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O-Zone: Programming note

Posted Mar 19, 2017

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Tom from Loughborough, England:
John, am I missing something? The Jaguars have Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon. Why take Leonard Fournette with the fourth pick, a player who doesn't seem to have the raw talent the Jags need? Is it simply to take pressure off Blake Bortles?
John: This indeed could be a central issue as the Jaguars prepare for next month’s 2017 NFL Draft: does Louisiana State running back Leonard Fournette or does he not have the raw talent to be worth the No. 4 overall selection? If he does, and if he indeed is a once-a-decade back, then the selection makes some sense for the Jaguars. I wouldn’t love it, but considering the lack of dynamic skill players on this offense, it does make some sense. If he’s not that level of player, then it’s obviously the wrong selection. I don’t anticipate knowing the answer until April 27. Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell never has been much for walking around EverBank Field before the draft with a T-Shirt depicting his favorite player. I haven’t been around Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin before the draft in more than a decade and a half, but if memory serves that’s not his normal pre-draft garb, either.
Eric from Duval:
If New Orleans called and wanted to move up to the No. 4 selection to select Mike Williams out of Clemson, what compensation – besides trading back to pick 11 – would you need to get the deal done?
John: I’d be hard-pressed to see any team trading up seven selections for a receiver in this draft; there are too many wide receivers projected in the first round and not a huge perceived difference between two or three of them. But if the Saints indeed made that call, they probably would need to offer a second-round selection and a couple of third-round selections in addition to the No. 11 selection.
Matt from Las Vegas, NV:
Are we overthinking this draft? We all witnessed Coughlin win in New York in the trenches. Pass-rushing, specifically, was the difference-maker late in games. Not to mention they won those games without "elite-"drafted running backs. Don't all signs point toward an elite defensive lineman and perhaps drafting a running back a little later? My understanding is that the running-back class is very strong: dudes out of Texas, Oklahoma, Pitt could probably carry the load in a two-back setting.
John: Of course we’re overthinking the draft. What the hell else is there to do for the next six weeks?
Brandon from Duval:
John, what do you think it would take for us to trade up to get back into the mid-first round? And do you see us possibly doing something like this?
John: The Jaguars would need to jump nearly 20 spots to get to the midway point of the first round. That’s a huge jump and would probably require a second-round selection and a couple of late-round selections. I think they might move to get back into the first, but probably not into the Top 20.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
Who is going to catch passes from the tight-end position? Do you see the Jaguars spending a mid-round draft pick and making a post cut-down signing there after Week 3 of the preseason?
John: I don’t see the Jaguars getting into a situation where they are waiting on a post-Week 3-preseason acquisition to fill a major hole on the roster. Such a move could be made, but that wouldn’t be a plan for filling what they would consider a major role. Remember: the Jaguars have Neal Sterling, Marcedes Lewis and Ben Koyack at the tight-end position. I think they will address the selection at some point in next month’s draft, but I think most of the production from the position next season likely will come from that trio.
Fred from Naples, FL:
If you ask former Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver what was his single biggest mistake as owner of the Jaguars, he will tell you it was firing Tom Coughlin because he didn't think he would accept just being a head coach and them bringing in a general manager. Can you imagine what our past success might look like if he had stayed the entire time?
John: I have heard Weaver say that, and no doubt there is a level of regret there. But remember, time has a way of clouding memory. The Jaguars following the 2002 season had had three consecutive losing seasons, and Coughlin had total control of the organization since its inception. It was hard at the time to imagine him staying without that control. I don’t know what the Jaguars’ record would have been had Coughlin stayed, but it’s not hard to understand why Weaver took the approach he did. A few owners might have made a different decision, but not many.
James from New York, NY:
Our defense is looking very talented, perhaps among the league’s best. We have "good enough" playmakers on offense assuming we draft a tight end and running back. (Quarterback is another long and convoluted story.) I know we signed Branden Albert, but call it like it is, John: our offensive line is not good. In fact, it’s poor. We realistically have one above-average offensive lineman returning from last season. Please don't try to convince me Cann, Parnell, Omameh, Shatley, Wells, etc. are quality players. They are not. I’m concerned. What could be the route in addressing this?
John: We can go over and over this from now until next season, but I fear the disconnect is real and will remain so until then: the Jaguars apparently believe far more strongly in A.J. Cann and Jermey Parnell at guard and right tackle, respectively, than fans believe in those players. I understand the disconnect. I understand the concern. But the Jaguars appear likely to start Cann/Parnell next season along with Linder at center and Albert at left tackle. They also appear likely to draft a guard – possibly a center, but not likely – with the idea that rookie will compete for a starting job. That’s the route.
Tommy from Pensacola, FL:
I know you're not one to keep detailed records, but can you take a stab at what the streak is up to these days?
John: 2,051.
Marty from Jacksonville:
John, if offensive guard is so easy to obtain in the second and third rounds of the draft, why don't we have one already?
John: The last time I checked the Jaguars haven’t drafted guard with every second- or third-round selection over the past three or four seasons. That might be because they have used those selections on other areas of the team. The Jaguars have had a lot of areas to address in recent seasons. Guard has just been one.
Marty from Jacksonville:
I told my wife, “Oehser says there's nothing wrong with a bit of nasty.” Didn't work.
John: I don’t get it.
Bill from Springfield, VA:
Zone, we have been very active in free agency. I’m a bit concerned over some of the long-term deals. Building a roster is best done through the draft. Are we mortgaging the future for winning now? Thanks!
John: No. The Jaguars’ free-agency deals in recent seasons for the most part have been structured in a way that guarantees money in the first two years of the contract, enabling the Jaguars to get out from under the contracts after two seasons if the player is no longer playing at a level to merit the salary. The Jaguars’ approach in recent offseasons has been expensive, but the future is not mortgaged.
Sean from Jacksonville:
Will there be an article about who left the team and where they ended up being signed? It is sometimes enjoyable to watch a former team member play somewhere else. Thanks!
John: This has been written often on jaguars.com in recent weeks. The Jaguars released defensive end Jared Odrick, cornerback Davon House, defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks and defensive tackle Roy Miller III in recent weeks. House signed with Green Bay. Safety Johnathan Cyprien (Tennessee), offensive tackle Luke Joeckel (Seattle), left tackle Kelvin Beachum (Jets) and cornerback Prince Amukamara (Chicago) have signed with other teams as unrestricted free agents.
Bored from Jacksonville:
So are the Jags gonna sign anyone (namely running back, defensive tackle of linebacker) or are they done? Still a ton of cap space left.
John: I wouldn’t be shocked if the Jaguars signed veteran or two at some point between now and training camp. That could happen as a player's idea of his market value gets more in line with teams’ idea of their market value. Or it could happen as veterans from other teams get released, with sometimes happens after the draft and sometimes happens throughout the offseason. But I expect the Jaguars for the most part are done with their high-profile free-agent spending this offseason.
Trae from Jacksonville:
You should go ahead and hire Jerrell. A weekly radio or TV slot with the two of you would be gold.
John: Indeed.

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