Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

O-Zone: Blocking back

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Steve from Nashville, TN

With the first pick at the top of Round 3, we will be selecting someone with a second-round grade by many. Looking at positional depth in this year's draft, what direction would you go in this spot? Is it too late or too early for a running back here?

One positive of the Jaguars' approach to the start of the 2021 League Year was they filled many "needs" around the roster, thereby enabling them to focus less on need and more on value throughout the 2021 NFL Draft. Because of that, there appear few glaring needs to address with their five selections in the first three rounds. I'll reach a bit and predict they may select a quarterback with one of the five selections, and they seem likely to select a tight end in there, too. Other than those two, the Jaguars could select many positions in the Top 65: running back, wide receiver, safety, defensive line, edge rusher, etc. But no … the top of Round 3 absolutely is not too early for a running back to complement James Robinson and provide a game-breaking element out of the backfield. Assuming they don't address that area at No. 25 in Round 1 or No. 33 in Round 2, early in Round 3 actually could be the perfect spot for the position.

Steve from Jacksonville Beach

So, defense. Fixed? Serviceable? Work in progress?

I expect the Jaguars' defense to be better in 2021 than it was last season. I expect it to be more than serviceable, if not completely fixed. Either way, it will be a work in progress until we know more about how players such as cornerback CJ Henderson and defensive ends/linebackers Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson will develop.

Will from Jaguarville

Who do you think will be the Jaguars' nickel corner this year? Tre Herndon played quite a bit there last year, but with the signing of Shaquill Griffin, would Sidney Jones IV be moved to that role?

I'm guessing Jones will open the season at nickel. We'll see. Herndon certainly played well enough at nickel last season to be considered.

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey John, a lot of people think the Jags will move up in the draft to select Kyle Pitts, but if I had to guess the new staff will more likely trade down with their No. 25 overall selection to acquire a different tight end in Round 1. What do you think will happen here?

I expect Florida tight end Kyle Pitts to go somewhere in the top five-to-seven selections. If that's the case, I don't expect the Jaguars to be able to trade up enough to select him because No. 25 into the top five is a huuuuuuge jump. My colleague, Bucky Brooks of NFL and Jaguars Media, issued a mock draft this week that had Pitts lasting until No. 13. I think Brooks is way off on that – and I imagine Brooks realistically expects Pitts to be gone well before that. But if he does last to No. 13, then maybe …

Steve from Jacksonville

Hypothetically, if the Jags were picking in the middle of the first round, instead of the top, could the team build around Gardner Minshew II? Have we seen enough to know that he is not, at least, a middle-tier quarterback in the NFL?

Probably not. Probably.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

I love the optimism, but doesn't it seem a little unrealistic to think this defense as it stands is top 25 percent in the league?

You're referencing a recent quote from Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer, who said he expected his defensive line to be in the nation's top five when he coached in college and that he expects his defensive line in the NFL to be in the top fourth in the league. He also said he believes this Jaguars' defensive line will fulfill that expectation. Is that a lofty expectation? Sure. But why set one lower?

Ryan from Chicago, IL

For the first time in over a decade, the Jaguars' staff focused on building out a roster and depth to complement a young core (that will continue building through the draft) rather than focusing solely on top-end additions. We might finally be able to go through a season without watching an entire side of the ball fall apart after one or two guys get hurt. Obviously, the draft will lend itself to a large amount of the development, but I'm excited to see a team that might actually have 53 players who belong on an NFL roster.


Josh from Atlanta, GA

Will Collin Johnson have an opportunity to get many reps this year? Love his potential and he definitely flashed a lot; just hope he doesn't get buried on the depth chart.

I expect Jaguars second-year wide receiver Collin Johnson to have an opportunity to contribute in a big way next season. The Jaguars went 1-15 last season and there's a new regime. Johnson is a young player with potential. That's the perfect situation for a player to have an opportunity.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

The only thing I like more than seeing TRAAADDDEE MAAACCHHHIIINNNEEE, is seeing people mad at the response. It's almost time for it!!! Can you prophesize what players may get traded?

Trade machine!!!!!!!

Mike from Jacksonville

Jaguars tight end. I do not understand why we would ever need a "blocking tight end that does not attract coverage due to non-production in the past." Why not just put a sixth lineman in that position?

That's an option, and teams indeed take that approach. A better option is to have a player with the blocking ability and the accompanying athleticism expected from a tight end.

Austin from Orlando, FL

The Jaguars play 10 games every year in income tax-free states: eight in Florida and one each in Tennessee and Texas. That's tied with the aforementioned Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans for most in the league. They also get to play the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys away every eight years, and have the ability to play the Dolphins and Bucs away every four years. So there's a maximum 13/17 games that can be played in income tax-free states (excluding playoffs).


The Real JT from Fort Worth, TX

I actually love all of the offseason Jags shade: "college coach, London calling, free agency 'losers', worst player deals, power rankings," etc. While it's all I can find to read, I honestly say "embrace the suck, 904." Whatever: Fuel for the fire, Jags. Use all the "worsts" and "32 of 32s" and say nothing. Prepare harder than anyone else, embrace the perma-dog status, keep your comments inside the locker room, and start to win the games when they matter in September. I'd love for Golden Locks to feed at least a little Urban crow to the so-so-smart world this fall. I'm pulling hard for DUUUVAL from Tejas. (Oh sorry, I forgot you had no comment section.) What say you Ozone?

The first thing I say is I was surprised people are calling the Jaguars "free-agency" losers. Has that really been a "thing" this offseason? I don't read everything people write about the Jaguars so maybe I missed it. If it is a thing, it's way off base. But whatever. I also was confused by something else you wrote. What's a comments section?

William from Savannah, GA

O-Man: I don't get the angst about the Jaguars trading tight end Josh Oliver. As they say, the best ability is availability, and Oliver's lack of availability outweighed the upside of his potential ability. As for the conditional seventh-round pick, Oliver is only worth what someone will pay for him. It's not personal, it's business.


Nick from Annapolis, MD

I'm not saying they made a mistake not bringing back a soon-to-be 31-year-old cornerback, but I'm a bit upset D.J. Hayden isn't coming back. I enjoyed watching him play football.

Hayden was a very good player for the Jaguars the past three seasons, though he didn't play as well this past season as he did in 2018 and 2019. That was true even when Hayden was healthy this past season. But your first sentence speaks to the reality that while Hayden at times over the past three seasons was one of the NFL's better nickel corners, he also is a 31-year-old nickel corner coming off an injury-shortened season. That's usually not a formula for returning to a team with a new regime.

Pat from Duval

Regarding a recent email, I don't see Minshew playing tight end, but Urban Meyer does seem to be fond of the guy. Don't expect him to be the starting QB, but I could see him finding a role in this offense somewhere, maybe fullback? Also people need to remember that although Minshew has never been happy being benched, everything I have heard has indicated he has still been supportive of the starter. I think he takes a spot on this roster somewhere.

Fullback? Really?