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O-Zone: New-school approach

Posted Apr 10, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Andrew from Toledo, OH:
Is Mike Evans being discussed for the Jaguars’ No. 3 overall pick? He is a big wide receiver and that's a need for the Jaguars. I think back to when the Falcons drafted Julio Jones when people said they didn't really need him. Everyone needs Julio Jones! So, I hope the Jags consider Mike Evans.
John: The Jaguars are considering most if not all players in the draft, and I’m confident they know Evans is draft-eligible. I doubt they would take him at No. 3 overall, and it seems unlikely he would be around in the second round. I personally like the idea of Sammy Watkins over Evans, but that’s because Watkins appears to have special, game-changing speed.
Scott from Ormond Beach, FL:
I'm not sure if we'll get Mack but I love that Dave is trying to make a push for him. The Jags in the past would not have even considered this. Get on the Dave and Gus Bus or go home.
John: Hey! One fer Dave and Gus. I can’t speak to what was or wasn’t considered, but signing Mack to an offer sheet would qualify as a bold move.
John from Jacksonville Beach and Section 145:
So if the Browns decide to match an offer does Alex Mack then have a choice to make? Or does he automatically get re-signed with Cleveland?
John: In your scenario, he automatically gets re-signed with Cleveland.
John from Palm Coast, FL:
I think the Jaguars have addressed some needs on the defensive line through free agency and could add more in the draft, but a wide receiver like Sammy Watkins should also be considered since we don't know the status of Justin Blackmon. What do you think?
John: I think what the Jaguars do at receiver or at any other position in the 2014 NFL Draft won’t have anything to do with Justin Blackmon.
Aaron from Mesa, AZ:
After seeing reports of visits scheduled with the Jags, almost every headline starts with "Manziel and other quarterbacks" while one of those other quarterbacks is Teddy Bridgewater. Has Teddy's stock really dropped that much from a subpar pro day (without the glove) that he's not being linked to the Jaguars much at all now?
John: Bridgewater’s “stock” has slipped following the Pro Day in the sense that draftniks and media types have sort of let him slip from that so-called first-tier of guys about whom they’re tweeting and writing. So, yes, in terms of the pre-draft buildup it appears that Bridgewater has slipped. That has nothing to do with his real draft stock or how the Jaguars feel about him.
R.R. from Jacksonville:
What's all this talk about "Face of the French Fries?"
John: #Shadricksighting
Jarred from Las Vegas, NV:
Would you be extremely surprised if Jimmy Garoppolo goes No. 3 overall? His stock has been rising since the All-Star games and the gap is closing between the "top" and "next-tier" guys. I mean, if they all need to sit a year why not take the one you think has the most potential?
John: I would be extremely surprised if the Jaguars selected Jimmy Garoppolo No. 3 overall. I would not be surprised if the Jaguars selected Jimmy Garoppolo.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
One name I keep hearing in a positive manner is Derek Carr. There have been numerous reports, which clearly must be taken with a grain of salt, that have said teams are in love with him. I don't get the sense there is a whole lot that separates him from the consensus "Top 3". Could he be the surprise first quarterback taken off the board much like Jake Locker and Christian Ponder jumped significantly from where they were originally being mocked? Could he be a sleeper pick for the Jaguars?
John: There’s no question Carr could go significantly higher than many project, and I’d say there’s a real possibility he goes before one of the so-called Big Three. I don’t see the Jaguars taking him at No. 3 overall, but would I be stunned if a scenario played out in which the Jaguars drafted him? No, I wouldn’t be stunned.
Sheila from Middleburg, FL:
Thanks for preparing us for the fact that we won't get our quarterback AGAIN this year.
John: I’d say, “You’re welcome,” but I’m not sure your premise is correct. I’ve said often that I believe there’s a real possibility the Jaguars won’t take a quarterback at No. 3 overall. In fact, I’d be surprised if they do select a quarterback there. That in no way means the Jaguars won’t address quarterback in the draft, and it in no way means a quarterback from this draft wouldn’t eventually be the “Jaguars Quarterback.”
Darrick from Jacksonville:
I'm having a hard time understanding how TWO players equates to Gus Bradley "filling" the roster with former Seahawks. Come on, people. This team has enough legitimate issues. There's no need to make up any.
John: True dat.
Shaun from Jacksonville:
With strong ties to Seattle, what are the chances the Jags trade the third pick to the Seahawks, who could pick up a Sammy Watkins or Khalil Mack in exchange for a slew of extra picks or potential future first-rounders? When you're as close as Seattle is to the top a single player can make all the difference – and many of their draft picks may not even make the team – whereas the Jags could use a bounty of picks.
John: The Seahawks are indeed strikingly close to the top. In fact, if it weren’t for my nearly 20 years of experience covering the NFL, I might have been tricked into believing they were actually at the top. But I’d be surprised if that trade happens. The Seahawks would have to give up just about every pick in this draft and probably some next year, and when you’re as near the top as they are – and goodness, are they close – you need to keep drafting and maintaining your roster.
Addicted from Jacksonville:
John do u have any crazy addictions? I'm addicted to candy.
John: Not unless goodwill and a sunny, positive outlook on life are addictions.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I heard recently from a local media source Dave Caldwell is not a "smokescreen" kind of guy. Isn’t that like saying that a poker player is not a "bluffing" type of guy? Even if it's not a general manager’s style to smokescreen, isn't somewhat necessary in today’s NFL?
John: I’ve written often that Caldwell’s not a “smokescreen” guy, and what I mean by that is he doesn’t strike you as the kind of general manager who is going to purposely go out of his way to spread misinformation. At the same time, he’s not going to give away his thinking on key issues such as free agency and the draft so long as keeping such things quiet is to his advantage.
Mark from Kansas City, MO:
While Blackmon is suspended, does he count against the salary cap?
John: His prorated signing bonus for the current season counts against the cap, but his base salary – because he is suspended without pay – does not.
Mike from Jacksonville:
I love how Caldwell has said numerous times that this draft is loaded with offensive playmakers and that having Blackmon back would be a luxury. Also, Cecil is going into last year of his rookie deal. Read between the lines: Sammy Watkins at No. 3.
John: That definitely is the school of thought that makes Watkins a real possibility. But remember, Caldwell also said last year something to the effect that the team might need three drafts to obtain a pass rusher, quarterback and left tackle. If the Jaguars don’t take a quarterback, that could well mean taking a pass rusher No. 3 overall to fill that hard-to-find slot. There are quite a few tea leaves to read entering this draft, and while Caldwell isn’t a smokescreen guy, I don’t know that we’re close enough to the draft yet to read the tea leaves with a whole lot of confidence.
Levi from Evansville, IN:
Help me think through something: If the Jags don't believe there is a quarterback who can come in and make a difference at No. 3, then why would we select a quarterback with our second-round pick? I mean, when you select a quarterback, you do so with the intention of him being a franchise quarterback, someone you can hand the keys to. I know you can't ignore the position, but there's either a worthy quarterback or there's not, right?
John: That’s one way of viewing it, and I admit I looked at it that way initially. But it seems the Jaguars are considering taking the approach of Seattle and San Francisco. Those franchises took the approach of building their rosters while addressing the quarterback position when the value made sense to do so. Rather than desperately forcing quarterback with every first-round selection and missing impact players at other positions, they chose players they liked – Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson – in the second- and third- rounds, respectively. This enabled those players to develop at their own pace while not committing the franchise to the players before they were ready. That’s not the old-school approach to finding a quarterback, but it’s an approach that has proven successful and the Jaguars may well try some version of it as they move forward.

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