop-off with the top 10 picks and the last 10 picks in the first round I would say it would be harder to trade the 2nd overall pick because of that.
John: The first selection of the second appears more likely, and that remains the case even with the announced trade of Smith to the Chiefs.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
This upcoming draft seems to have good depth at all offensive line positions as well as at running back and wide receiver. I understand the Jaguars have pressing needs at all three levels of the defensive front but I believe they should focus primarily on offense. If they can improve the offensive line, find a third receiver, a quality No. 2 back who could replace Jones-Drew in 2014, and a receiving tight end, then there should be plenty of talent surrounding whoever plays quarterback to succeed. I think this approach would best allow the team to determine if Gabbert is the quarterback of the future. If the worst comes, they'll end up picking No. 1 next year, get Jadeveon Clowney, and have improved offensive talent. If you can't win a Super Bowl without a franchise quarterback then why not try this approach?
John: As we discussed recently, these approaches are never as black and white as readers often want, but there’s some merit in the one you outline. I’d say there’s a pretty good chance the Jaguars could draft precisely the positions you mentioned. At the same time, there are needs in many places on the roster. If there are cornerbacks, pass rushers or defensive tackles available at the right spots, those players certainly could help as well.
Robert from Bartram Springs, FL:
Since I only have a 30-second attention span (60 seconds, max), can you make sure to put the best, most interesting questions first so that I can get my information before something else catches my . . . oh, wait – a red ball!
John: Ah, Robert . . . my target audience.

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