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O-Zone: A man and his cape

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Dakota from Dupree, SC:
Zone, drafting is about getting players that can help you over the next five years (give or take), right? So, just because the defense didn't play that well last season this year's draft is mostly about defense? I know there is always the best-available-player-versus-need argument, but with no glaring needs, shouldn't this year's draft swing more to the best-available-player side than the best-available-defensive-player side? Draft for the future, not for next season, right?
John: You're correct that drafting is about building the core of your roster and talent base. And that does mean drafting for the long-term rather than immediate need. But remember: the idea of the Jaguars' drafting for defense this year is not about last year's struggles nearly as much addressing the core of the defense. The Jaguars spent the last two offseasons focused largely on offense, acquiring not only quarterback Blake Bortles, but running back T.J. Yeldon; wide receivers Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee; tight end Julius Thomas; offensive guard/center Brandon Linder, offensive guard A.J. Cann and right tackle Jermey Parnell during that span. That's a huge amount of talent in a two-year period and the Jaguars see most of those players as the core of a young, ascending offense. Now, the idea is to accelerate a similar process on defense. Players such as defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., cornerback Aaron Colvin and linebacker Telvin Smith were a start, but more was needed this offseason. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson and free safety Tashaun Gipson in free agency was one step; the draft is next.
Brad from the John Oehser Fan Club:
I work for a local community serving organization. There was a different kind of #Shadricksighting Monday when J.P. Shadrick volunteered with our Radio Reading Service. Through this service, volunteers read the newspaper to visually impaired listeners across the First Coast who would not be able to enjoy the daily newspaper otherwise. It seems Shadrick isn't so bad after all. Well, gotta run – I'm off to look for some expensive equipment that went missing this afternoon.
John: Yeah, well … that's the tradeoff.
Jeff from Mayport and Section 441:
So, how does a London away game's revenue compare to a normal away game's revenue? Is there any reason NOT to play a road game in the United Kingdom?
John: An away team's revenue for a London game is essentially the same as it would be for a normal domestic road game. So, beyond the wear and tear of travel – which can be significant – there's really no reason to not play an away London game.
David from Oviedo, FL:
O-Zone, you cannot improve the pass rush if an opposing quarterback knows his tight end or running back will be wide open running free in our secondary like an albino tiger on the open plain. Eliminate that outlet and the sacks will come. And as luck should have it, Jalen Ramsey and/or Myles Jack should be sitting pretty at pick No. 5. David Caldwell, don't overthink this … make that pick!
John: You sound like a cover-first, pass-rush-second guy. I'm the opposite, so we disagree philosophically. Still, I think if Ramsey and/or Jack is available at No. 5 one of those players will be the selection.
Brian from New Hampshire:
If Kelvin Beachum is healthy, I do not even see it as a competition with Luke Joeckel. Nothing against Joeckel; I don't believe he did as bad as people think last year. But Beachum when healthy is Top 10-Top 5 left tackle. Joeckel has not shown anything remotely close to Top 10 tackle.
John: Many observers agree with you, and Beachum did play very well for the Steelers in 2014. Remember, though, the NFL is not played in a vacuum and Beachum played with a better offense – and better quarterback – that season than Joeckel did. So, even though Beachum has had at least one better extended stretch during his career than Joeckel has had in his, it's not as if there's no chance Joeckel can't win this job. We'll see how it plays out.
TBoy from St. Johns, FL:
JohnBoy, I watched the interviews with the potential first-rounders, and rated them on the basis of my interpretation of their perceived character. Without lecturing me on the folly of that action, how do you rate them? My rating - best to least- was: Ronnie Stanley, Myles Jacks, Vernon Hargreaves III, Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey. How does that factor rate with the Ones Who Count on a scale of 1-10???
John: If I can't point out the folly behind the question I can't even consider answering it.
Trevor from Jacksonville:
I see all of the wide receivers have been at the field except Marqise Lee. What's up with that guy? Is he healing from an injury?
John: Your eyes fail you. Marqise Lee has been at EverBank Field this offseason. He hasn't been around as much as the other wide receivers during this time when players are in no way required to be at a team's facility because he has been in Los Angeles working toward his degree at the University of Southern California.
Jeff from Section 208:
I heard an explanation on a recent radio show that a team's defensive problems related to setting protections. We had no players the opposing offense feared so it was easy to set protections. Do you agree that was our defensive issue last year, and who will be the player other teams will fear in 2016?
John: The Jaguars' defensive problems last season were many, but the biggest was an inability to pressure the quarterback with any degree of effectiveness on third down. Part of that inability was not having a player who consistently could win one-on-one matchups and pressure the quarterback without blitz help. Teams generally fear players who can get such pressure, so in that sense … yes, it was an issue. As for a player opponents will fear, there could be several: Malik Jackson, Dante Fowler Jr., Sen'Derrick Marks and draft-selection-to-be-named later come to mind first.
Joe from Aurora, IL:
John, which would be the better idea: Drafting Jaylon Smith at No. 5, or drafting Roberto Aguayo at all? On the plus side, if we drafted Aguayo, we could spend the next few years saying "Aguayo." "Aguaaaaaayooooo" - I think I like that.
John: I guess drafting Aguayo's the better idea. There's certainly a better chance of the Jaguars drafting Aguayo in some round than there is of them drafting Smith No. 5, but I'd be surprised if either happens.
Paul from Jacksonville:
When it comes to Bortles' progress, the interceptions coming down is important, but the circumstances of the interceptions matter more. An interception thrown deep near the other side's end zone on a third-and-long has a different effect than one thrown for a quick pick-six.
John: Yes, it does.
Kyan from CF:
Do you believe the NFL doesn't have a developmental league because of the fact that injuries are a huge possibility and NFL players don't have the longest careers?
John: I think those issues are part of it. I also don't think there would be much interest, and I don't know that teams believe the benefits would be worth the costs.
Johnny from Jacksonville:
Do you think Dave Caldwell has given any thought to signing Tim Tebow and giving him a shot at the Leo position? His blend of size, speed and athleticism would be perfect for getting pressure off the edge. Kid's just a good football player; he knows no position. Plus he's a born winner. Here's to hoping Dave realizes this too and we get our Leo of the future. J.J. Watt 2.0, anyone?
John: #provenwinner
Rob from Brunswick, GA:
John, who do you think has the best shot to be a surprise pick for the Pro Bowl next year from Jacksonville? Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, Blake Bortles and Sen'Derrick Marks are all pretty easy choices, but what other player or players do you feel could surprise us all and get in?
John: I don't know how surprising it would be, but you didn't mention Brandon Linder. He's talented enough that it wouldn't stunning if he developed and made the Pro Bowl.
Mike from Jacksonville:
I have a hard one for you, O: Do you remember a draft where there WASN'T a first-round bust? In addition to that, do you think the 2016 draft has the potential to not have one?
John: This one's actually not difficult. The draft is an inexact, percentage proposition. There never has been a first-round without at least one player who didn't live up to expectations. In light of that … no, the 2016 NFL Draft will not be bust-less.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
In celebration of the Batman/Superman movie, did a DC characters NFL Draft. Inexplicably, Superman went No. 2 overall. Bane was first overall. The Jags got Shazam! at No. 5. If you had the No. 1 pick in this fictional draft, what superhero or villain do you take and why?
John: I'd probably just run around in a cape – yes, just a cape – because some days, that's just how the 'Zone rolls.

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