JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Ken from Vero Beach, FL:
I get the feeling you want another pocket quarterback. That's all we ever draft: slow-footed pocket quarterbacks. How about doing something different for a change? I know Johnny Manziel leaves the pocket early sometimes, but he is always looking to throw. Gotta love it.
John: I “gotta” show up for work, pay taxes and support my family. And I “gotta” water and mow my lawn or I get mean looks from the lady next door (apparently, doesn’t know who I am). I don’t “gotta” love Manziel, although I remain intrigued by what he might be at the NFL level. Now, as far as my preferences at quarterback: yes, I generally believe a quarterback who can “win from the pocket” – as Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell likes to put it – is critical to winning in the NFL. More often than not, that’s true.
Sherick from Jacksonville:
John Oehser is an anagram for J he's no hero. John Paul Oehser is an anagram for Hero Joshen u pal.
John: I fear for our future.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
John, in reading a Times-Union article comparing the top four quarterbacks in the draft, I was very surprised to see the lack of play against top-ranked teams, with the exception of Manziel. If one was to give any credence to the Big School (or strong conference) versus Small School (or weak conference) theory, you can see why the quarterbacks are starting to slip in the mocks. How big a factor is this theory in a team’s evaluation of a player?
John: It’s a factor, but in the case of quarterbacks probably not an overwhelming one. In the case of this year’s draft, Manziel is just as likely to slide as Bortles and perhaps more so. And while level of competition is something you hear when the quarterbacks are discussed, you more often hear talk of body type and on-field issues such as inaccuracy or tendency to leave the pocket rather than school size or competition level. Downgrading quarterbacks based solely on level of competition is risky; the great ones are rare and you don’t want to pass on one just because he didn’t play in the Southeastern Conference.
Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
While it's fun for all of us to participate in the "pre-draft frenzy of speculation" it is important to remember that the opinions and selections of Dave and Gus are the ONLY ones that really matter. With an expected eleven picks (not to mention ensuing collegiate free agents) the only thing one can say with certainty is that on May 11 the Jaguars will be a far stronger and better-balanced team than on May 7. Do you agree?
John: Aw, Bob, without pre-draft frenzy of speculation what would January, February, March and April be about but free-agency frenzy and casual strolls on the beach? And yes, there is a strong chance that with 11 selections in a deep draft the Jaguars can help themselves quite a bit come May 8-10. That’s the idea anyway, and in that sense, they’re certainly an important three days for the team.
Jay from Cincinnati, OH:
What's up, John? I've been a loyal Jags fan for a long time up here and I really like the direction our team is heading. Do you think Dave and Gus are comfortable with Watson and Hayes at outside linebacker or will they try to draft that position at No. 3 to find a more explosive player like Mack?
John: They’re more comfortable with Watson and Hayes at outside linebacker than they were entering last season. That’s the idea of signing unrestricted free agents – to fill short-term needs and allow your team to function at various positions. In the long term the Jaguars would still like to improve most positions, with outside linebacker certainly in that group. But remember, the Jaguars’ hope is to use the draft to address long-term needs, so drafting Mack – or any players at No. 3, really – would be more about that than dissatisfaction with the players on the roster.
Matt from Tampa, FL:
Did you see that episode of 24 where it took 24 hours for Jack Bauer to save the United States from an imminent threat?
John: No, but I saw that episode of Baywatch where you got the idea that maybe the scenery and style took a slight precedence over plot and writing.
Daniel from Jacksonville:
John, thanks for your extreme commitment. I may think you’re wrong and naive but there's no denying your determination! So, when is day 1,000? Must be close. I and probably a couple others would love to celebrate it with you. Or just send you some free drink tickets... lol. Let’s make some plans and get this party started.... Thanks for everything!
John: Um, I’m not sure the exact date, but as for you and I and a those “couple of others” getting together … ugh, I have plans. Yes, that’s it … “plans.”
Eric from Jacksonville:
So, analysts are saying with the amount of juniors coming out this year this is possibly the deepest draft of all time. If so, wouldn't it be smart to trade away next year’s picks to acquire more picks?
John: No. You might give up one pick next year or maybe two if you really strongly felt that this draft was that good, but you would only do so to target a specific player; not because of a general theory that one year’s class was better than another. Also, you don’t want to give up an entire draft because you like this one. It’s difficult to project into the future and ideally you want a steady influx of players each year to keep your roster age close to where you want it.
Ryan from Dearborn, MI:
If the Jaguars are looking to trade down, how many positions do you think they would be willing to drop? Do they want to stay in the Top 10? Or would they be willing to trade further back if the deal was right?
John: You take each trade opportunity as it comes, and in the Jaguars’ case, they’d be willing to trade back so long as they can still get an impact player with their first selection.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
How many Day One starters can we look for in this draft class? Over/under three?
John: I’d guess two. The Jaguars want a lot of long-term contributors and starters out of this class, but ideally they would like not to force too many players into the lineup by Week 1. They were forced to start more players than they wanted at the start of last season and the idea is to move away from that as the roster improves.
Chris from Philadelphia, PA:
Just realized that the Jags' starting offensive line will be 100 percent different from last year's Week One lineup, given that Joeckel will be starting on the left. Not sure whether this is good or bad. Thoughts?
I’d say it’s good – so long as the unit is making the progress the team expects. The team needed to improve the middle of the offensive line, and Luke Joeckel
needs to be at left tackle. Those two factors pretty much assured a new line across the board.
Peter from Maribor, Slovenia:
Do teams that constantly pick later (New England, Green Bay, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago) spend much time on Top 5 players, as they are not likely to get them unless they exchange three quarters of their draft picks for them?
John: Teams generally scout all players in the first round to some degree. This is to prepare for a scenario such as 2005, when Aaron Rodgers was widely projected as a potential No. 1-to-5 selection and slid late in the first round to Green Bay. General managers want to have enough information on all players to make a wise decision. But are the Broncos, for instance, spending hours debating the pros and cons of Khalil Mack and Jadeveon Clowney in the same manner as, perhaps, the Texans and Jaguars? No. It’s safe to say they are not.
Dalton from Orlando, FL:
This year's draft is extremely deep at the wide-receiver position. With that being said, do you think that will lure the Jags away from taking Sammy Watkins with the No. 3 overall pick? I understand the whole idea of taking the best player available, but with the depth at wide receiver in mind I don't see how we can pass up a Clowney or Mack at that third spot.
John: You’re assuming Clowney or Mack will be available, which could happen but certainly isn’t a sure thing. Remember, a deep wide receiver class doesn’t mean a special, once-in-a-decade talent is available in Round 3. If you think Watkins is that type of player – and some do – then it’s worth taking him at No. 3 even with a good receiver class.
Kevin from Duval:
I think I saw you running Sunday on Baymeadows when I was headed to Easter brunch. I expected you to be lazier...Running to the next feast? Or away from a herd of Roar cheerleaders? Either is acceptable as long as it's not for your health.
John: Actually, I was running from the memories of my broken dreams. It’s pretty much a daily sprint.