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O-Zone: Bombs away

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Tony from Johns Creek, GA

O, the Jags got a good return for moving back. However, I was mildly surprised that they took a wide receiver since that position is deep. Plus, there were a couple of good cornerbacks available at No. 23. I guess pass coverage is not the priority we thought it was.

The Jaguars on Thursday selected Louisiana State University wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. with the No. 23 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, and they indeed got "good return" by trading the No 17 overall selection to the Minnesota Vikings for No. 23 and No. 167 (Round 5) in the '24 draft and third- and fourth-round selections in the '25 draft. I, like you, was surprised at the selection. I thought leading to the draft that cornerback would be the selection at No. 17, and I believed cornerback Terrion Arnold would be the selection at No. 23. Cornerback remains a priority, and the positive for the Jaguars is analysts consider it a relatively deep position in this draft. I was surprised corner wasn't the selection at No. 17. I would be stunned if the second round ends without the Jaguars selecting the position.

Patrick from Jacksonville (South Side)

Is Brian Thomas Jr. that good or did he benefit from having Nabers on the other side?

Thomas has impressive measurables (sub 4.4-second-speed in the 40-yard dash, 6-feet-2, 207 pounds) and impressive production (an FBS-leading 17 touchdowns last season). Some analysts believed he had the best chance of developing into a No. 1 receiver outside the draft's top three receivers – Malik Nabers of Louisiana State, Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State and Rome Odunze of Washington. Did he benefit from Nabers? Sure. Did Nabers benefit from Thomas? Sure. Is Thomas that good? We'll see.

Josiah from Jacksonville

I am so gappy!!! We traded back and still got the best guy. I wanted Brian Thomas so much.

Congratulations on your big night. And your gappiness.

Sascha from Cologne

Hey, John. I don't really understand that pick. In general, I think it was a good pick but isn't cornerback the clearly bigger need here even with the Calvin Ridley situation? Was Brian Thomas so much higher-ranked than the best cornerback prospect? Little bit disappointed that they didn't drafted Terrion Arnold here. What's your opinion?

I considered corner the Jaguars' biggest need entering the draft. Yes, the Jaguars had Thomas that much more highly ranked than the best available cornerback. That's the only reason the Jaguars would have made the selection. The positive here is that the Jaguars chose Thomas over what many believed was the bigger need. It's evidence that they selected the best player on their draft board and you never go wrong doing that.

Alex from Des Moines, IA

I like this draft pick. Thomas is a big-body receiver with speed to stretch the field. The question I have is with wide receivers Gabe Davis, Christian Kirk and Zay Jones and tight end Evan Engram, how do you think he'll be used and what's your expectations on him coming in?

I expect Thomas will contribute in a big way as a rookie as the season continues – and I expect he will start on the outside by season's end. How quickly he starts, and how much he will contribute, will depend on how quickly he adapts to the offense and to the NFL.

Josh from Denver, CO

Brian Thomas and Gabe Davis on the outside with Kirk and Engram in the middle is going to keep defensive coordinators awake for nights before games this year. Under-the-radar good move from Baalke, too, for nabbing the extra third- and fourth-rounders next year. Love to see him planning well for the future with all the upcoming big contracts on the table!

One fer Baalke.

Jeff from Orange, CA

Just me or does the haul from trading back so far seem a little light?

The Jaguars acquired a fifth-round selection in 2024 and a third- and fourth-rounder in 2025 for moving back six selections and acquiring the player they wanted at No. 17. My first thought was they gained a lot.

Timothy from Jacksonville

Bradley from Sparks, NV called it earlier this week. With the exception for T-Law, most every Baalke pick seems to surprise most people. You just never know – except Bradley, He needs to head directly to one of those old-school casinos in Sparks.

One fer Bradley, I guess.

Ron from Orlando, FL

How do we mess it up every single year?? Best corner falls into our lap and we take the fifth or sixth best receiver? We'll be watching Arnold excel just like we watch Aidan Hutchinson and wonder "why do they blow it every single time?"

One not fer Baalke …

Chris from Delray Beach, FL

We trade down six spots, get some great draft equity and STILL have our choice of the best defensive back in the draft … and we grab DJ Chark Vol. 2. I'm flummoxed.

… and one fer being flummoxed …

Zach from Wisco

So the biggest need in the present is cornerback and there's a top prospect on the board. Biggest need in the near future is probably offensive line so instead you use a first-round pick on a position that is now four-deep and has been just fine the last two years. Yup, sounds like a Jags draft. Good job Trent. Should have been shown the door with Urban.

… and another fer just not being very happy at all.

Jon from Jax Beach

The board fell perfectly. We could have had either of the two best pass rushers in the draft. What do we do? Trade back for mid-round picks next year and take a wide receiver that won't make any difference ever. Speechless


Bruce from St Simons Island, GA

O, I just pray the Jags pick a player with an immediate impact. Such a player is worth many other picks.

This was sent before the draft. I answer it because I don't know that the premise is true at all. Yes, it's nice to get immediate impact in the draft. It makes people feel good in the short term. Far better to get multiple players who make long-term impact. On such players is a franchise built.

Big Jags Fan from Jacksonville

Fan favorite and longtime Jaguars defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot visited with the Houston Texans this week. Do you know if the Jaguars have given him a contract offer for 2024 or do you believe they are ready to move on from Big Smooooot!

I sense they're ready to move on.

Matt from Jacksonville

As long as they're playing GAMES in London they will not win consistently. Winning culture is not leaving the country for two weeks every season. Maybe London taxpayers can pitch in on a stadium. And they leaked this on draft day? Read the room, Shad.

The Jaguars went 2-0 in London in 2023.

Art from Just shy of the Ditch

  1. Thanks for your amazing perseverance and tolerance. So other than best player available and need, doesn't analytics indicate those include ranking by cost of position? Seems like rookie contract on the most expensive slots generates a different level of value?

It's always good to have rookies performing well in positions that would be expensive to have elite, veteran players. These positions include edge, corner, quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line, etc. Is this a factor during the draft? A bit, but it's more a piece of the equation than a major factor.

Scott from Jacksonville

What do you mean that "maybe" fans are right??!! Of course we are!!!

My bad.

Stephen from 113 from Jacksonville via Pennsauken NJ

Praise the Lord, John. Can we get a big amen now that the silliness known as mock season is finally over! Thanks.


Kevin from Jacksonville Bch, Fl

John, do you ever wonder what kind of jobs people have that allow them to spend the number of hours required to evaluate all the college players that will be entering the NFL draft each year? They know more about these players than the general managers and scouting teams of 32 squads. If Mel Kiper Jr. or Daniel Jeremiah were so good at drafting, wouldn't you think one of 32 owners would pay them enough to make them consider joining a team instead of being a talking head? Jeez, let these general managers do their job and sit back and enjoy some football, win or lose.

Mel Kiper and Daniel Jeremiah analyze the draft well. I have no doubt they could be either key people in personnel or general managers if they so desired. Why wouldn't they so desire? There's really good money being an NFL Media or ESPN main draft analyst, and there's a lot less pressure selecting for all 32 teams than just one. Those are two biiiiig reasons.

Crash from Glen St. Mary

Captain OZ … Bombs Away!

Bombs Away Dream Babies.