JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
JT from Palm Coast, FL
With proven talent such as Oregon edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux, Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson, Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal and North Carolina State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu out there, you cannot select Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker with the first overall pick. We consistently select the "upside" guy and that rarely, if ever, pans out. I hope/pray that we select a "safe" pick because I am personally tired of the "upside" guy. I just don't have faith in those that are selecting the "upside" guy to get it right. John, Walker was not even projected to be a first-round pick initially and now because of a great workout he shoots up to number one?!? This makes zero sense.
Your "take," while perhaps a bit extreme, does reflect how many Jaguars observers view the team potentially selecting Walker with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft Thursday. A couple of thoughts here. One is that aside from perhaps defensive lineman Taven Bryan in 2017 I don't know that the Jaguars' woes in recent first rounds have stemmed overemphasizing "upside" as much as just missing on the selections. Another is that you may be overdramatizing Walker's rise a bit. He was generally considered a Top 10 selection this past January, though his impressive performance at the NFL Scouting Combine did seem to have pushed him up a few spots from six or seven to perhaps first overall. But what I keep thinking about most when mulling this topic is that we've perhaps gone a little overboard characterizing Walker as super risky compared to other top four or five players in the class. All the top players in this draft have risk. That's why No. 1 overall is still perceived as so wide open on the day of the draft. Is Walker a touch riskier than the others? Perhaps. But it's not as if he's so much riskier than the others as to make it ridiculous if he were the selection.
Jeremy from Wise, VA
With Cam's extension, I have to think that will impact their draft plans. If they pick Neal or Ekwonu, wouldn't they be choosing a guard with the first overall pick? That is unconventional, but not out of the question. Does that lean the odds to one of the defensive players? What's your take?
The Jaguars indeed reportedly agreed to a long-term contract extension with left tackle Cam Robinson Wednesday. I don't sense this changes how they feel about the draft, and it stlll feels as if Ekwonu or Neal are very much possibilities. That may mean selecting a one-year guard at No. 1 overall. Or maybe a two-year guard. But it also may mean selecting the best player – and one who would give you a dominant offensive line. And a versatile one. That's hardly out of the question.
Mike from Martinsville, VA
The Jaguars have drafted supposedly great athletes the last few years. It's time to draft a football player! How about Aidan Hutchinson, a pure football player? Can I get an amen?
One (amen) fer Hutchinson.
James from Jacksonville
What do think of the Jaguars possibly picking up a running back like Hassan Haskins in the later rounds to help fill in till James is 100 percent?
You typically don't draft with quite so short-term a vision. I do think there's a very good chance the Jaguars will select a running back in the middle rounds – not only to help fill in until running back James Robinson is 100 percent healed from an Achilles injury sustained last December, but to provide depth and options in the backfield after Robinson's recovery.
Michael from Columbus, OH
Mr. O, It looks like the Jags are starting the chess match. "Eyes on four guys?" That could be an inadvertent way of saying phone lines are open but we're not trading down past the fifth pick. And we may have our eyes on "your guy," so you better call quick!! You see it too?
I see the Jaguars as a team that wouldn't mind trading down – or at least being presented with that option. I don't see Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke saying the team was considering four players with the No. 1 overall selection as having anything to do with that desire to trade. The circumstances of this draft – no elite quarterback, relatively small difference between top prospects, multiple players at projected top positions – make a trade unlikely. No chess match is going to change that.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, no matter what happens, I'll be happy if we don't pick a running back in round one, or a punter in round three. I'll be happy right?
Yes, but it probably won't last. Happiness never does.
Bruce from Owensboro, KY
I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict Ekwonu with the 1st pick and Linderbaum with the 2nd pick. Not flashy, but hey, this team is awful and if they want to run the ball and protect the quarterback then you need a good O-line. Plus when Doug won the Super Bowl didn't Philly have the best O-line in football that year?
I don't think it's out of the question the Jaguars would select Ekwonu No. 1 overall and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum at No. 33 – and yes, the Philadelphia Eagles had perhaps the NFL's best offensive line when they won the Super Bowl with current Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson as head coach. Good eye. Good plan. We'll see in the coming days if the Jaguars agree.
Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Finally it's draft day! Christmas for Jaguars fans! Let's hope Santa Baalke brings us some good gifts ...
Hey, one fer Santa Baalke.
Don from Marshall, NC
Everyone would like to have Travon Walker on their team. The thing that concerns me is his versatility. That seems to be what he is selling. At his size it's unproven in the NFL he could be effective rushing the passer from the inside. Maybe he can or maybe he can't. The point is if he is not effective inside is he a better defensive end than the other guys? We need an edge rusher who stops the run let's hope we get one. Go Jaguars!
… and one pretty much not fer Walker.
Matthew from Townsville, Australia
Hi O, so scouts, coaches and Baalke spend literally months researching the draft picks, are nearly ready to make a decision on the #1 pick, and now Owner Shad Khan walks in and says "I have an opinion" –which from the way he talks about it is clearly Hutchinson. It seems that he doesn't know what he doesn't know. The way he talked about it seemed strongly influenced by the Hutchinson hype rather than a football-based analysis. This kind of micromanagement is an unwelcome, destabilizing thing in any organization. The way it has gone public is likely to give whoever is the No. 1 pick the strong impression that two of the three decision-makers didn't want him. I'm starting to see perhaps why Khan's ownership of the Jags has been so unsuccessful. This is erratic. Where has the trust in Pederson and Baalke gone?
Your perception of this situation and reality are different. Khan in a little more than a decade as owner never has been a micromanager. He generally has left football decisions to those who know football. He has been very transparent about this. Will he want to know why decisions are made? Yes. Does he want to make sure they're being made for sound reasons? Yes. But I never have heard of him overriding or micromanaging situations. Perhaps he'll start now. I'll be surprised if that's the case.
Josh from Lakewood
If a starting center is injured, I'd replace him with my best interior lineman capable of playing center, even if he's a starting guard. If a starting guard goes down, there's no chance I'm sliding my center over. So who cares if Linderbaum can play guard?
I tend to agree.
Chris from Mandarin
I don't think Doug from Jacksonville was saying Travon Walker is bound to fail because he's from the SEC. However, I think it does show that maybe since 2013, that scouts and other player personnel working for the Jaguars since that time were perhaps a bit lazy and didn't do enough due diligence or go far enough outside of their physical space to find the best talent. The fact is, they routinely chose the players in closest proximity to them and they didn't work out. It could be written off if it just happened a couple of times, but it was actually pretty routine over the last 10 years. Hopefully, the team employs better player personnel now.
I can't say the Jaguars made the right selections in the first round for the last decade. I can tell you due diligence or laziness or being "outside their physical space" wasn't the cause.
"Just get off the bus," Gus from Lodi, CA
I once had a chemistry final in December that I found out about in September. I knew the date and time and location. I was studying right up until the last minute in hopes of making the best choices on that sucker because I needed the points to pass. Should I be concerned about my choice?
What was your grade?