Is the draft over yet?
Let's get to it . . .
Jesse from Panama City, FL:
With the offseason pickups of Robinson and Evans, and now drafting Blackmon, did one of our weaknesses become one of our strengths? If you look at the wide receiver corps from top to bottom now, on paper, they look like one of the best in the league.
John: I'd say with the off-season pickups a weakness at receiver became something that shouldn't be weak anymore. The Jaguars indeed should be improved at receiver. Robinson at first glance looks better than most analysts seem to believe, and I think Evans has a chance to contribute much more than many others believe. I'll continue to be cautious on Blackmon's impact as a rookie until I see it. I think he has a real chance to develop into a big-time NFL receiver, but I also believe it will take time. Overall, I don't think there's any question this will be a better group that will force defenses to play the Jaguars differently and a group that will make more plays. That improvement is a reason I think the team overall will improve. But I'd stop short of calling them the best in the league. Getting to that level is a process that will take time.
TD from Jacksonville:
I saw Fred Taylor during the draft and it made me think to watch some old Fred Taylor highlights. He really reminds me of Adrian Peterson but he did it for a long time. I believe he should be recognized as one of the greats and get more recognition.
John: People who really know football will tell you when Taylor was right – and he was right a lot – he was as good as anyone of his era. I don't know if that means he'll make the Hall of Fame, but he was one of the greats.
Clay from Section 214:
In follow up to the "Oehser Theory of Draft Fan-Reaction," I generally find making unpopular picks goes over better when you win more than five games. Agreed?
John: Agreed. Absolutely. Moves are certainly more popular when you're winning. And you don't improve from winning five games by listening to fans. That stinks to hear, I know. But it's one of the NFL's great truths.
Joe from Jacksonville:
So, you're saying you don't believe MJD, or any running back for that matter, could be traded for a second-round pick... But you're content with a punter in the 3rd? Odd.
John: People continually confuse my points, and that's OK. I never said I was content with a punter. Ideally, you wouldn't take a punter in the third round, and if the Jaguars had believed Anger would be available in the fifth round, they obviously would have waited. They didn't believe that, and they believed he would give them the most impact at that spot. As for a running back not being worth a second-round selection, a player's trade value often is different than draft value. Running backs don't garner big trade value because of the perception that running backs decline more quickly than other positions. It's sort of like driving a car off the lot. They start losing value immediately. That's not fair and it may not be true of every back, but that's the perception around the league.
Bewley from Jacksonville:
I hate to add to any hate but I am a confused fan. I understand each general manager has their own personal draft board they value, but don't you need to pay attention to other general managers' draft boards to some degree? That way you don't draft a player that you could get in a later round. (Obviously this is about Anger). Can you tell me we couldn't have traded down or done something to pick up Anger in a later round?
John: Teams don't see other teams' draft boards. They trust their own boards. Your point about trading back is one that's the annual dilemma for teams because your point is that the Jaguars would have gotten Anger in a later round. The Jaguars don't believe that to be true. I don't know that it's unreasonable to think that Anger would have been gone by the time the Jaguars selected again in the fifth round. And there have been indications that he would have been gone fairly soon after the Jaguars picked him. Several publications had him with a third-round grade. Now, that doesn't by definition make it a good pick, but there's no guarantee they would have gotten him with a later selection. Your other point is about a trade down. That's always a possibility, but finding trading partners is no guarantee and it's particularly no guarantee that you get the value you're seeking. I can't say I love the idea of a punter in Round 3 in theory, but there is part of me that adheres to the theory that if you have a player you like and you believe will help, you take him.
Chris from New York, NY:
In Friday's column you wrote "Sometime soon, it will line up less perfectly and Smith will pick someone else few ever have heard of and he'll be criticized again. It's the way of the draft for a good general manager." Did you think that time would come so soon?
John: I did not know for certain, but I figured it would happen in this draft. When you're willing to stick to your board and you truly scout without regard to conventional wisdom and perception, there's bound to become a time your thinking doesn't line up with what is popular. I joked early this week about being more comfortable when fans are angry, but it was only partly in jest. So long as fans aren't thrilled with every selection it leads me to believe the Jaguars are picking players based on scouting and not on popularity. I'll always be OK with that.
James from Orange Park, FL:
How dare you use sleep deprivation as an excuse not to post the O-Zone before 10 a.m. I demand every thought that pops into your noodle be posted on a minute-by-minute basis for me to criticize and soon detest or else I demand a refund on this website!
John: You, sir, are not alone.
David from Jacksonville:
I don't want to hate on a new draft pick so soon, but at 259 is Andre Branch's size of some concern? I remember an undersized 2nd round DE from not too long ago who failed to play well at an NFL level. What do you think made our front office believe that Branch can overcome his size?
John: Branch on tape showed the ability to "bend" and get around the tackle and get to the quarterback. When defensive line coach Joe Cullen talked about Branch, he talked about a player with the ability to close. From what you hear, Derrick Harvey didn't have those things. Branch's size shouldn't hurt him as a pass rusher.
Lance from Jacksonville:
Are the Patriots, Bengals, and now Rams sending a message it's good to get in trouble with the law because they will draft you anyways?
John: They're not sending a message that it's OK, and in fact, one of the most remarkable developments in my 18 years covering the league is the change in how the NFL views character. In 1996, my second year covering the league, Lawrence Phillips went No. 6 overall and the Jaguars seriously considered taking him at No. 2. In today's NFL, I can't imagine Phillips wouldn't fall well out of the Top 10 and probably much further. I've heard from many people that Janoris Jenkins was the best cornerback in the draft. Had he not had off-field concerns he almost certainly would have been a Top 10 selection. Instead, he went in the second round. I'd say that's a message that getting in trouble isn't the thing to do.
Josh from Jacksonville:
The conference call with Andre Branch should be taken off the site. That interview was unprofessional and misrepresents the Jaguars. Whoever did the interview made the jaguars look like idiots. You could tell Andre was getting upset and he had every right to. They were very disrespectful to him and his family. Jagnation should be ashamed if that is what is representing us and this organization.
John: The call was the media talking to a player. The media does not represent the Jaguars.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
Just saw tweet about Blackmon's No. 14. It seems like an odd number for a big-time receiver! Jags nation always has something to complain about.
John: I was amazed at first by the negative reaction to Blackmon wearing No. 14. I get that fans care about such things, but it's so not a big deal. Here's the way I feel about the number: No big-time receiver wears No. 14? Fourteen's not cool? Here's what I bet Blackmon will say – if 14's not cool, he'll make it cool.