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O-Zone: Raising the roof

Posted May 6, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Jared from downtown O-Town:
Are general managers allowed to talk to other general managers concerning possible trades prior to the draft? I know they can trade players for picks (I believe it happened with Brunell prior to the inaugural season), but can they pull the trigger on moving up or down early? Can they even at least put out feelers and inquire who may or may not be interested before Thursday?
John: Yes, general managers can talk with other general managers about trades any time before the draft. General managers typically talk to someone from pretty much every other NFL team in the days/weeks leading to the draft if for no other reason than to gauge potential interest on Draft Weekend. Such trades usually occur during the draft rather than before because the desire to trade typically depends on the availability of certain players at various stages of the draft.
Awesome Bill from Dawsonville:
What keeps a player from making a deal with a team and skipping the NFL Draft only to join the team as a walk-on, thereby allowing the player to choose the team for which he plays?
John: Because NFL rules don’t allow it. A team wouldn’t make such a deal and the NFL Players Association – having collectively bargained the rules governing the NFL Draft and other means of player acquisition – also wouldn’t allow it. Whatever the player’s wishes, he would get drafted – presuming he was good enough – and the team would then have his rights. Perhaps it doesn’t seem fair, but the “collectively bargained” part of the equation makes it legal.
Nick from London, UK:
It’s pretty dangerous to *guarantee* that the Jags-Panthers game in 2015 will be played in Jacksonville, John!
John: Yep, my bad. I received several of these emails in response to a recent O-Zone answer “guaranteeing” a Jaguars game in Jacksonville against the Carolina Panthers in 2015. The emails were right and I was wrong. The Panthers will visit the Jaguars in 2015, but that game indeed could be in London.
Beau from the Bud Zone:
This team’s track record drafting wide receiver hasn’t been great and Mike Mayock said this year’s receiver class is deep, deep, deep. After the Super Bowl, the whole world would have had Jacksonville taking Bridgewater if Houston passed on him. I think it’s funny when people say there is no quarterback ready to come in and play. Bridgewater is falling into our lap. So my question, John: even if he comes in and sits would you really pass on Teddy and watch what you most value – quarterback – get taken, turn out to be a Pro Bowler and you’re still stuck in the same position for another year?
John: The key phrase in your question is, “the whole world.” The major thing that leads to pre-draft confusion – and that often leads to fan shock and disappointment come draft day – is people believing that pre-draft consensus (“the whole world,” as you put it) accurately reflects the thinking of general managers. As often as not, it does not. You say “the whole world” had Jacksonville taking Bridgewater, but as far as I know, General Manager David Caldwell hadn’t made a decision one way or the other after the Super Bowl. When it comes to who the Jaguars will draft, his world is the one that matters.
Robert from Moorpark, CA:
O-Dawg, long time, no talk. Why all the love for Sammy Watkins when the wide receiver class is supposedly so deep? I'd much rather find our pass rusher that we've lacked for the past five-plus years and (cross our fingers) find a dependable quarterback/wide receiver after Round 1 or whatever.
John: This is a legitimate question and one the Jaguars almost certainly have kicked around in the pre-draft process. There’s no question the wide receiver class is deep, deep, deep. But the Jaguars are looking for a No. 1, big-time, elite, game-changing receiver; not just a good receiver. Can the Jaguars get a good receiver later in the draft? Yes – and they likely will get one or two good receivers. Can they get an elite, game-changing receiver later in the draft? Perhaps, but the chances go up dramatically if they take Watkins at No. 3.
Tucker from New York, NY:
The Bears' general manager informed NFL nation that "There isn't a single quarterback after the third round since 2006 that has been a long-term starter." Does the fact that Jaguars fans are now armed with this information add to the pressure on "Dirty" Dave Caldwell to pick a quarterback in an early round?
John: Not particularly, though it probably adds to the anxiety of Jaguars fans desperate for the team to get a Franchise Quarterback in this year’s draft. I think the Jaguars probably will take a quarterback in one of the first three rounds, and I think that’s the case whether or not “Dirty Dave” has any idea about other general manager’s thoughts on the matter.
Paul from Gainesville, FL:
Not that it hasn't been done, John, but in my opinion – with your world-class talent, insight, sharp wit and incredible sense of humor - you would do a fantastic job at mocking the mock drafts. Please consider doing a satire mock of the mocks, John.
John: While I appreciate your thought, and while I find your thoughts on talent, insight, wit and sense of humor insightful on a world-class, sharp, incredible level, I don’t find “satire mock” drafts all that funny. Many people might say the same about most of the things I write, but there probably won’t be a “mock mock” in my immediate future.
John from Jacksonville:
On the subject of trading down with another team and getting a 2015 first-round draft pick, how does that work, exactly? Do the Jags wait and see what pick that team ends up with after the end of the 2014 season? In other words, that first-round pick could be No. 1 or No. 32? If so, that seems like a large gap between the ultimate benefit and some level of downfall/risk. Please correct me if I'm not understanding.
John: No correction needed because you’re understanding perfectly. When a team gets another team’s future first-round selection, it can either be No. 1 or 32 or anywhere in between. That means it could either be a franchise-altering coup or just a very good selection. Either way, it’s not bad.
Kevin from Jacksonville and Section 241:
A raise is something a company gives suckers who do the work that you and I leave behind. They pick up our work in exchange for a tiny bit more money, while you and I do no work and still get paid. Three cheers for the people who get raises and keep us slobs employed! HUZZAH
John: Huzzah.
Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
John, we never saw it coming! Leery that Houston would take our man, Caldwell and the Jags have taken all this time leading to the draft to explain why "No quarterback is without faults," "No quarterback is ready to start," "Henne will be our starter…" The implication is plain the Jags don't believe a quarterback is worth Pick No. 3!! Imagine the surprise Thursday night when the Jags select Johnny Football at No. 3! Their disinformation campaign was successful! And we get the biggest playmaker, and best quarterback in the draft! What say you John-O?
John: I say I’d still be surprised if the Jaguars took Johnny Manziel at No. 3. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen and it doesn’t mean it would be a bad selection if it happened. But I would still be surprised.
Joey from Clark, NJ:
Quick observation. Caldwell recently said, “The majority of this class has a ways to go … Johnny (Manziel) would probably be the one guy you could plug in there sooner rather than later just because his style of play isn’t going to change much from Year 1 to Year 2.” Perhaps DC is higher on Manziel than we thought. I am not myself a Manziel believer, but I can kind of see us trading back to 5-10 for Matthews, and then trading up into the back end of the first for Manziel. There would definitely be some chemistry between our o-line (Joeckel/Matthews) and Manziel. Also, Joeckel has spoken highly of those two, and his opinion must count for something with Caldwell.
John: A couple of not-so-quick observations. I’d be surprised if Manziel is there after the midway point in the first round. If he’s not, that would preclude a trade back up into the first round to get him. I also wouldn’t put too much emphasis on Joeckel’s presence being a factor in the Jaguars’ decision regarding Manziel. Finally, while reading pre-draft tea leaves is fun, I don’t know how much Caldwell’s pre-draft words regarding Manziel matter. He did say Manziel was the one guy you could probably play sooner or later, but in listening to him say it he sounded theoretical as much as anything. In the same press conference, his tone and overall comments when discussing this quarterback class was that ideally a team wouldn’t start any of them in their first year.
Mike from Tallahassee, FL:
"Raise"... it’s something that happens to people who aren’t you or me!
John: Apparently.

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