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O-Zone: Am what I am

Posted Apr 16, 2018

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Tom from Loughborough, England:
Hey, John: Which player do you think is most likely to be replaced with Pick No. 29: Colvin or Poz?
John: I doubt the Jaguars will replace either player with the No. 29 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft because I don’t believe the Jaguars will use the selection on either cornerback (Aaron Colvin) or linebacker (Paul Posluszny). But to try to answer your question, I suppose it’s more likely they use the selection to replace Posluszny. The Jaguars signed D.J. Hayden as an unrestricted free agent to play Colvin’s nickel corner role, so it would be surprising if they went corner in Round 1. Second-year veteran Blair Brown right now is projected to start at strong-side linebacker with Myles Jack in the middle, so it’s conceivable the Jaguars could draft a linebacker to be in that mix.
Tony from Los Angeles, CA:
Zoney Hometown! Okay, let's say a team wants to trade up for our 29 spot so they can get a quarterback in the first round. For the sake of giggles let's say we would be moving back five or six spots. What do you think we would get in return?
John: Something in the range of a third-round selection.
Rick from Franconia, VA:
O, would you trade our first-round pick and fourth-round pick to move up and draft Quenton Nelson if you could? What about our first- and third-round picks?
John: I would do that without hesitation, but no one would take that trade – and it’s so far-fetched the Jaguars likely wouldn’t offer it. Nelson, a guard from Notre Dame, is projected as a Top 10 selection. The Jaguars currently are selecting No. 29. To move up from No. 29 to the Top 10 would take at least the No. 29 selection and another first-round selection – or a combination of a second- and third-round selection with possibly a lower-round selection added into the mix.
Matthew from Chinook:
Dez has got to be a focal for this team right now. The passing game may not be our strong suit, but we need a weapon like him to keep opposing secondaries honest. I truly believe that Jacksonville should try to strike a deal before the draft, even if it is a one-year prove it deal.
John: Awesome. The thing about released players is there often is a reason they are released. And the thing about “prove-it” deals is while teams like them – and while fans love suggesting their favorite teams use them – players in fact don’t usually sign them unless they have few or no other options. It remains to be seen if former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant will have options after being released last Friday.
Jerell’s Cousin from Columbia, SC:
We could really use Justin Blackmon right now. Seems like lots of other players are getting third and fourth chances. Any chances on a Blackmon return? If Josh Gordon and Johnny Manziel can, I think Blackmon could.
John: Blackmon last played in the NFL in 2013. That’s close to five full calendar years. It has been three years since Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said he doubted Blackmon would play for the Jaguars again. I wish Blackmon well and I imagine few feel otherwise. I can’t imagine a scenario under which Blackmon will play for the Jaguars or in the NFL again.
Joe from Fleming Island:
For this particular draft, which position would you think would be most likely available in the second round: a 10-year starting caliber offensive lineman, or a five-to-eight-year, stretch-the-field, end-zone-magnet tight end?
John: Tight end.
Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL:
The $10 million to Donte Moncrief is $10 million we do not have to pay Dez Bryant. It’s not that I think we need Dez, it’s just that it was so stupid to pay Donte that amount with guys like Dez (or saving 10 million) seeming like better options.
John: I understand lingering confusion over or disagreement with the Jaguars’ decision to sign Donte Moncrief. Time will determine whether that was a good decision – or a stupid one. But it sounds as if your point is that the Jaguars shouldn’t have signed Moncrief or tried to address the wide receiver position and instead should have waited to see if Bryant might be somewhat surprisingly released -- and then waited to see if they wanted Bryant, waited to see if Bryant wanted to sign with Jacksonville and waited to see if the sides could agree to a contract – to address the receiver position. I suppose they could have done this, but it’s tough to build a roster waiting on players to be somewhat surprisingly be released.
Josiah from Jacksonville:
I do not see Dante Fowler Jr. being a long-term option on the defensive line based on what we have and could get over the next few years, but I do think he is a really good player. Would it be a good idea to move him to weak-side linebacker that blitzes and covers the flat?
John: Fowler’s better on the defensive line than you think; the issue for the Jaguars with him moving forward won’t be his position but whether it will make financial sense to keep him. As far as his position … if the Jaguars were to move Fowler to linebacker, the more logical position would be strong-side backer; the Jaguars already have a front-line weak-side linebacker, Telvin Smith. But while moving Fowler remains a popular idea among fans, I doubt it will happen. He had 10 sacks at defensive end last season. I also get asked a lot about playing Fowler at strong-side backer on first down and having him play end in nickel situations when the strong-side backer leaves the field. This has some intriguing elements, but there’s also the risk of giving a player too much and therefore diminishing what he already does well – and that can hurt a situation more than it helps.
Marc from the Southside of Jax:
Assuming Moncrief earns time in Allen Robinson's former role outside and knowing that Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole have performed well in Marqise Lee's former Z/Flanker role on the other side, is it possible we see Lee get work in the slot in 2018? I know they'll all move around some and their skillsets don't pigeonhole them to only one spot, but Lee in the middle might be the best way to play to the strengths of the other receivers on the roster.
John: Yes, I believe that’s possible.
Eduardo from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Do you have any insight on how the front office feels about A.J. Cann? His rookie year I felt he had a chance to be an excellent player, but I haven't seen the progress I expected. Will we be looking for a replacement in the draft or is there belief that he can improve significantly?
John: The front office likes him, and generally believes he is very capable of being an NFL starter. That wouldn’t necessarily prevent the Jaguars from drafting a player who could compete with Cann and potentially start over him.
Mike from Guiseley, UK:
I think if you look at the Jags predicted cap situation for 2019 you can get a clue to what this draft will look like. To sign defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and linebacker Myles Jack, and pick up cornerback Jalen Ramsey's option, even after carrying over $14 million, there would still be a need to save maybe $35 million. That would mean something like defensive end Calais Campbell, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, safety Barry Church and defensive tackle Abry Jones all gone. Given that even early draft picks can't be counted on to start in year one, does it not make sense for the Jags to actively target as many of those positions as possible early in this year's draft? So defensive tackle, end and safety. Plus there is a need for another linebacker. Doesn't leave much room to target offensive line, tight end or quarterback.
John: It’s hard to know exactly how future offseasons will play out, but you’re theoretically pretty spot on about the situation the Jaguars could face next offseason – and that indeed makes their approach to the 2018 NFL Draft intriguing. Do they go all-in on offense and fortify tight end and offensive line? Doing so would have short- and long-term benefits. But you’re right that safety and defensive line could be intriguing, particularly defensive end because of the importance of having a deep rotation there. The ’18 draft could give a pretty clear indication of the team’s direction – all in on ’18 or playing for the long term.
Lee from Chicago, IL:
O-Dog, I read and enjoy all of your posts every day. Today I read your confession to putting ketchup on your hot dogs... Were you kidding? Please say in ain't so.
John: It’s so.
Andrew from Mattoon, IL:
Putting ketchup on hot dogs is forbidden. You are dead to me. -love, the city of Chicago.
John: Chicago? Wait …. I know a guy named Lee from there.

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