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O-Zone: All in theory

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

WJBIII from Yulee, FL

Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson or Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker: Who would you choose at No. 1 overall and why?

This increasingly feels like the likely main Jaguars storyline leading to the 2022 NFL Draft, with many analysts projecting Hutchinson to the Jaguars with the No. 1 overall selection – but with Walker increasingly discussed as a possibility there. The broad-brush discussion points on this topic are that draft analysts/personnel types widely consider Hutchinson the safest pick in the draft with many analysts/types increasingly intrigued by Walker's physical traits and upside. While it's incorrect to rule out offensive line at No. 1 overall, edge defender/front in recent weeks has become the near-unanimous projection for the Jaguars there. So, who would I choice between Hutchinson and Walker? I'm not sure yet, and I'm not alone in that. I have leaned toward Hutchinson for a long time because of familiarity with the idea and because he's considered so safe a selection. I'm a safe guy. I like safe. General managers also tend to like safe in the draft because you want to make darned sure you get a certain level of production from selections, particularly early in Round 1. But Walker is a real consideration. With significant upside. He's intriguing. Stay tuned.

Alan from Jacksonville

J.O., we have six picks from 180-235. How do you think we will use these picks? Take fliers on boom or bust talent? Bolster our special teams? Use them to trade up?

I don't know that the Jaguars will "take fliers" on their late-round selections; that implies a willy-nilly approach – and that's not the case. But I do expect the Jaguars to use those selection on players they hope can develop and on players who can contribute on special teams. I also expect General Manager Trent Baalke will use at least a few of the selections to move around in the draft. You can go many directions with six selections and I expect the Jaguars to do just that.

Nathan from St. Augustine, FL

Hey, Zone. Your answer to Tom from Jax about future stadium negotiations with the city got me thinking: Why does there have to be a "home" team in the London game? With a 17-game schedule, can't both teams playing in London split the revenue evenly? That way the Jags can keep playing a game in London each season if they wish but keep all the home games in Jacksonville!

That could be done in theory. Many things can be done in theory. The Jaguars want to be the home game in London because they don't want to split the revenue equally – and because the revenue from a London game is significant. That's not theory. That's financial reality.

Scott from Jacksonville

That fifth dentist. Never been sure what to make of that.

It indeed befuddled a generation.

Pete from St. Augustine, FL

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said it was going to be a long-term fix here. To me, it's no question you draft the best left tackle at No. 1 and move back into the first round to get Tyler Linderbaum. I think the Jags would have the best offensive line in the NFL. This will give the receivers more time to separate and help the running game. Oh and keep No. 16 on his feet. Your thoughts?

I think the Jaguars will select an edge defender/defensive front No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. I wouldn't rule out Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum later in Round 1 if they opt to trade up from No. 33; he's intriguing.

James from Destin, FL

John, if the league is so worried about player safety as far as overtime goes, why not just do away with it completely? The coaches and players will figure it out in 60 minutes of game time or that tie may keep them from the postseason. If it's truly about player safety, that is.

Such discussions are always about degree and reason. Sure, the league could abolish overtime in the interest of player safety. Games also could be shortened or eliminated. The entire league could be eliminated, but then there would be no league. The NFL and NFL Players Association consider player safety when making many decisions along with factors such as game quality, money, etc. Player safety doesn't trump all else in the discussion, but it is considered.

James from Jacksonville

How many wide receivers do you project us to draft this year? We need to find at least two who can stretch the field.

I expect the Jaguars to draft one wide receiver in the first few rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft.

_Ryan from Detroit, MI  _

By most accounts Alabama's Jameson Williams would have been the first wide receiver off the board before his ACL injury. Now it seems like he's going in the early 20s in most mock drafts. Would you be willing to give up pick 3:1 and 2:1 to move up to 1:21 and get perhaps the best WR in this draft class?

It seems you're asking if I would trade the first selection of Round 2 and the first selection of Round 3 in the 2022 NFL Draft for the No. 21 overall selection to select Williams. I would – if I believed Williams was a wide receiver truly capable of dictating defenses and making plays despite double coverage. And if doctors believed he would fully recover from the torn anterior cruciate ligament. So, yeah … I most likely would make trade.

Carlos from Mexico City, Mexico

Penalty kicks in soccer are the most exciting/dramatic/fair way in all of sports to end a tie and produce a winner. Hear me out. Why not have both teams attempt a series of five two-point-conversion-type plays from the two-yard line, one after the other at different ends of the field in each end zone? If still tied after five tries, sudden death. How cool would it be to have all 44 starting players on the field at the same time, taking a crack at scoring/stopping in quick succession? I don't know why I haven't been hired yet...

The NHL playoffs would be a strong argument against soccer penalty kicks being the most-exciting, dramatic and fair way to decide overtime. But that's a different discussion. My brain's a little weary of overtime scenarios, and I guess I get the gist of yours. It strikes me as perhaps a touch too gimmicky for serious consideration. The NFL always has tried to make overtime be as similar in spirit to game situations as possible. That's one reason the league has shied from the college format of giving each team equal chances from the defense's 25-yard line until a winner is decided.

Joe from Jacksonville

J.O, Do the Jaguars get some extra time to practice before the Hall of Fame game? They have so many new players after the free agency period.

Yes, teams participating in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game start training camp a week earlier than other teams.

Gary from Jax

John, when potential draftees visit the Jags, do the Jags pick up all expenses?


Jonathan from Jacksonville

Hutchinson is projected as a better 4-3 rush end, so why such a popular choice for the Jags? They are going to run a 3-4 base D, correct?

All teams, including the Jaguars, play far more nickel than they do base defense these days. This makes the whole idea of 4-3 or 3-4 and position specifics a bit antiquated. Hutchinson projects as a very good edge defender/pass rusher regardless of base defense.

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

To be clear, the Pride of the Jaguars is meant for special players. Former Jaguars center Brandon Linder was solid but not special (above the Xs and Os). Jags fan are so starved for success that we have forgotten what special players look like. There isn't one special player currently on the roster. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence may turn out to be special but he hasn't shown it yet. Time will tell but the bottom line is that the Jags need a lot more special players.


Avarian from Webb, AL

Does former Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal have a great chance at being the No. 1 overall pick?

He's one of multiple players being projected as a possibility along with (primarily) Hutchinson, Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker and North Carolina State left tackle Ikem Ekwonu. Most analysts now project the Jaguars selecting either Hutchinson or Walker at No. 1.

Chris from Mandarin

I have a friend that ostensibly believes that there is a conspiracy with officiating against small-market teams because the league wants to prop up large-market teams. According to him, the timing of penalties being called in the Super Bowl was proof enough of that. What can be said to an individual like this to make them see reason?

Your friend believes in conspiracy theories. Reason need not apply.