JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .
Troy from Orange Park, FL:
Now that you had the chance to see all the players at the combine, who impressed you and who – or what position – do you hope the JAGS will draft in each round?
John: First off, I won’t pretend to have seen all the players at the NFL Scouting Combine. We were busy writing stories and producing videos on Jaguars personnel, as well as covering the players on the field. I have been trying to catch up by watching the drills, and have gotten through a pretty good amount. I couldn’t help but be struck by Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner’s speed Tuesday, as well as the overall athleticism of Brigham Young defensive end Ziggy Ansah. Louisiana State pass rusher Barkevious Mingo looked better than I expected and Texas A&M pass rusher Damontre Moore was disappointing. The four top offensive linemen – Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper, Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher – looked about as I expected, too, and I wonder if Cooper wouldn’t fit better than Warmack into the Jaguars’ offensive line with the move toward a zone-blocking scheme. Like many, I was startled at Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s 40-time, and it seemed to confirm my suspicion that he would have been a reach in the top half of the first round. There are a lot more issues to sort through. Fortunately, we have a lot more time before the draft. As for your final question, I have no idea what position the Jaguars will draft in each round. I wouldn’t expect that sort of breakdown from here any time soon. There are too many needs and too many players to make that sort of projection much more than throwing darts at a board, although one theory that does make sense is the Jaguars addressing cornerback in the second or third rounds. Gus Bradley likes big corners and it looks like you’ll be able to find them after the first round.
Brien from Charlottesville, VA:
Alright Joyn, I absolutely love you. You're the man. But you keep posting my name with a Y instead of an I. Is it possible there is an alterego out there of me who thinks exactly like me? To think there could be two people in the world this great, named Brian and Bryan....your play Ozhur.
John: I’ll be more careful.
Kamal from San Francisco, CA:
Why isn't cornerback being talked about as a greater need this offseason? If Cox leaves in free agency, we are essentially left with Ross, Harris, and Mathis – a veteran who struggled mightily in coverage, an inexperienced undersized player (albeit with some upside), and an aging former star who is likely past his prime.
John: I agree with you, which is either very good for you or very disturbing depending on your viewpoint. I consider cornerback one of the biggest needs on the roster for essentially the reasons you cite, and it remains to be seen if all of the players in the trio you mentioned will return. At this point, I’d be surprised if both Ross and Mathis remain on the roster, and it wouldn’t be stunning if neither return.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Why did you all leave the combine a day early before the cornerbacks? Are the Jaguars not interested in getting a cornerback early in the draft? This would seem strange, especially with the chance that Derek Cox
might not be retained. Why would the Jags pack up and leave before possibly one of the most important positions for this team's draft plans take the field?
John: The Jaguars as a franchise didn’t leave, just those of us covering the event for jaguars.com. The combine as a media event is different from the combine as a scouting event, and the media event for most non-NFL Network types ends Sunday, with the workouts continuing through Tuesday. Don’t read anything into us leaving Sunday; it has nothing to do with the team’s interest.
Aaron from Orange Park, FL:
I think we are all thinking this: If Geno is late teen/twenties QB prospect and Gabbert was not selected by us falls down to say the Vikings in the Second round, should we not draft Geno given that Gabbert has been ranked the 32 ranked QB over the last two years? Also, where is the love for the gold in our Uniforms.. i mean Jaguars are more gold then anything. I thought Teal was reserved for the "Highlight" Color?
John: Aaron, I think it’s safe to say not all of us were thinking that.
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 436:
If Joeckel is on the board at No. 2, why not pick and immediately trade him for draft picks? I know there were different circumstances, but the Chargers drafted Eli and then immediately traded him to the Giants. The rest is history.
John: It is far more difficult to draft a non-quarterback and trade for draft picks than to draft a quarterback and do so. Also, if some team is going to trade for Joeckel, they may as well just trade for the selection and select him themselves.
Corey from Orange Park, FL:
John! You answered two of my questions! That puts me at a 20 percent success rate. My parents would be proud.
John: I doubt it.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
I have a few questions based on observations lately concerning the draft. Five years ago, on this site, the resident prison guard would respond unmercifully to anyone that suggested the least bit of logic for drafting need rather than the absolute BAP Rule! Pretty much the party line in the media at the time too. Now, the national buzz is endless analysis of when BAP vs. Need should occur in the draft for any given team and its situation. Need is back. Seemed like this change happened pretty quickly? Have we witnessed the rise and fall of BAP (outside of the top 5-10 picks, if even that)? If my observation has merit, what happened?
John: I can’t speak for the prison guard, or for the national buzz. I will say that I have been pretty consistent in explaining best-available-player, even as it related to Gene Smith’s approach. His approach was to take the best available player, and within that approach if there were players with similar grades in a group to take the need at the time. It was not a pure chart numbered 1-1000, with the Jaguars taking the number one player on the board if he was .0000001 percent better than the second player on the board. As with many things, draft theories are generally not black and white concepts as much as philosophical guidelines.
Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I'm excited about the JAGS potentially acquiring a "LEO" at #2 but candidates Ziggy Ansah, Dion Jordan, Cornelius Washington, and Margus Hunt (as untested rookies) may not give us the productivity that Bruce Irvin and/or Chris Clemons have provided Gus and the Seahawks. Too risky, or too much upside to pass up?
John: None of the players you mentioned likely will provide the productivity of those players as rookies. Players who produce at that level as rookies are rare.
Matt from Bloomington, IN:
O-man, what are your thoughts on EJ Manuel as the first pick of the second round? He's looked good ever since the FSU bowl win, including reports that his stock has risen during the combine.
John: My first thought is that’s a round or two high for Manuel. I thought of him as about a third- or fourth-rounder at FSU, and considering the first pick of the second round is No. 33, I’d see that as a bit high to rise during the combine.
Mark from Waverly, IA:
I think I've got a good analogy to silence all those "Wormack @ 2" guys. Brian Anger is a VERY good punter, but fans freaked at the pick, saying it wasn't worth it, and that was a third-rounder. While guard is a bit more sexy than punter, it would still be viewed as a wasted draft pick. Am I close?
John: That’s a pretty decent analogy. I’ve been giving my anti-guard-at-No.-2-stance some thought, by the way. I’m not ready to dive head first into the idea of Warmack at No. 2, but I’m willing to listen. This isn’t in any way an indication of anything I’ve heard about the Jaguars’ thinking, by the way, just some consideration given to the concept after listening to people I respect at the combine. I can’t say that I’ll ever fall in love with the idea, but I can listen to reason. We’ll discuss this, I’m sure, plenty in the coming weeks.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
Tom Brady has shown that he puts winning above having the biggest contract. Despite aging, he has to be making less money overall (even though this is all guaranteed) than he could have received for his talents, because he knows his team needs the money to sign the players that make Tom Brady a threat to be Super Bowl MVP every year. I bet the Ravens hope Joe Flacco looks to Tom Brady for inspiration this off-season.
John: Brady makes millions off endorsements that makes it a bit more palpable to take “less,” a word I put in quotes considering the $57 million Brady will receive in guarantees. Considering the deal nearly doubles Brady’s guaranteed money in his contract, I’m not bending over backwards yet to anoint him as the ultimate team-first guy – at least not because of this. He certainly is a team guy, but he did what any NFL player is smart to do. He got paid.