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O-Zone: Dibs on donuts

Posted Apr 4, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Lane from Ocoee, FL:
I've read some scouting reports that said Jadeveon Clowney relies solely on his speed in order to rush the quarterback and doesn't have the "bend" that scouts look for. After talking to coaches and scouts at his Pro Day, do you believe that to be the case?
John: Clowney showed quite a bit of bend at his Pro Day in Columbia, S.C., Wednesday. That was important because some indeed had questioned that in recent months. He didn’t show that at times at South Carolina, so the question remains, “Will he play consistently with that bend in the NFL?” If he wants to be as good as he can be, yes, but that will only be known in time. He does appear to have it, though, which is good for him because it’s not something pass rushers can fake and it’s something they need. It’s not surprising he has it. In terms of physical ability, he seems to have an awful lot of an awful lot of things.
Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
What happened to #Moodachay? One fer #Moodachay!
John: Hey! What the hey! One for … well, you know.
Marjorie from Jacksonville:
I hope you're right and the Texans take a quarterback at No. 1. If we can't have Clowney, I hope he is anywhere but in the AFC South chasing our quarterbacks. He looks so beastly badass!
John: Remember, the Texans really haven’t indicated clearly one way or the other their intentions with the No. 1 overall selection. When I project them taking a quarterback No. 1, it’s because that’s what Houston Chronicle beat writer John McClain projects and he often has his finger pretty close to the pulse of that team. Remember, there is a huge surge of Clowney talk and Clowney praise and Clowney awe this week because he just put on an impressive show at his Pro Day. Last week, the buzz was Johnny Manziel and the week before that it was Blake Bortles. In a few weeks, the buzz will die down and we’ll get back to getting as close as we can to projecting these guys knowledgably and objectively. Regarding Clowney, remember that he could still have significant developing to do before he plays in the NFL like a … what was your phrase – Beastly badass? To be that, he will need to learn how to pass rush and adapt to playing against professional offensive tackles. More often than not, that takes time.
Ryan from Gainesville, FL:
O-man, count me as one fer the live cam of the stadium renovations. It’s amazing to see the progress made in such a short amount of time. Actually, how about a one fer everything the Jaguars’ organization is doing to provide access to the fans. It’s a great time to be a Jags fan!
John: It’s starting to feel that way again, isn’t it?
Clay from Section 104:
I saw 30 of 32 teams were at Clowney's Pro Day. Assuming he will go in the Top 3, does that really mean that 27 teams would consider trading enough to get into the Top 3 pending the results of the Pro Day? Or are there other reasons why teams attend pro days?
John: While coverage of the event might indicate otherwise, the Pro Day was for all draft-eligible football players from the University of South Carolina. Many teams were there to focus on Clowney and others were there just as much to look at less high-profile prospects.
Mike from Middleburg, FL:
Could a trade with Houston for the first pick be good for the Jags?
John: It might be good, but it’s very unlikely. First, I don’t see Caldwell wanting to give up later selections to move up two slots. This is considered a deep draft and giving up selections would mean giving up a chance at more potentially productive players. Plus, the Texans and Jaguars are AFC South rivals and trades within the division – particularly this high-profile in nature – are unusual.
Dave from Orlando, FL:
I can't believe you haven't been inundated with a fresh batch of venom concerning how meaningless wins will cost us a shot at drafting exactly who we want. If Jadeveon Clowney does become the Andrew Luck of this draft, I don't know how you can justify jockeying yourself out of position to draft him, and gift wrapping him for a division rival.
John: I sense sarcasm in your email, but I’ve been accused of being tone deaf on that front.
David from Oviedo, FL:
I think it's time we stop putting Clowney in Jacksonville. Not because we wouldn't take him, but because he will most certainly be gone.
John: Noted.
Perry from Fleming Island, FL:
We've heard that this is a very deep draft overall, but is it a deep draft for quarterbacks? If not, why spend multiple draft picks on the position?
John: It is considered a relatively deep draft for quarterback. There perhaps isn’t the Andrew Luck-type prospect who is considered can’t-miss at the top, but many people think there are a lot of similar-level prospects after that. Even if it’s not “widely considered” a deep draft, that doesn’t necessarily influence how the Jaguars will draft. If they like two quarterbacks and those two quarterbacks are available at the right spot, then they should take them. The consensus view on a draft can’t and shouldn’t change how an individual team approaches it.
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL:
The media can talk quarterback all they want. I think the Texans can’t wait to pair up Jadeveon Clowney with J.J. Watt on the defensive line. I can’t say that I blame them. If the Texans do take Clowney No. 1, do you think that kills any chance the Jags have of trading back? Seems like Clowney is the one player teams might give up a lot to move up and get.
John: I’ll continue to lean toward quarterback because I tend to lean on the knowledge of local people with local knowledge of a team when possible. But you think what you want and I’ll think what I want. To answer the question, although the chances of the Jaguars trading back could increase if Clowney is available at three, I don’t see his absence there killing “any chance” of the Jaguars trading back. There almost certainly will be quarterbacks available and teams have been known to do crazy things on draft day to get quarterbacks.
Tom from Melbourne, Australia :
When you're right, you're right. The biggest knock on the guys at the top of the draft is that they're not quarterbacks? O-sir, you make a damn fine point. : )
John: Every once in a while …
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, a number of draft analysts and scouts say Clowney may be the next Julius Peppers. If you knew he'd leave your team after seven years like Peppers did with the Panthers, would you still take Clowney at No. 3? Which also means, did the Panthers get their full value out of Peppers after using the No. 2 pick on him, and then having him leave while still highly productive? Thanks for all you do! Go Jags.
John: Bill! ‘Sup! Good question! I’d say the Panthers absolutely got full value from Peppers. He had double-digit sacks six times in his eight seasons with Carolina. He left at the age of 30, which some in the NFL believe to be very near the end of a pass-rusher’s peak years. While Peppers indeed was productive with Chicago, most teams would gladly take Peppers’ eight-year Carolina career from a player selected No. 2 overall. So, yes, if teams knew that Clowney could be as good as Peppers most teams would hurry to select him in the Top 3.
John from Jacksonville:
What the Jaguars have missed since the early years are strong season finishes. In the Jaguars’ first six seasons, they finished 15-9 over the last four games. In the middle seven seasons, the record was 15-13. In the last six seasons: 5-19. The return of strong finishes will not only excite the fan base but also make the offseason more fun. One fer finishing strong!
John: Finishing strong is important, and for a while, it appeared the Jaguars had a chance to finish last season that way. There are a multitude of reasons teams don’t finish strong, with injuries often taking a toll. Injuries indeed played a role in last season’s three consecutive losses to finish the season, but depth in key areas did, too. That was one reason the Jaguars focused heavily on adding talented depth on the defensive front. The front-line guys there played too many snaps last season and by the end of the season a group that played very well in the third quarter of the season appeared to have worn down.
Bob from Section 150 and Middleburg, FL:
I love the live cam of the stadium renovations. Who do I talk to about the job doing donuts on golf carts in the middle of the stadium? That should be one of the 25 days of gifts for season-ticket holders.
John: The number would have to be 24, I’m afraid. Shadrick has “dibs” on one of the slots.

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