O-Zone: Back again

JACKSONVILLE – Ah, the agony and ecstasy of the NFL Draft.

Just when the Jaguars finished making many fans happy – nay, ecstatic -- by selecting University of Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen and University of Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor with their first- and second-round selections of the 2019 NFL Draft, they angered those same observers by taking little-known linebacker Quincy Williams of Murray State late in Round 3 Friday.

The hallelujah choruses of Thursday and early Friday disintegrated as midnight Friday approached – replaced by the disgruntled moans, clattering of chains and smell of burning torches at the gates of TIAA Bank Field.

Deep breaths, people – and remember:

Just because many people have heard of a player doesn’t make him great – just as many people not hearing of a player doesn’t make him lousy. Remember, too: We won’t know if any of those players are good for at least several months and probably longer. So perhaps let’s not overreact?

Nah. What would be the fun of that?

Let’s get to it …

JT from Fort Worth, TX

Wow! John, we got a right tackle – Taylor – in the second round after getting Allen to fall in our lap in Round 1. This reminds me of when linebacker Myles Jack fell to us in the second round. Welcome to Jax, young man.

Ah, the ecstasy …

Jarrod from Green Cove Springs, FL

Love the first two picks but having flashbacks of the Gene Smith years with the Williams pick. They really expect us to believe there weren't better players available?

Ah, the agony …

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O: Aside from those few Murray State alums who are enjoying the spotlight on their school, have you gotten even a single positive email about Quincy Williams? How does this team justify using a Top 100 pick on a player that most analysts and fans hadn’t even heard of, who was not invited to the combine, who wasn’t even a full-time starter for most of his time at his FCS school, whose statistics even in the FCS are not at all intriguing? Does this kid have any business being a part of one of football’s better defenses? Linebacker depth? Is that what Top 100 picks are for on a team with gigantic holes on offense? Special teams, maybe? The practice squad? Is this finally the end for Caldwell?

I haven’t gotten many – if any – positive emails about Williams, a fact that bothers me not one iota and that influences nary a bit how I believe he will fare in the NFL. I obviously knew little about Williams before Friday, and I wasn’t alone: Few draft analysts knew much about him. But that doesn’t mean he can’t play. Listening to Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell discuss Williams late Friday, he described a player with unusual suddenness and speed – and a player who can contribute on special teams immediately. He also said Williams was one of the last linebackers in this draft with “starter traits.” It’s safe to assume the Jaguars see Williams as a possible starter – perhaps in his second season – because you don’t take a player in the third round if that’s not true. We’ll see if he has any business as part of one of the NFL’s better defenses. But remember: Just because you haven’t heard of a player doesn’t mean he’s bad. (I promise.)

JP from Jacksonville

Maybe Quincy Williams can play. Maybe he can't. My guess is that Gene Smith wants back in the game and has Dave Caldwell chained to a radiator somewhere while he's calling in the small school picks. Time to send out a search party?

(Yawn). What?

Brent from Canton, MS

This draft has a similar feel to one a few years ago. There was much speculation if the Jags would take linebacker Myles Jack at Pick No. 5, and unexpectedly an elite player who supposedly can't miss falls in our lap. Then come the second round: Jack is still there and we get both. Getting Josh Allen and now Jawaan Taylor has a similar feel.

This obviously was sent during the good old days – i.e., before about 11 p.m. Friday. But there was a lot of truth to this email and others like it I received. Specifically discussing the first two selections – Allen and Taylor, this draft indeed had a similar feel to the 2016 NFL Draft. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey slipped a spot or two in ’16 before being somewhat surprisingly available at No. 5 overall, and the Jaguars ensured themselves getting Jack by trading up early in the second round. Allen being there at No. 7 overall this year was certainly a surprise and the Jaguars moved up three spots to get Taylor early in the second round. If Allen and Taylor are as good as Ramsey and Jack, then obviously this is a big-time draft. That’s true no matter how you feel about the rest of the draft.

Red from O-Zone Comments Section

Didn't know Gene Smith was back as Jags GM. Those two picks in the third were massive reaches for players from small college schools. It's so hard to remain a devoted Jags fan. How do they justify these picks, John?

They don’t have to “justify” them. The players have to do what any players must do to show he’s a good selection: Play well.

Iron John from St. Augustine, FL

This has been a kooky draft, with twists and surprises. I was on board even with tight end (and third-round selection) Josh Oliver, who has talent but seems a bit of a reach. Then at No. 98 overall, we select the leading tackler for Murray State – and DC says he was worried someone might take him in the fourth round. I want to believe. I do. But I think it's likely half the UDFAs we bring in Sunday will have a higher ranking than this linebacker. Can every other team in the NFL and media outlet that cover it just be wrong? What makes Quincy Williams special?

Your question is based on an impossible-to-prove premise: that every other NFL team had a low grade on Williams. Just because media analysts and fans haven’t scouted Williams doesn’t make this the case.

Hunter from Jacksonville

What’s up, dude? Did we just draft another “offensive weapon?” Oh, and Otto, Lotto, Motto, Gratto, Gelato. You know, ‘cause we don’t hear those terms hardly enough anymore.

I never know what’s going on.

Will from Jacksonville

Can we bring back former center Brad Meester to announce our draft picks? I want to laugh at some funny clothes!

I, too, would love to see the camouflage blazer again. This would be awesome – so long as he doesn’t announce a name not from the Southeastern Conference, of course. That would be bad. Ba-a-a-a-a-a-d, Jaguars. Bad. Sha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ame.

Jordan from Jacksonville

What's interesting is I could have seen the Jaguars take Ed Oliver and Cody Ford instead of Allen and Taylor. It'll be fun to see who chose the better players, us or the Bills.

I suppose that will be something to watch, but I never had any feeling that the Jaguars were planning to select Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver at No. 7 overall. It felt as if it was going to be tight end, offensive tackle or pass rusher in Round 1 – not tight end, offensive tackle or interior defensive lineman.

Al from Celina, OH

Day 1: Awesome. Day 2: What happened?

They made the fatal, unforgivable mistake of drafting players not everybody has heard of from small schools. Bad, Jaguars. Ba-a-a-a-a-a-d. Sha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ame!!!

Art from Drexel Hill, PA

Maybe the Telvin Smith situation is more than we know. You don’t pick a special teams player in the third round.

You do if you think he can start in his second season.

Duke from Jacksonville

You must really hate it when the Jaguars draft someone like Quincy Williams. How can you possibly defend this pick?

I don’t hate it at all. One reason is I don’t “defend” things the Jaguars do; I explain and discuss them. Another is I’ve been doing this more than long enough to know name recognition and school size have very little to do with how mid-round selections – or any selections fare. I recall fans doing cartwheels when name players from big-conference schools such as wide receiver Rashad Greene Sr. and defensive tackle Michael Bennett slipped in the draft, enabling the Jaguars to steal those players. Such is the recipe for lofty draft-day grades. Those players’ big-school backgrounds and name recognition didn’t keep them from being NFL disappointments. I don’t know how Williams will fare, but he has the speed and athleticism to have a chance to be successful. I figure there’s a decent chance he will succeed and a decent chance he won’t. Like pretty much any third-round selection.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Allen and Taylor????? Jags are killing it. From five wins to nine easily!!!

This apparently was sent early Friday …

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Jags ruined draft with the Williams pick.

… and this one wasn’t. (Welcome back, Jerell).

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