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O-Zone: Train of thought

Posted Apr 27, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Zach from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Three players who are arguably best available – all at positions of need. This Dave Caldwell guy knows his stuff.
John: After two days, I’d have to agree. Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell would be the first to tell you that you can’t grade a draft in the hours, weeks or even months after its conclusion. And it’s quite possible – even likely – that one of the three players selected over the past two days won’t project quite as Caldwell hoped. But that’s the nature of the draft. There are no perfect drafters (or perfect senior writers). What you hope for as a general manager is to do the research and have the correct plan so you give yourself the best opportunity to hit on the most good players. That’s not a sexy way to portray a general manager’s job, but it’s reality. Caldwell seems to have targeted solid players and seems to have addressed glaring, immediate needs on the roster in logical fashion. Granted, the Jaguars had enough needs that it would be hard not to address them, but through two days and three selections, this appears at first glance to be a solid draft.
Kris from Green Bay, WI:
So, I think it’s a foregone conclusion we take Nassib with the first pick in Round 4. I mean come on, what a steal that he slid back this far. Take the kid as a project player and let Gabbert and Henne fight for the start this season.
John: That wouldn’t be shocking. It also wouldn’t be entirely shocking if the Jaguars took Matt Barkley. At the same time, I think it’s time fans get their heads around this thought – that for all of the pre-draft buildup and speculation, there just wasn’t a feeling among Jaguars coaches and personnel people that the quarterbacks in this class would beat out Blaine Gabbert and/or Chad Henne for the starting quarterback position. Caldwell said Friday the team had bigger needs in this draft than quarterback, and there’s a feeling within the organization that with Luke Joeckel on the line the franchise can now get an honest, legitimate read on Gabbert – should he win the starting job. The Jaguars could select a quarterback Saturday, and they almost certainly will add a quarterback in some capacity. While fans have painted Nassib, Barkley and several of the other quarterbacks in this draft as legitimate potential competition for Gabbert, that simply wasn’t the feeling inside EverBank Field.
Nick from Atlanta, GA:
Just a quick PSA to all the Jags fans that remember the past without remembering all the details: It was Boselli AND Leon Searcy running the show up front.
John: Yes, it was.
Tiler from Jacksonville:
Where is the section on the home page that shows us our selections? We had it in the past, honestly it was great. Very disappointed.
John: I have to step in here and stop you, because you’re embarrassing yourself. This answer has nothing to do with me, because I don’t build the pages and I don’t do web design. Those tasks, frankly, are beneath my social and financial status, which while true, is strikingly sad. Yet, while my supporting cast at jaguars.com – particularly, Chris “Disposal” Burdett and John “You’re Dead to Me” Cascio – may be socially challenged, they are among the best in the NFL at what they do, and they designed the jaguars.com site for the draft beyond anything I’ve seen or been around in the NFL. Joking aside, if you are not happy with the jaguars.com coverage of the draft this weekend, you should find another medium through which to follow the event. In terms of draft coverage, I’d rank it above anything I’ve been involved with, and frankly, anything I’ve ever seen on a team website.
Jeff from Chattanooga, TN:
I love the phone segments with our picks, but I think you guys can do better on the graphic in the video. At least use a pic of a newer iPhone with a carrier that still exists. Or just the recruit's picture. Or just our logo. Signed, "The Only Guy Probably Bugged By This."
John: Careful there, Jeff. Ask Tiler what happens when you mess with the supporting cast. THROWDOWN!!!!!!!!!
Dallas from New York, NY:
My feelings on the Joeckel pick rest entirely on whether or not we re-sign Eugene Monroe. If we do, then we have two great tackles for the future in an increasingly-pass friendly league. If we let him walk, then we essentially just treaded water with the pick, even if Joeckel is an upgrade at LT. Thoughts?
John: My thought is this is how this selection will be viewed by some, and that’s understandable. What people must realize is the selection of Joeckel was not in the Jaguars’ view tied to whether or not Monroe remains on the roster after the coming season. Caldwell as of right now hasn’t negotiated with Monroe for a new contract nor does he plan to until after the season. Gus Bradley hasn’t worked with Monroe for a season. So, these two guys don’t know if Monroe will be part of the future or not. Ideally, he would be. If Monroe and Joeckel each play so well that you can’t envision a future without them, the Jaguars will figure out a way to pay both. But for the purposes of this draft, with the beginning of the building process at hand, Caldwell had to take that out of the equation as much as possible. He had to say, “How do I most improve the talent level on this team?” The answer was, “By taking the highest-graded guy.” At the beginning of the building process, that makes sense. If Monroe works out and the Jaguars want to keep him, then that’s great. If not, then you have a talented player at that spot. I get that people are going to want to analyze it from different angles, but that’s the rationale at its core.
Scott from Section 138 and Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I think it is fair to say your draft prediction was wrong and the GM drafts BAP versus specifically for need. That being said since we have no cornerbacks on the roster, will we likely get them from the draft to start right away or somewhere in free agency?
John: I think it’s fair to say I never made a draft “prediction” except to post three mock drafts, the last of which had the Jaguars taking a left tackle. I also think it’s fair to say David Caldwell was pretty specific Thursday when he said he believed perhaps the major need on the Jaguars was to improve the pass protection – and really, all three of the first selections of this draft have very definitely filled needs.
Brian from Viera, FL:
I understand left tackle is more important than right tackle because he protects the blind side of the quarterback, but I never got why playing left tackle would be any more difficult than playing right tackle. I always assumed that both tackles play mirror styles of each other. Is it because defenses overload one side over the other? Can you explain that to us?
John: One isn’t by definition more difficult than the other except that in the NFL teams often line up the best pass rusher on the right side of the defense. That makes left tackle more difficult because you’re usually playing a better pass rusher. The style depends on the player and the scheme and the background. Typically, right tackles have played a more run-oriented style because teams have tended to place more physical, brawling types there and left tackles have often played with a bit more finesse. There’s no reason that has to be true other than teams typically tend to draft specific types of players to play each side.
Timothy from Jacksonville:
I was looking through old Jaguar draft classes and I noticed something with the 2009 draft. There were nine players taken and all nine are all currently employed in the NFL (Only Monroe with the Jags). I see a whole lot of potential in that 2009 class but even more injuries and flat play. If those players could have lived up to their potential or stayed healthy that 2009 class could have spring boarded the team like it was supposed to, just something I noticed.
John: This is a day for looking ahead, not back, but yes, no doubt that class had potential. And remember: the year after it was selected many ranked it as one of the top drafts in its class. Draft classes work out different ways for different reasons. Players get injured. They don’t develop for various reasons. That’s what makes the draft so exciting, so cruel in some cases and in all cases, so difficult to project.
Jay from Montreal, Quebec:
O-Man, what do you think the higher-ups saw in Dwayne Gratz to take him above his teammate, Blidi Wreh-Wilson? I think it's safe to say we all expected Blidi to go higher. Add that to the perception that Gus Bradley likes taller corners (see: Browner, Sherman) and I'm thoroughly confused, though not unhappy.
John: When discussing the Gratz selection, David Caldwell was asked about that very topic. He said the Jaguars liked what Gratz did Senior Bowl week, and liked his ability to play physical and tackle. He may not be the prototype Bradley cornerback in terms of height, but Caldwell said Gratz plays well on “an island” and has the mindset and physical toughness to do so.
Morgan from Starkville, MS:
Hey, O-Man I've notice you have a bad habit of not reading the full Question. Is it your ADD, or are you needing a nap. When did you stop reading this?
John: I always read the whole question. Sometimes, I

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