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O-Zone: Bitter rival

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . Greg from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jags would really draft Khalil Mack with the No. 3 overall pick? It seems like a risky reach to me. He's a small-college linebacker that did not dominate constantly in the 2013 season. Surely, the Jags need a safer pick to become an impact player, don't they?
John: I see no reason the Jaguars wouldn't draft Mack No. 3 overall. He had 10.5 sacks last season, including 2.5 in an impressive performance against Ohio State. But never mind the statistics: All reports are that he is potentially a dominating prospect at the next level. And as far as being a risky reach, every college player by definition is a risky reach. Show me a general manager who is absolutely sure on draft day that his first-round selection will be exactly what he envisions him to be, and I'll show you … well, you just aren't going to see it, is all. And oh yes: stop calling me Shirley.
Tom from Orlando, FL:
Any chance the Jaguars use the "poison pill" option to steal Alex Mack from Cleveland? Like, say, a $15 million bonus if more than four games are played in Ohio?
John: No. The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed to eliminate poison-pill clauses in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Charlie from Jacksonville:
"and if the draft is nearly nigh" Ugh! Nigh means near, so that reads as "nearly near." It's a rookie mistake, Johnny. (wink)
John: Actually, the draft is a month away, which I don't consider near. I consider it, in fact, "nearly near." So, thanks for the definitions, rook. (Stay in your lane).
Al from Orange Park, FL:
So, if Clowney's gone and the quarterbacks aren't worthy of No. 3, why not Jake Matthews? We're at the beginning of a rebuild. There are worse things to have than two young stud book-end tackles and have them hopefully be good for a decade. Plus, left tackle is so important that if one goes down you have the other. Not sayin' that I think it will happen. Just wouldn't be upset if it did.
John: I wouldn't be upset, either, but I doubt seriously it will happen. The Jaguars need difference-making playmakers. There are players such as that available in the Top 10 and I imagine the Jaguars will take one there.
David from Durban, SA:
The Jaguars appear to be quite taken with Clowney and you seem sure he will not be there at the No. 3 pick. Do you see Dave Caldwell packaging a few of the middle-round picks to move up one spot to the second pick to nab Clowney if Houston picks a quarterback?
John: Not to be argumentative, but I don't know on what you base the phrase, "The Jaguars appear to be quite taken with Clowney." They seem intrigued, but they really haven't done anything to make anyone think they like Clowney more than Khalil Mack or Watkins or any of the quarterbacks. But to answer your question, I'd be surprised if Caldwell gives up mid-round selections to move up in the draft. I'd think he'd be more inclined to go the other direction.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
I've heard several scouts say Jake Matthews' best position may be center. Any chance he's an under-the-radar potential pick at No. 3 for the center spot...if nothing else gets done center-wise in free agency?
John: I'd be very, very surprised if the Jaguars used the No. 3 selection in the draft on a center.
Todd from Detroit, MI:
While anything can happen in the next 30 days, I'm starting to get a feeling that a number of the "franchise" quarterbacks might be sitting in the green room on Day Two. Your take?
John: I don't know if any would still be hanging in the green room on Day Two, but could Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater slip that far? Absolutely.
RonDMC from Quincy, FL:
While looking around the internet I was thinking it might be cool if somehow a writer put together a list of players and projected where they might go in the draft and to what team. Of course it would function as purely speculative entertainment and have no actual relevance at all. Do you think this could potentially catch on?
John: Oh, you crazy kids, with your fancy talk of rock-and-roll music and talking pictures …
Jeff from Starke, FL:
In 2013, we scored 23 touchdowns – 16 passing and seven rushing – by the offense while giving up 49 touchdowns by the opponents' offense: 29 passing and 20 rushing. Have you seen anything this offseason thus far that makes you confident we can close that gap?
John: Well, it appears the offensive line has a chance to be better, and it appears the defensive line has a chance to be deeper. So, that's a start. The team also will have a year of experience in Gus Bradley/Bob Babich/Jedd Fisch's system, so there's that, too. I also saw signs late in the season that the Jaguars were improved from the first half of the season. So, yes, Jeff – there are signs that the gap will close.
Ramel from Queens, NY:
Can Cecil Shorts III finally break the 1,000-yard mark in 2014?
John: Yes.
Ryan from Clyde, OH:
If you really like the big three quarterbacks in the draft (Bridgewater, Manziel and Bortles), then it makes it easier to trade back with a team like the Falcons and still get a quarterback while gaining some extra picks we can use to upgrade the defensive end position. Am I right?
John: Yes, so long as you really like all three of them equally. That's the mistake some people seem to be making – that just because all three of these quarterbacks are in the same draft class that means people see them equally. These players are not interchangeable and while one team may have Bortles, for instance, ranked in the Top 5 that same team may have Bridgewater as a second-round selection. That would make trading back a far riskier proposition than if a team liked all three equally.
Kevin from Bakersfield, CA:
"Henne is a bright guy who no doubt appreciates excellence and true vision."........Pat yourself on the back!
John: Done.
Dave from Orlando, FL:
Just a few years ago whenever a draft-day trade was made, everyone was running for the point- value decoder ring. I don't hear about this value system anymore. It seems to have been replaced by a more casual, if it feels right, do it, attitude. Any thoughts?
John: Teams don't use the decoder ring anymore, but they still use a trade value chart as they always have – as a guide to help make quick decisions on draft day.
Gregory from Jacksonville and Section 233:
Wouldn't picking someone like Zach Mettenberger make sense for the Jaguars? He's coming off an ACL, which is going to need time to heal, and the Jags wanted their rookie quarterback to sit for a year anyway. He could learn, heal, and provide value where he's picked as opposed to someone that a team wanted to play on Day 1. I kind of like it.
John: There are a lot of draft-weekend quarterback scenarios that make sense for the Jaguars. I'd count this as one of them.
Chad from Yulee, FL:
I sure am glad those old broken scoreboards are almost gone. As the years went on they kept reversing the scores more and more. It kind of sucked. I hope the new ones work much better.
John: Shadrick's working on this. Keep a close eye on it.
Brooks from Palm Beach Gardens, FL:
As to how David Caldwell will wield his 11 picks, I agree he will not likely trade away picks to move up (except, possibly, in the later rounds for a targeted player). But, I think the best way to utilize a plethora of late-round picks is to trade them for earlier picks in later drafts (e.g., the Pats trading their third-round pick in 2009 to the Jags, who picked Derek Cox, in exchange for the Jags' second-round pick in 2010). This may not be the best strategy this year given the perceived depth of this draft class, but you want extra picks in every draft – not just a single draft. How say you, O-man?
John: I say that's indeed a solid strategy. As always is the case when discussing draft strategy, you must first have a partner with which to trade, but teams are sometimes willing to trade a pick this year for an earlier selection in a later year. You can't push the future out indefinitely, but it's wise to keep an eye out for such opportunities.
Liu from Fuzhou, China:
Why is Blaine Gabbert worth a draft pick and DeSean Jackson isn't? Is it because Dave is a genius?
John: It's because a team wanted Gabbert enough to give up a sixth-round selection for him, and because Gabbert is a quarterback. Never underestimate the value of that position, particularly when the player was a Top 10 selection.
Dean from Tallahassee, FL:
Your distaste for Scobee? Really? And what would be the cause for your distaste with one of the best kickers in the league?
John: It has nothing to do with football and everything do to with … no, I really shouldn't say.

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