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O-Zone: Just plain terrifying

Posted Apr 15, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jesse from Jacksonville:
Which is worse? Picking a quarterback at No. 3 who ultimately is a bust, or passing on a quarterback you could have had at No. 3 that becomes a Hall of Famer? I'd be more upset about the guy I passed over than the one I tried and struck out on. You have to risk it to get the biscuit, O-man!
John: This theory often is pushed forward when discussing this topic, and it makes sense … in theory. The argument rests on the idea that when it comes to a quarterback in the Top 10 you’re sort of rolling the dice and playing the odds on whether or not the quarterback might turn into a franchise-level quarterback. Again: fine in theory. But general managers may not see it that way. In the case of this year’s class, it seems many general managers – Dave Caldwell perhaps included – see there being minimal difference between the top three quarterbacks and the next group of players at the position. The feeling also is that none of the top three stand out as having the sort of special skills that merit them going in the Top 10. If that’s the case, it’s hard to make an argument for taking a quarterback in the Top 10 – particularly if there are difference-making players available when a team is selecting.
Allen from Muscatine, IA:
I say the Jaguars should take Johnny Manziel with the first pick. End of discussion.
John: Hey, one fer Johnny! Not that that will end the discussion, but now we know what you say. That’s worth something.
Doug from Jacksonville:
I am just curious where all the people crying about us winning two, three or four games late last season putting us out of the Teddy Bridgewater Lottery went. People wanting losses in December for the draft in May are crazy. I believe it was Mrs. Gump who said, "Life’s a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get." Bridgewater may be there at three and passed on.
John: Those people are still out there, and there are still people who want the Jaguars to draft Teddy Bridgewater at No. 3. But your point is a good one – that an NFL team can’t base its operating philosophy on trying to lose in order to obtain a player. The strategy might work in rare instances, but it’s far more common that it wouldn’t work. Most individual players in the NFL don’t have singular impact in that way, meaning one player doesn’t usually shape a franchise. The exception is quarterback, but again, most years there isn’t a bona-fide, franchise-altering quarterback and it appears there may not be one this season, either.
Ed from Section 205:
Which two preseason games do the starters typically play the least? I would say that is usually Games 1 and 4. Hence, I see those two as the two least significant. Hey, no biggie to you, obviously, as you don't actually pay to attend the games. But regardless of what you may feel, I think to some fans it does lessen the value of the season ticket when in conjunction with losing a premier home game to London.
John: OK, I get that point. And yes, you’re right that starters typically play the least in those two weeks. I doubt the league put a whole lot of thought into that, either way, but I can see your argument.
Phillip from Harper’s Ferry, WV:
After this four-year stint as the home team in London, do you see Mr. Khan striking a deal with the NFL to be the "visitors" to London for a set number of years?
John: With three years remaining in the current initiative, it’s hard to say what the future will hold in London. It seems reasonable to assume that London or an international presence will be a part of the Jaguars’ approach in the future. Shad Khan has said this enough that it’s hard to imagine it won’t be the case. What form that will take remains to be seen.
Clayton from Jacksonville:
The only first-round selection for the Jaguars that would puzzle me is offensive tackle. They seem to be very pleased with Pasztor at the right side and though depth is always good, there are about eight players I could list off that would fill a more "pressing" need than a very good right tackle (when we have a "solid" right tackle currently). I assume odds are it's all just a smokescreen in these reports. What would your reaction be to a first-round selection of an offensive tackle?
John: Puzzlement.
Brandon from Washington, DC:
This year has a deep wide-receiver draft class and it’s arguably one of the best in the past four years. With that being said, why not take a wide receiver or two in the later rounds?
John: That wouldn’t puzzle me a bit.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
I don't tweet or twitter. I was referring to sportswriters praising Caldwell for trying to sign Mack. I did not miss the point, you did. Our hope was built up to sign an elite-level player only to be crushed by not succeeding. We are worse off for not signing him. We are now stuck with one of our own (Brewster, Patrick, or McClendon) all who have proven incompetent in the past, or an unproven rookie which will burn a draft choice we could use to fill one of the plethora of needs that we have at other positions (offensive guard, wide receiver, free safety, etc.)
John: I almost didn’t respond, Keith, but the thought of you getting all worked up sort of brightens my day. I don’t have much in life, but I do have that. I can’t control your being “crushed,” just as I can’t control how people react to news, but the Jaguars by definition are exactly the same at center as they were before pursuing Mack. Does it remain a need and an area of focus? Sure, it does. Is it disastrous? No. If it were disastrous, the Jaguars would have offered Mack more than what they offered.
Scott from Jacksonville:
I feel a bit desperate for us to find our quarterback of the future, but I don't want Dave to try and force the pick. One fer patience, please.
John: One fer patience, and on this front, you needn’t worry. If there has been a defining trait of Caldwell’s approach in 15 months as general manager it has been a willingness to make – and even an insistence upon making – prudent decisions based on what’s good in the long haul. This defined the first year’s draft and for the most part, it was the theme throughout free agency this offseason. While the Jaguars did sign some older free agents this offseason, the contracts were structured with the idea of allowing the Jaguars to continue to build through the draft and structure the team within that framework. His comments regarding the quarterback position in this year’s draft reflect the same sort of approach – that whatever quarterback is taken he won’t be forced into playing before he’s ready. The Jaguars are still early in the building process, and as should be the case early in a process, patience is still very much the watchword.
Dave from Orlando, FL:
Clowney and Watkins are gone, 1 & 2. We take Khalil Mack and the fan base is generally content. If the Jags take Johnny Football, I don't think content would suffice. There are those that think he is too small, but when he's scoring touchdowns on the jumbotron, he will look like a giant!
John: I’m tempted to say, “Johnny on the Jumbotron here” and that would be cool, but I do hope fans are prepared for the scenario of the Jaguars not taking a quarterback at No. 3. It seems at times people get it, but it seems other days that there is a faction of fans who are convinced that The Jaguars Must Get A Franchise Quarterback And That That Must Happen in The Top 10. I’m not saying that won’t happen, but I will say there is a very, very real possibility it won’t. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t mean the Jaguars are neglecting the quarterback position. It means they’re trying to address it in a prudent manner while acquiring the best players possible all around the roster. Finding that balance isn’t easy, but it’s why general manager is an important, well-paying job.
Mike from St. Mary’s, GA:
I know that there are no hard rules when it comes to the draft, and certainly not when a GM is basically a rule-maker unto himself, but Caldwell has said he likes big-school guys early in the draft. Do you think this maybe pushes Mack down the list a little? He played some decent competition but not as much as some players like Clowney and Watkins.
John: Caldwell saying he likes big-school guys is a general statement and – as you say – not a hard, fast rule. I don’t doubt that Caldwell would have taken Eric Fisher last year had the Chiefs taken Luke Joeckel. Fisher was rated that highly as a prospect regardless of where he went to school. I don’t know for certain that Caldwell will take Mack. It’s quite possible he will go another direction with the selection because there are a lot of good players in the first round and the Jaguars have a lot of needs. But I don’t think that Caldwell has taken Mack off the board because of the size of his school.
Dave from Oviedo, FL:
O-Man, I'm concerned that our new mammoth scoreboards might traumatize small children.
John: Fear not. As of now, there are no plans to have footage of me working out shirtless on the videoboards. *As of now.*

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