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O-Zone: A future steal

Posted Jan 20, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – A note to O-Zone readers …

I won’t be covering the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., for jaguars.com this week, instead staying in Jacksonville to be with my father, who is ill.

J.P. Shadrick will be filing video and text content from Mobile, while I will continue to file an O-Zone daily from Jacksonville. This leaves Shadrick “unchecked” for three-to-four nights in his hometown, with only video producer Patrick “PKav” Kavanagh on hand to monitor the situation.

Suffice to say I don’t envy PKav.

Thanks as always for reading and watching. Let’s get to it . . .

Steef from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Two-hundred thirty-one roster moves this year. Wouldn't that be a jolly bit difficult to handle from London?
John: Yes, it would – and other difficulties with London would be travel, adapting to the time difference, etc. As I said in the wake of the Jaguars’ game against the 49ers in London in October, a team operating full time in London would be very, very difficult.
Charles from Bangalore, IN:
Back when you started the O-Zone, I proposed that the reality of the draft was Best Available Player with the first and second pick, while the rest of the picks are need. You responded that it sounded plausible, but you wanted to think about it some more before you answered in detail. Well, this year it seems the majority of the postings and your responses are going need first, quarterback or defensive end, with not a lot of discussion on the balance of the rounds. My question, has everyone gone all in onneed first, then BAP (personally the way I believe it should go)? Is that how it really should work? Or are the Jags lucky enough in the first round to have BAP opportunities aligning perfectly with their needs? If this opportunity did not present itself, my old question returns, BAP vs. Need, what’s your call?
John: I need more time to think.
Greg from Jacksonville:
I would like to see the Jags attempt to sign free-agent tight end Jimmy Graham and free-agent defensive end Greg Hardy. Graham seems like a safer big-money splash since high-production tight ends Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates have shown they can be very productive for many years. And I’m guessing Hardy may command Mario Williams type-money – notworth it, in my opinion. But I'd also guess that both will be franchise tagged.
John: Graham and Hardy will be two of the top free agents – IF they hit free agency. As the capitalized nature of the “I” and the “F” indicated, that’s a very big if. There have been reports that Hardy – a defensive end from Carolina – could hit the market, but few seem to think Jimmy Graham will actually hit the open market. That’s the problem with trying to break down and talk about free agency in January. Until the franchise tags get applied – and until teams finish targeting their own players and negotiating with them – it’s impossible to know who will really be a free agent and who won’t.
Joe from Jacksonville:
I would like to throw in my two cents on the issue of Manziel at No. 3. I for one trust Caldwell and Bradley and their ability to weed through all these issues during the combine interview process. If they are convinced and he is still on the board bring him on!
John: One fer clear-headed thinkin’!
Frank from St. Augustine, FL:
I guess the Jaguars shouldn't have worried about Terrance Knighton's weight and let the young man play!
John: They did let him play. He didn’t play as well last year as he did this season.
Bill from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
The new NFL overreaction "Why did the Jaguars let Terrance Knighton leave? He's playing great!" Maybe it's because in a contract year he came to camp 25lbs overweight, and didn't play nearly as well as he has the second half of the season. Boy, isn't overreaction fun?
John: Yes, that’s pretty much exactly why. And regarding overreaction … yeah, it’s awesome.
Eric from Jacksonville:
I am watching the Denver-New England game and Terrance Knighton is tearing it up. Why did the Jaguars release him? According to the announcers, he was in free agency one-minute before getting called by Jack del Rio. That was a poor decision by Jacksonville!! Really erks me!
John: I’m sorry you’re erked.
Kth from Jacksonville and Section 436:
Watching the AFC championship, it was the Terrance Knighton show. What caused Caldwell to mess up his release?
John: #Messeduphisrelease. That’s awesome.
Ken from the Ville:
O, this is a bifurcated submission as a reply and question in response to your post about the Jags’ offensive "identity.” In my opinion, you really can't give an offense an "identity" until youhave your quarterback. It's premature to label our offense anything until we have our guy. Thoughts? Secondly, you mentioned the Jags will likely address wide receiver in Rounds 1-4 (probably not 1). My question to you is, why? Assuming Blackmon comes back, I feel like he, Shorts and Ace are a great group. They are young and hungry, have a lot to prove, and more importantly, are productive. Mike Brown, too. And yes... I try to use "bifurcated" whenever possible to make me sound smart. Thanks O, love what you do.
John: When I try to sound smart, I use the words, “chartreuse” and “propitious,” so I like your approach. Referencing your first question, a franchise quarterback indeed will help form the identity of the offense. That’s why when people ask about what quarterback in the draft fits the Jaguars’ offense, there’s not a definitive answer. The Jaguars’ offense isn’t a cookie cutter in which a quarterback must be forced. Take the best quarterback and work to the players’ strengths. Your second question begins, “assuming Blackmon comes back ...” That’s an assumption that can’t be made and the Jaguars aren’t making it. They’re treating Blackmon as a luxury and would welcome him back, but they’re planning as if he won’t be there.
Mr. Padre from Brunswick, GA:
Regarding Manziel....He's a young kid who pretty much came from nowhere to become one of the most famous athletes in the world. So he partied a little much … big deal. There is no reason to automatically assume he can't change....or mature.....or won't calm down and become a solid NFL player. Just like with current NFL players signing new contracts, we need to decide what kind of player/person he "will" be....not what he was in the past. Agree?
John: Yes.
James form Jacksonville Beach:
Awww (O)-man.... Jones-Drew didn't make somebody's Top 25 free agents list, say it ain't so.
John: I believe you’re referencing a list on nfl.com projecting the Top 25 free agents for the 2014 offseason. Maurice Jones-Drew indeed wasn’t on it, and considering the lack of interest the Jaguars received in Jones-Drew around the trade deadline that list probably isn’t inaccurate. That’s not to say Jones-Drew can’t be effective or can’t play anymore, but it does speak to the current perception of Jones-Drew – and perhaps market value.
Chris from Philadelphia, PA:
How do you feel about the Redskins' draft strategy from a few years ago? Like you, I think Murray could be a solid player. Given his injury, I expect he will fall to the fifth round or so, making him a low-risk, high-reward pick. Do you see the Jags possibly taking one of the top three quarterbacks with their first pick then adding some competition/insurance with a guy like Murray or one of those cats from Idaho or Ball State?
John: It wouldn’t surprise me, particularly if the Jaguars draft a quarterback with a propensity to run and therefore put himself at a higher injury risk. That’s a better rationale than taking a later-round guy with the idea that he will push a first-round quarterback for the job.
Peter from Maribor, Slovenia:
One fer Jimmy Garoppolo!
John: Totalno!!!
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
I saw Jimmy Garappolo playing in the Shrine Game and was really impressed by his anticipation, placement and short release. K found out he was added to the Senior Bowl and will be playing on the South team. He's an interesting prospect and I think it's a great opportunity for the Jaguars to get to know him better should they decide to not go quarterback in the first round.
John: I think they’ll get a nice long look this week.
Camron from Orlando, FL:
Is it just me or is Ace Sanders the steal of the draft? He was a fourth-round pick who played better than two first rounders (Coradelle Patterson and Tavon Austin), both who were drafted to do the same things as Ace has.
John: Austin and Patterson each had four touchdowns receiving and Sanders had one, so you could probably argue that Austin and Patterson played better. But it’s January and I don’t feel like arguing. Sanders in the second half of the season started showing real signs of being the sort of receiver the Jaguars hoped he would become when they selected him. His production was good – quite good for a fourth-round selection, in fact. That should improve as the offense gets better around him, so yes, he may end up being quite a steal.

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