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O-Zone: Sliiiiide!

Posted Apr 2, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. – O-Zone, Jadeveon Clowney Pro Day edition.

Armando from Vacaville, CA:
Could you imagine how radical this trio would sound: Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts and Sammy Watkins? Wow!!! Only in a perfect world … Nevertheless, what's your opinion on the Jags possibly picking up Watkins?
John: I think it would make a lot of sense and it’s one of the more likely scenarios for the Jaguars as the 2014 NFL Draft approaches. The Jaguars seem likely to focus on offense in the draft, particularly considering their level of activity on defense in free agency – and whatever Blackmon’s status next season, receiver is a need. That’s not a guarantee the Jaguars will select Watkins. We’re a long way from draft-day guarantees, but if they take Watkins that would be a pretty logical fit.
Irv Milford, CT:
A Jag fan in CT... I tried strutting my stuff today... my pants fell down
John: Yes, that happens.
Mike from Section 238:
How about this for a team-expectations goal next year? No more three-game losing streaks, or home losses by 14-plus points? I just want to see a consistently competitive team.
John: That’s the Jaguars’ objective as well. There were too many games last season when the Jaguars were out of the game late. There were strides made in this area, and the team improved by season’s end but without question the idea behind the free-agent signings was to give the Jaguars a chance to be competitive more consistently. That’s why they emphasized getting deeper on the defensive front and it’s why they’re focusing on revamping the offensive line.
Mike from St. Mary’s, GA:
What are compensatory draft picks intended to accomplish? It seems if a team lets a player walk, it's because they didn't want to pay them what they were worth on the open market or they are out of cap space and just can't pay. I'm not sure how giving that team extra draft selections is supposed to help balance the league. This actually seems to benefit already good teams more than bad teams, because teams that are already good will have to cycle players to keep under the cap and other teams will want their good players; e.g. Seahawks! Giving teams that are already good extra draft selections just seems to prolong their reign, not promote balance. I'm not sure I understand the goal.
John: The goal is to ensure the balance of the league. The theory is that if a team drafts well and cannot re-sign its good players because of the salary cap there should be a system in place to “compensate” – hence the term, “compensatory selections” – that team. And yes, teams that draft well will benefit; that’s the goal.
Bryant from White Plains, NY:
It’s apparent at this point whoever and wherever the Jags draft a quarterback that player isn’t starting. How long does Henne keep the job? I get the idea of sitting and learning but at some point they have play and I feel like you learn a lot from playing.
John: He’ll keep the job until he’s not the best quarterback on the roster. How long that will be is really tough to determine at this point.
Morgan from Miami, FL:
What is your gut feeling telling you Houston picks at #1?
John: I trust the gut of John McClain of the Houston Chronicle on this one more than I trust my own gut. His gut tells him the Texans will either pick Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles at No. 1.
Rob from Janesville, WI:
If the Jags are on the clock and Houston picks Clowney and the Rams take Watkins, who would you pick if given the opportunity?
John: Khalil Mack.
Austin from Atlanta, GA:
Hey John, curious how many safeties you think will be held on the roster this year. Four?
John: Five.
Jerry from Tamarac:
It's funny to hear people completely believe the Jaguars’ brass with 100 percent certainty they are not going to take a quarterback. It's bait-and-switch time, people! With as much talking as they are that they aren't going to choose a quarterback, I have 100 percent certainty they have their eyes on taking one.
John: They almost certainly will take a quarterback in the draft, and it’s very probable they will take more than one. Now, as for taking a quarterback third overall, that’s a more difficult question. First, the Jaguars haven’t at all said they’re not taking quarterback at No. 3. They have scouted the top players at the position available and there has been plenty to like about all of the players. What David Caldwell and Gus Bradley have said is that it’s possible that those players won’t be ready to start immediately. That has caused people to assume the Jaguars are saying they’re not taking a quarterback. That’s just not the case.
Blake from Jacksonville:
Has MJD reached out to the Jaguar fan base after signing with Oakland? Usually you will at least see a player send a tweet thanking the organization. I have seen nothing from him and it is somewhat frustrating me.
John: I haven’t either, but I wouldn’t worry about it much. Some players do this and some players don’t and others do it in due time.
Tom from Melbourne, Australia:
“Teams talk about trading back every year for a variety of reasons. This year, the reason has nothing to do with the quality of players at the top of the draft." That's untrue, Mr. O. If there was an Andrew Luck (or similar) in the draft, the Texans wouldn’t want to trade back. The trade talk is happening because the draft is deep AND because the guys at the top are somewhat questionable prospects.
John: When you’re right, you’re right – and in this case, it may be that we’re both sort of right. I wrote that the reason teams were talking about trading back had nothing to do with the quality of players at the top of the draft and you wrote that the guys at the top are questionable. The biggest question about most of the top prospects is that they’re not quarterbacks. If a quarterback was as highly regarded as say, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney or Texas A&M left tackle Jake Matthews or Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, then you’re right that there would be little talk of moving back at No. 1 or probably No. 3.
Joe from Charleston, SC:
Right now you have people complaining about how much cap space we are not using on free-agent ‘X’ and free-agent ‘Y’ that they really like. In a few years, when we need space to re-sign quality players that we have just recently drafted the talk would be "why did they spend all that money on free agent X; he ended up being a waste." Let the General Manager generally manage while we continue to cheer and scream and maybe even cry.
John: That’s difficult for fans to do, and really, that’s not what fans should do. Fans should want every free agent and they should get excited about college players as the draft approaches. They’re not supposed to operate with an eye on the future health of the franchise. That’s the general manager’s job, and so far, David Caldwell has done his job with those elements in mind – as well should be the case.
John from Edinburgh, Scotland:
I was in London last year to see the Jags in front of 85,000 people. Did you get an insight as to how the players feel about travelling each year?
John: It’s a difficult trip by any measure and it’s unusual in the context of normal football road trips. I don’t think they hate it to the point of rebelling against it, and I don’t think it would dissuade players from signing with the Jaguars, but to say players fully like the traveling would be inaccurate.
Trae from Jacksonville:
I am curious about the organizational roles of Caldwell and Lamping. Do their roles ever cross paths? Is Lamping consulted on any dealings with players at all or does that remain between Caldwell, Mr. Khan and the coaches? Thanks and I think you do a great job.
John: Their roles are pretty much separate. Lamping runs the business side of the operation and Caldwell runs the football side. That’s not to say neither ever discusses the other’s role with the other, but each has a difficult, important job that takes up a lot of time and resources.
Austin from Atlanta, GA:
If we draft a RB, does that mean Todman will struggle to make the active roster? I cannot see them taking Toby or D-Rob off.
John: Drafting a running back would certainly mean competition for Robinson and Todman. How serious that competition will be would depend largely on where that player was drafted – and, of course, just how good that player turned out to be.
Jordan from Little Valley, NY:
I have a math question for you. A Clowney leaves one end zone at 30 mph and a Manziel leaves the other end zone at 30 mph … what’s the total force of impact if Manziel slides?
John: The total force is negligible if Manziel slides, but he better slide well and he better slide well every time in every game for a long time.

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