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O-Zone: Bold... and cool

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
We the fans have been "condemned" for the last 10 years; the Jaguars' first-round selection was picked within the first hour of the draft. At what time do you estimate they will pick No. 29 on Thursday?
John: While the Jaguars haven't selected in the first hour in ALL of the last 10 drafts, your point that they have selected really early is correct. As a writer covering the drafts last seven Jaguars drafts, that has been cool for me. And awesome. I liked it. A lot. When it comes to events, the earlier the better for this guy. But alas … with success comes the accompanying burden. The Jaguars will select late on Thursday. Very late. If, that is, they select at all. I'm hoping for the best and expecting the worst, which means I'm hoping for the Jaguars to select somewhere around 11 p.m. I'm fully expecting it to actually be later because why wouldn't it be?
Roger from White House, FL:
John, it wasn't all that long ago fans around here were calling Dante Fowler Jr. a bust; now they want to throw $14 million at him.
John: Yes. That's what fans do.
Mike from Blue River, WI:
The fans have long made their wishes known. We want our traditional Jags uniforms back. Teal tops with white pants. What is so difficult about that? Is management that determined to have us looking like a lingerie league team?
John: Statements that speak for a large group of people, while bold and sweeping, often neglect the fact that it's impossible to accurately speak for everyone in a single statement. Some people like the new uniforms. Some don't. Life's like that sometimes. In fact, it's like that most of the time.
Andrew from Jacksonville:
Hey O. I was wondering if your response to T.J. from Orlando was serious or not. Is the preseason opener really gonna be awesome? They haven't in the past and I can only make it to a few games. Right now, I was planning to make it to the Patriots in Week 2, but if the preseason opener is really gonna be "lit" then I can rearrange my schedule.
John: No, Andrew, I do not think the preseason opener will be "lit." It likely will be decidedly unlit, particularly after the first quarter. My apologies for the confusion.
Jags Fan 818 from Jacksonville:
Hey, Zone: It shouldn't matter if you have a small-market team such as the Jags, or a big market such as Cowboys. The NFL snuffs their nose at us with the schedule. We, Jags, should be rewarded with how far we went in the playoffs. I wonder when we do WIN the Super Bowl if we'll get respect then!! I kind of doubt it. Sadness is. ... Is the draft over yet!?! Go Jaguars!!!!
John: The NFL and the networks that broadcast it don't "reward" teams for going deep in the playoffs with prime-time games. It puts teams on prime time it believes will draw viewers. Maybe the perception is that the Jaguars aren't quite there yet in terms of being a national draw. You know what? So what? The Jaguars in 2018 have two prime-time games, another nationally-televised game and two more that almost certainly will be broadcast to most of the country. Besides, you're from Jacksonville. You'll get to see the games. Relax and enjoy them.
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
Even though I am on record I believe the team will go offensive line (Isaiah Wynn, specifically) at No. 29, defensive line would not surprise me at all. Looking ahead, and looking at cap figures, I don't see it as likely that Malik Jackson, Calais Campbell and Marcell Dareus are all on the 2019 roster. The team needs room to sign Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue. The roster is to the point quality players will have to go to preserve a sustainable, competitive core. Agree?
John: Yes.
Marlin from Newberry, FL:
O! The NFL Draft is on free TV! Whoohoo! Thank goodness I sent in that question to you or I would have never known; in the past it has always been on ESPN/NFL Network. I will pull out my VCR and set it up to record the draft! Thanks! I am still looking forward to your insight and analysis on though.
John: This is ironic. I'm in a bind, too, because I need to be able to hear the first round of the draft when I get home Thursday night/Friday. All I can think to do is get a 120-minute cassette tape and get the ol' Panasonic out and record as much as I can. This worked in '79 when I wanted to hear Saturday Night Live hosted by Steve Martin the next day. Maybe it will work Thursday. Whoohoo.
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL:
John does the retirement of Poz maybe make the Jags consider linebacker in the draft earlier than before he retired? Also, I love the all teal and all white uniforms. Do you think the Jags will play their September home games in white as they have in the past?
John: I do think Posluszny's retirement will prompt the Jaguars to select linebacker in the draft, probably in Rounds 3-6; that probably wouldn't have been quite so high a priority had Posluszny returned. As for playing in all white at home in September … sure, it's a possibility.
Kyle from Green Cove Springs, FL:
There has been a lot of Dante Fowler Jr. talk lately and understandably. I saw some mentions previously of people wanting him to play SAM. Will it happen? No. But I'm sure he could play that position very well given some time to learn. That's not the point. The point is, like Fowler, we have top-notch athletes on this team who can play multiple positions if need be. Jalen Ramsey can play anywhere in the secondary. Calais Campbell can play anywhere on the defensive line. One position change that would be kind of awesome is Telvin Smith playing strong safety. I am not saying we should move him. He's All-Pro at his current position. But with his speed, instinct and overall nastiness, one thinks he could be All Pro there, too!
John: Fans are endlessly fascinated with this subject, but as you suggest: Fowler is not moving from end to strong-side linebacker, nor is he going to play strong-side backer in addition to end. Neither is Smith going to move to safety or even get snaps there. The NFL is hard. Dabbling at or changing positions – particularly changing levels of the defense from line to linebacker or linebacker to safety – only makes things harder.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, this question has nothing to do with the Jaguars, but I have to ask: If "the tape doesn't lie," how is Josh Allen considered anything more than a second- or third-round prospect at quarterback? I don't get it. His performance both on tape and statically screams Day 2 pick at best. Yet, NFL personnel watch him throw in shorts, and salivate over the idea he can throw a football 80 yards. The idea that a general manager could watch him play football for three seasons and think he's anything more than a high-risk, long-term project is insane to me. Can you explain what's happening with Allen? Please?
John: He's a prototype. His arm talent is rare. Prototypes with rare arm talent come around rarely. Players with rare talent get selected early. Quarterbacks with rare talent get selected very early.
Mark from Archer, FL:
I disagree with the heat not being a factor. When I first moved to Florida from Arizona the first day I walked outside the heat and humidity were so intense that it sapped my energy and I went right back inside. I was only 18 years old and in great shape. Most visiting players on opposing teams are not used to that and it is going to drain them and wear them down faster than someone who is used to such climate.
John: The heat and humidity in Jacksonville in September are real. I wouldn't say otherwise, and I don't doubt players feel it. As for how often it truly affects the outcomes of games … of that I am less sure. My experience is that the better and more deserving team usually figures a way to win, and that the cases of teams losing because they are "worn down" by the heat are comparatively rare.
Brian from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I have reason to believe the Jaguars move up in this draft. Way up actually. They will pick in the Top 10 and it will be the surprise/shock of the draft. As usual there will be critics of the move, but Vegas changes their Super Bowl odds come Friday. Stay tuned. This is going to be epic.
John: Bold predictions are cool. People like to make them. Sometimes they stretch reason and reality to the point that they never will happen, but I suppose that's what makes them cool.

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