Let's get to it . . .
K.C. from Jacksonville:
I am impressed with our draft and the improvement I envision our team showing next year. If Blackmon and Branch contribute we are close to taking our division and moving into the playoffs. Is it possible, given the uncertainty surrounding Terrance Knighton
, that we delve back into the free-agent market to fill that void in the short term and add a solid contributor to the rotation?
If Knighton doesn’t progress or if there is an indication he wouldn’t play next season, I suppose there’s a chance the Jaguars could acquire a veteran later in the off-season. The issue there obviously is anyone available later in the off-season is available for a reason. The Jaguars drafted Jeris Pendleton
with the idea of providing depth there, and re-signed C.J. Mosley
for the same reason. They also are counting on D’Anthony Smith to play.
Evan from Section 139 and Ponte Vedra, FL:
With over 150 college football teams, why did we pick Anger in the third round? Were there no other punters coming out of college near his skills if we had tried to draft him in a later round and he wasn't available?
John: No, there were not.
Eric from Yulee, FL:
You said "I’m not sure it’s a franchise-defining mistake...I certainly don’t believe it’s one on which the franchise’s future will rise or fall." But what we all really care about is how Mr. Khan feels about the draft pick because he is the one who decides if we move to LA, not you.
John: It seems what you’re saying is Shad Khan might move the franchise to Los Angeles because of a third-round draft selection. That means that after saying he was committed to Jacksonville – and being very pointed and clear about it in every possible setting – he would go through the legal maneuverings, the lease-breaking headaches, the expense, the meetings with other owners for approval, the public-relations fallout of not being truthful . . . he would make a decision that would define him publicly for the rest of his life . . . you’re saying he would go through all of that because of a *third-round draft pick?* Eric, is that honestly what you’re saying?
William from St. Augustine, FL:
Gene realizes this and some fans do not: almost all possessions after kickoffs will start at the twenty – and it could get worse. Without a great punter a quick three-and-out gives the opposition a twenty-yard advantage.
John: I have no doubt that was one of many factors.
Jonathan from Lawrence, KS:
So every top ten pick should be expected to be in the All-Pro discussion? Let’s assume a 13-year career and three years to get to All-Pro level, then by Drew’s logic there should around 100 Top Ten-drafted players in the All-Pro discussion every year. That is absurd. I don’t think there should be All-Pro expectations attached to a Top 10 draft pick at all.
John: You select players you hope will be All-Pros, but players are not disappointments if they don’t make All-Pro. What you expect from Top 10 selections is that they are long-term starters who become core players and who are worth re-signing. You want those players to make you better and be guys that win on one on. If they’re defensive players or skill players, you want the opponent to have to change their schemes for them. By that measure, too, Monroe and Alualu were worthy of Top 10 selections.
George from Jacksonville:
Real question is...does Gene read The O-zone?
John: Maybe he’s the one.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
I haven't seen anyone say this since the draft so I will come forward. As one of the people who said we should lose games last year to move up and get Blackmon, you were right Vitamin-O. We truly can’t predict what happens in the draft and should not lose games for it. Would you look at that, the Jags played to win, and still got the wideout I wanted.
John: I’m big on not only self-adulation, but emails that talk of my greatness. I post most of them, which is why this is the first one since January. That said, many people still write saying I was completely wrong, and that the Jaguars should have intentionally lost to the Colts – and if they had, they wouldn’t have had to trade the fourth-round selection for Blackmon, and they wouldn’t have to select Anger so high. I see the argument, but still say you play to win in the NFL and you draft the best players for your situation that you can.
Peter from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Do you disagree with anything the Jaguars have done this offseason?
I would have liked to have seen them get better at pass rusher, but the only obvious “go-get” free agent was defensive end Mario Williams and I don’t know that paying him the amount Buffalo paid him made sense. They addressed this area in the draft, and they believe Andre Branch
will help at pass rusher. I don’t doubt this, but am always skeptical how quickly a rookie pass rusher will make a dramatic impact. Mostly, I like what the Jaguars did in free agency because I’m not a big believer in loud, dramatic off-season moves. You improve the most by drafting players and letting them develop and by remembering that not every player is a finished product as a rookie or second-year player. When you say “building process,” the early years of the process aren’t easy. If they were, you’d call it something else.
Sean from Asheville, NC:
Will we know the restocking of talent on this team will be complete when other teams wait for our players that are cut to help them? I cannot remember the last time one of our players was cut and immediately snapped by another team.
John: The Jaguars released running back Deji Karim last weekend. He was signed by the Colts Monday. That doesn’t necessarily mean the restocking is complete, but that’s the last time it happened. The Eagles also signed punter Spencer Lanning this week.
Ray from Jacksonville:
I like the Bryan Anger
pick. He's very good. The Jags don't exactly have a stellar track record with third-round picks through the years. Anger may end up being a Jaguar lifer and one of the most productive third-rounders the franchise has ever had.
I consider the third-round sort of a no man’s land. Most fans get excited about third-round selections they’ve heard of and they often turn out to be guys who have fallen down draft boards for a reason. The Jaguars certainly have had the same troubles many teams have had there. To be fair, though, it has been a pretty productive area for the team since 2009: Terrance Knighton, Derek Cox
, Will Rackley
and D’Anthony Smith. Smith hasn’t played, but the others have started. Knighton and Cox by any measure have been successful third-rounders and the team feels strongly that Rackley will be a solid long-term starter.
Gary from Jacksonville:
With all the trades that went on this year, I could have missed something. In other words, did we pick up or lose any for next year?
John: As of right now, the Jaguars have all seven selections in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Chris from Section 437:
Since the draft I have seen angry comments about late-round picks. How many Round 5, 6 and 7 guys end up making a difference anyway? It seems that most of these guys end up playing very small or reserve rolls and very few ever become stars.
People were upset about the fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round guys? What, they didn’t have time to get upset about Justin Blackmon
’s number or the shirt Mike Mularkey wore to the press conference?
Dave from Midlothian, VA:
How does undrafted free agency work? Do teams go in rounds like the draft, or do they just submit their picks and the players choose among the teams that make offers? Thanks.
John: It can be a fairly chaotic, hectic time. Collegiate free agency officially begins after the draft, but it essentially begins well before that. The Jaguars begin talking to players that could be rookie free agents during the pre-draft process, trying to build relationships. They then use those relationships to try to lure the best possible undrafted free agents. Basically, by the final night of the draft it’s a lot of phone calls and faxes until you get a final list.
Rhett from Old Bridge, NJ:
When does rookie minicamp start? When do OTAs start? I'm getting eager, and want to see Blackmon run some routes and catch some passes.
John: Rookie minicamp starts Friday and OTAs begin in mid-May. Nothing right now is scheduled to open to the public until mini-camp in June, but there will be media coverage of mini-camp and OTAs.
Leonard from Jacksonville:
Hey O-Man the new picture of you is very flattering. Must be your brother!
We spent a lot of time trying to get one that was just right. It takes a long time considering what our photographer had to work with. I was pleased that we got one on the smiling-and-laughing-carefree-at-something-that-really-wasn’t-all-that-funny-but-smiling-is-better-than-not pose. It was a lot better than the pose that finished second