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O-Zone: That Leonard guy

Posted Mar 17, 2017

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jamie from Santa Rosa Beach, FL:
Johnny O, do you think Calais Campbell/Malik Jackson can be the modern-day Marcus Stroud/John Henderson? I hope we can get back to the "nasty" days of old! What say you?
John: The comparison is a long way from exact. One reason is that Campbell is entering his 10th season, so it’s probably not realistic to think Campbell/Jackson could be a dominant Jaguars tandem for a stretch similar to Stroud and Henderson. Also, Campbell is likely to play outside at the end position and Jackson is a penetrating, athletic defensive tackle, so you’re probably not getting the dominant, brute-strength, nothing-happens-in-the-middle dominance from the pair that the Jaguars got from Stroud and Henderson. But can Campbell and Jackson help the Jaguars be a dominant defensive line for a few seasons? And can Campbell/Jackson help usher in a new era of defensive dominance for the Jaguars? Yeah, those aren’t unreasonable hopes. And hey … there’s nothing wrong with a bit of nasty.
Ben from Jacksonville:
Here we go again. Everyone is getting all excited and optimistic about the Jags next year, me being one of them. I have to stop myself, though, because we have failed to address what was the worst position on the team last year: quarterback. How can we expect to be competitive with quarterback production like we had last year??? You can't tell me one offseason in California can make Bortles a stud. I won't be excited for this season until I see good play from the quarterback position.
John: Fair point.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
I've heard many people say the Jags will no longer draft a safety at No. 4 because of free agency. I just can't see how Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson are good enough to not draft Malik Hooker or Jamal Adams if you believe them to be transcendent talent.
John: I’m as big a believer as anyone in taking a transcendent talent in the Top 5 without regard to the players you already have on your roster. Such is the value of elite, game-changing talent. Still, considering the team just signed Church and Gipson in the past 13 months – and considering the difficulty of getting snaps for three players at the safety position – it’s hard to imagine the Jaguars selecting safety in the Top 5 in late April.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
I have been screaming since Week 15 of the regular season to trade our No.4 pick and move back and pick up more picks later or next year or both. The No. 4 pick is a crap-shoot. The best defensive end is most likely off the board, the best offensive lineman doesn't belong that high, the best safety would just sit on the bench now that we paid Barry Church big bucks, a tight end that high is nonsense, and running back is a split decision where one will be a star and the other a bust and no one knows which is gonna be which, but with our terrible, terrible, terrible thrown-together mess offensive line no doubt whomever we pick would be the bust. WE MUST TRADE BACK!!!
John: Sure. Unless you’re wrong.
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
I hear a lot of people expressing concern about upgrading the offensive line, specifically left guard. Didn't Patrick Omameh play well before getting hurt last year? Is interior offensive lineman typically the easiest to find starters in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft? I just don't understand the panic on this issue in March.
John: I don’t quite get the guard panic, although guard panic is without question a real thing. Omameh did play OK at guard, and guard is very attainable in the second or third round. There is time and there are resources available on this one. No need to panic.
Tim from Moncks Corner, SC:
I lived in Jacksonville during those Tom Coughlin years and seem to remember people wanting to tar and feather him and run him out of town. Many saw Wayne Weaver's greatest move as firing TC. Why do these same people see him as the salvation now?
John: Fans gonna fan, Tim. It’s what they do.
Chris from Mandarin:
Here's where I'm at on Blake Bortles. No one available is really even as good as he was last year. Ten years ago, 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions didn't look so bad. In fact, David Garrard put up those types of numbers with as many sacks and people were happy with it. They won a few more games, but it was not drastically different really.
John: OK.
Dave from Orlando, FL:
O-Zone, can an NFL team trade a draft pick for cash to add to increase their salary cap?
John: No. The closest thing a team can come to doing that is what the Houston Texans did recently when they traded a second-round selection to the Cleveland Browns along with Brock Osweiler so that the Browns would assume Osweiler’s contract. This was a way for the Texans to get Osweiler off their cap and onto the Browns cap.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Jags will go quarterback Round One No. 4. Book it.
John: What about Bortles, Jerell? Huh? What about him?
Rob from the Duuu:
Zone, Roy Miller still around?
John: No. Nose tackle Roy Miller III was released Sunday. Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks, defensive end Jared Odrick and cornerback Davon House also have been released since the end of last season.
David from Orlando, FL:
As a Jags fan, I didn’t like the fact that the Cleveland Browns let the Houston Texans off the hook when they traded for Brock Osweiler, and assumed his bloated salary. If the Texans were to go on to sign Tony Romo, we’ll have this trade to thank for that. What are your thoughts?
John: I think all’s fair in love, war and football – although in football you have to stay within the rules (usually). But because what the Texans did was within the rules what they did was more than fair. If the Texans indeed sign Romo, the Jaguars certainly can blame the Browns-Texans trade. They can also blame themselves because they theoretically could try to sign Romo themselves. My guess is the Jaguars aren’t nearly as worried about a potential Romo-Texans marriage as many fans. But maybe I’m wrong. It’s not impossible.
Jeremy from Dodge City, KS:
O, why are people not talking/excited about getting Fournette at No. 4? He is a huge threat at running back and will be the guy to get the running game going. Why the talks about anybody instead of Fournette at No. 4?
John: People have been talking about Fournette at No. 4 to the Jaguars for weeks – even months. Brian Sexton has talked about it. I have talked about it. Analysts have mocked Fournette there, and fans have debated/discussed the merits of the selection. I worry about a lot of things, but I don’t worry that I won’t hear enough people in the coming weeks talking about Fournette at No. 4.
Nate from St. Petersburg, FL:
Hey O, enough of this "tight-end-at-four" talk. I believe our best-case scenario for this season and beyond would be to take Fournette at No. 4 and grab Evan Engram at the top of Round 2. He's a game changer at the tight-end position, and would pair well with the explosiveness of Fournette and our receivers. What say you?
John: I say I wish more people were talking about Fournette.
Henry from Mobile, AL:
Should the Jaguars draft Leonard Fournette?
John: Who?
CC from Duval:
Are you leaning towards the Jags drafting a running back with the first pick or defensive lineman? I ask because I read you're leaning Fournette one day and Solomon Thomas/or Jonathan Allen the next. Did something change on your end? I, too, am feeling like they will draft defense but I don't think they should since addressing it in free agency. I want them to draft Fournette because it would help take pressure off of Bortles and make him a play-action-passing quarterback instead of forcing him to read defenses so much because this isn't his strong suit as of yet.
John: I think the Jaguars will draft Solomon Thomas/Jonathan Allen because they appear to be the highest-rated players who have a chance to be available when the Jaguars select at No. 4 overall. Either selection would make sense because you can’t have too many good defensive linemen – and because they appear to be the most likely available players to be long-term elite players. They also play a position where it’s considered more conventional to be selected in the Top 5. Running back, by contrast, generally is not a Top 5-selected position in this era – and analysts’ opinions of Fournette (is that his name?) are more varied than they are of the two defensive linemen. That’s the logical, long-term NFL traditionalist O-Zone speaking. The guy in me who thinks the Jaguars might be looking for immediate impact and a home-run threat with some non-traditionalist risk involved … that guy thinks the Jaguars just might go after this Fournette guy. Can we talk about that? Please?

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