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O-Zone: Keep the turquoise

Posted Apr 10, 2018

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Aiden from Jacksonville:
It seems picking quarterbacks at the early stages of the draft is quite risky - a hit or miss. But because it's the sport’s most sought-after position, teams mortgage their future regardless of the risk. Teams trade up as the New York Jets did this offseason with the idea of grabbing their future quarterback. But Aaron Rodgers was picked 24th overall, Mark Brunell was a fifth-round pick and Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick. There's more, of course. Considering that, would it make sense for teams desperate for a quarterback to actually trade down?
John: Your idea looks good in theory until you consider that while there indeed are cases of quarterbacks selected late turning into front-line starters, there are far more cases of quarterbacks selected late becoming career backups – or having very short careers. And your odds of finding a starter are better the earlier you select one. For instance: you may or may not think Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was worth the No. 3 overall selection in 2014, and perhaps Jimmy Garropolo or Derek Carr in Round 2 that offseason would have been better selections. But here are the final nine selections that year: Tom Savage, Aaron Murray, A.J. McCarron, Zach Mettenberger, David Fales, Keith Wenning, Tajh Boyd and Garrett Gilbert. It’s possible McCarron could develop into a quality starter, but teams clearly had a better chance of getting a quality starter early in that draft as opposed to later. For every Brady, there are a lot of Wennings, Boyds and Gilberts. And while it’s true there are misses everywhere in every draft, your percentages absolutely go up enough early in Round 1 to make the risk worthwhile.
Vince from Jacksonville:
If you could add just one player on offense currently on a NFL roster – excluding quarterback – who would it be and why?
John: Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. I would be tempted to say New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, but injuries always seem close at hand with Gronkowski – and recent speculation about him possibly retiring would scare me in your scenario. I would go with Jones because I currently consider him to be the best wide receiver in the NFL, meaning he draws and beats double teams, and dictates defenses enough to directly impact most games in which he plays.
Chris from Goodnight, TX:
If Boston College defensive end Harold Landry falls to No. 29, do you think the Jaguars take him with the expectation that Dante Fowler Jr. leaves after this year?
John: I think it would be a possibility. I think a lot of defensive positions are better possibilities for the Jaguars in the 2018 NFL Draft than many observers believe.
PvZ from Jacksonville:
There's a zombie on your lawn.
John: I know.
Greg from Jacksonville:
Dear O: I was wondering if Leonard Fournette had any surgery on his ankle this offseason. I sure hope he is 100 percent healthy going into this season so that we can see the full potential of our 2017 first-round draft pick.
John: Fournette to my knowledge has not had surgery on the ankle that bothered him much of the second half of that season. I expect we’ll hear more on this when Fournette and other team officials speak to the media with greater regularity later this offseason.
Paul from Jacksonville:
When I feel depressed, I think back to the immortal words of Carl from Jacksonville: “As long as we're talking about it, I always thought the problem with the ‘Move the Chains’ chant is that it sounds like a bunch of drunks slurring and shouting 'Moodachay, Moodachay, Moodachay!'" #MTWD
John: #MTWD
Robin from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
When does the schedule come out? Some of us plan vacations based on it. Thank you.
John: I expect the 2018 NFL Schedule to be out soon – sometime in April. That’s when NFL schedules have come out since as long as I can remember. You’re welcome.
Neil from Gloucester, UK:
Mr. O: OK, then: If Will Hernandez (offensive guard, Texas-El Paso), Mike McGlinchey (offensive tackle, Notre Dame) or Connor Williams (offensive tackle, Texas) are all available when the Jags pick, who is your choice? Thank you.
John: McGlinchey.
Chris from Roseville, CA:
I'm worried that there is a smokescreen effort by the Jags to make everyone think we won't draft quarterback in Round 1 when that is their hope/plan. That said, I hope you are right and the best available offensive lineman available is Will Hernandez and we draft him.
John: I wouldn’t worry much about the smokescreen thing. I don’t know the percentage chance of Hernandez being available and the Jaguars taking an offensive lineman first, but I do believe there’s a strong chance that will be the Jaguars’ direction early.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
This is going to make me sound like a boring old man (I am boring, but not old yet), but I have a long-term solution to help with the NFL's concussion problem. I know that the NFL doesn't control the media (other than the NFL Network), but do you think it might be time for the league to try and work with television networks and websites to do a better job of promoting solid play, instead of just playing and replaying the biggest hits over and over? I know the media shows what draws viewers, and that's their prerogative, but they are unwittingly sending the message to young football players that being a good player – especially a defender – is all about knocking the crap out of your opponent. I like a big hit just like anyone else, but I wonder sometimes when a "top play" is a defensive back getting out of position, giving up a big play, but then coming back to lay the receiver out. And now these networks are playing footage from pee-wee and high school football showing guys drill someone and then stand over them like a super hero who has vanquished their foe. I don't want to take the hitting out of football, but maybe if we stopped sensationalizing the big, jarring hits – legal or not – then young players coming up might focus on sound football technique and not on trying to knock a guy’s head off and make the highlight reel.
John: Your solution would be great in an ideal world. Alas …
Daniel from College Station, TX:
So, in reference to the leading with the helmet rule will we see more wide receivers get hit with the flag. There are a bunch of plays where it seems the wide receiver actually lowers his head to initiate contact especially as they are extending for the play. It does leave it open to each side of the ball. When you look at the Gronk play he actually drops his head which makes him the one to get ejected.
John: This will remain a tricky topic until we get clarity on how the NFL plans to implement the “lead-with-the-helmet” rule it voted into place at the recent NFL Annual Meeting. The league made clear there was work to be done in that area – and how it actually is officiated obviously will have enormous impact on how the rule actually effects on-field play. I absolutely agree that it must be called both ways, and I agree that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski appeared to lower his head on the play in the AFC Championship Game for which Jaguars safety Barry Church was penalized. Will officials be encouraged to call the penalty on offensive players? Will they call the penalty even if they are encouraged? We won’t know until the rule is implemented.
Chris from Norfolk, VA:
What up, O!? I agree that offensive line is the main concern we should worry about. I’ll go one further. I’m thinking O line isn’t drafted until picks 6-9 and a diesel O line helps every aspect of this team from a more confident Blake Bortles on down to a hopefully more rested D. Here’s the question we are wrestling with in the garage ... if we could get the second-best guard or tackle, or the best center (Dave Ragnow) do we pick best center and move Brandon Linder to guard? Your input is highly coveted on this.
John: I believe in your scenario the Jaguars would take the player they had highest-rated. I don’t believe they necessarily want to move Linder, but I don’t think they would be averse to doing it if means improving the offensive line overall.
Nick from Phoenix, AZ:
“Success there often comes down to health, matchups and good fortune" -- and refs realizing that Myles Jack was not down.
John: You’re referencing a recent O-Zone answer in which I said NFL postseason success often comes down to health, matchups and good fortune. The referees missing the call on Myles Jack in the AFC Championship Game? Well, I suppose an argument could be made that that would fall in the bad-fortune category.
Tucker from Nashville, TN:
Hey, John: Can you tell us if we are keeping the same color turquoise in the new uniform? I like them.
John: My goodness.

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