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O-Zone: Best weekend ever

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

James from Riverside

JO - This seems like a depth draft to me. Last year the Jags got pretty lucky on the injury front and it looks like Head Coach Doug Pederson and General Manager Trent know that lightning rarely strikes twice. Tank Bigbsy for Travis Etienne Jr. at running back, Brenton Strange for Evan Engram at tight end, Antonio Johnson for Rayshawn Jenkins at safety, Tyler Lacy for Dawuane Smoot at defensive end, etc. One fer depth.

There's some truth to this, and the Jaguars' 2023 NFL Draft certainly should help their depth depending on the user-readiness of the players. The Jaguars weren't deep at some positions last season, and the team appears to be building back toward depth after a few seasons with a weak roster. Remember, too: Too many people analyze the NFL Draft only looking at the following season. That's understandable considering how many analysts view it that way. But teams draft players projecting how they can fit and help a roster over a three-to-five-season period – longer, ideally. Draft selections form the core of your team and rookies-through-fourth-year players should form the core of your special teams, depth and some of your key players. A select few re-sign and become long-term foundation pieces. Most are role players and leave after – or soon after – their first contracts. But a draft should have that sort of long-term vision. The sense here is the Jaguars' 2023 draft has that.

Brandon from Duuuvallll

John, what's your take on the Houston Texans' top-of-the-first-round decisions? Back-to-back picks with a quarterback and stud defensive end in the Top 3. I hope they are busts because I'm not nice when it comes to our rivals, but I can't help but to be nervous about their future.

The Houston Texans selected quarterback C.J. Stroud and defensive end Will Anderson Nos. 2 and 3 overall, respectively, in the 2023 NFL Draft. They selected Stroud with their own selection and aggressively traded up for the third selection to select Anderson. It's the sort of position franchises only want to hold occasionally because being there a lot means you're bad for a long time. I wasn't a huge fan of any of the quarterbacks in Round 1 of this draft, but I liked Stroud as much as any. I thought Anderson was as good a non-prospect as there was in this draft. If they live up to their draft potential, they can be foundation pieces for a long time. I doubt both will be busts. I also doubt both are perennial All-Pros because it usually doesn't work out that all early-drafted players are elite. Stroud is far more important to their development than Anderson because quarterbacks are far more important than any other player for any franchise.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

You know people need to relax. We have not even hit the last part of free agency yet when teams shed some talent. I am almost certain the Jags will pick up another corner during this phase as they have left some cap space to sign someone, also could pick up defensive line help to offset the loss of Adren Key. In any case it seems very much like the approach is similar to the New England Patriots/Indianapolis Colts of the last 20 years. Build an offense meant to score LOTS of points and an average/good defense to guard against people being down. Making teams one dimensional is great for this approach, but is dependent on quarterback Trevor Lawrence being the Captain and leading these guys. It worked for Tom Brady/Peyton Manning. Hope he can find similar success.


Troy from Dover, PA

How many of the 13 drafted players do you expect to make the 53-man roster?

Many, not all. I expect most – if not all – to at least be on the practice squad and to eventually be on the active roster.

Blues Man from Georgetown

OMAN! I'm more confused by the draft than I am upset. Seems like a team trading back to get more draft picks is a team that is "rebuilding." I thought we were past the "rebuilding" phase? Wouldn't it have made more sense to offer a bunch of picks in exchange for next year's draft? Or perhaps offered a load of picks to move up and get a cornerback of "Value"? Oh, there's that infamous word, "value"!_

I'm sorry you're confused. Confusion can be … well, confusing. The Jaguars aren't rebuilding, but a positive from this Jaguars 2023 NFL Draft was that we learned that General Manager Trent Baalke and Head Coach Doug Pederson don't believe they are a "player or two away." The idea is to continue to build a sustainable roster that can win over the long term. Remember, too: It wasn't as if the Jaguars didn't want to trade up. They did. They just couldn't find anyone who wanted to trade back.

Tony from Johns Creek

O, here's hoping Ventrell Miller is not the latest bust out of UF.

Here's hoping people remember that the Jaguars selected linebacker Ventrell Miller in the fourth round and realize expectations should be seen through that lens.

Craig from Ponte Vedra Beach

After having the same impression as most of the "experts" and fans alike going into the draft thinking the Jags were going to beef up on defense, I now believe the Jags real modus operandi is signaling to its competition: "We're going to score a whole lot of points…Can you?"

Good eye.

Michael from Jax

Do you think the Jags may have a need for a quarterback to train behind Trevor seeing as its looking like C.J. Beathard might not be a good backup seeing as he mainly whenever he had to fill in even in preseason would overthrow the receivers.

The Jaguars see Beathard differently than you. They re-signed him to a two-year contract before he was to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The Jaguars do have a third quarterback, Nathan Rourke. I expect they could sign a fourth quarterback at some points. Maybe. Or not. But Beathard is the Jaguars' backup quarterback behind Lawrence. I don't expect that to change any time soon.

Daniel Jersey City, NJ

O-man, sure our draft this year was pretty boring and still is. Hopefully some of these young men contribute and exceed our current expectations. That being said, I'll take a boring draft this year and every year as a boring draft for the most part is going to mean we are doing well as a team vs. needing to find "saviors" in our draft.


Darwin from Cebu, Philippines

KOAF, I know the draft is for foundational core players, and free agency is for filling the other roster needs and holes. With this in mind, is Tre Herndon "The Man" at nickel corner? Do the Jaguars still need to dive into the now shallow free agency pool?

I think this will be a topic of discussion between the Jaguars' decision-makers in the coming weeks – and possibly months.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

Hey, John. Why the despair from so many about the draft? I have to say I liked it. Each player selected was evaluated and thought to have the skills needed to be a valuable player in the NFL. I don't think we will know for a while but still looking good !

Another fer the Jaguars' 2023 NFL Draft.

DenMiz from Duuuval

KOAF. After reading all the comments about the draft, there is no doubt that fans fan; it's what they do. As such, being a fan, I'm gonna fan too. I wasn't fond of the initial rounds and later commented about Baalke trading down to use those trades for better third round picks. Maybe it backfired, maybe not. However, there is no doubt he made our offense stronger both short and long term, and also most likely strengthened our OL which is essential for Trevor to develop. If Trevor, Walker, Lloyd, Muma, etc. all explode this next year, those later picks will certainly fill holes in our defense to be SERVICEABLE and allow our Offense to run up numbers. We just need our Defense to be solid. If our Offense becomes Elite, and our Defense gets just a little better, I think Baalke may have nailed this draft better than people give him credit for. Time will tell, but I don't think "this was the worst Jag draft ever." It may go down as one of the better drafts in the long run.

The trades didn't backfire. The Jaguars selected the same players after the trades they were targeting before the trades, so there was no risk. As far as how the 2023 NFL Draft will be judged against the franchise's other drafts … we'll start getting an accurate feel for that sometimes during 2024 season or so.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Will you be allowed in to observe the on-field activities at the Jaguars rookie minicamp May 12thand 13th?

Oh, goodness … I hope so.