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O-Zone: Bright future

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Matty from Saint Augustine, FL

Two questions. How do you feel about us targeting Rashawn Slater at No. 25? And do you think it is looking good to have 100 percent capacity at the 'Bank this season? Bring on the draft, and bring on FOOTBALL!!! DTWD!

Two answers. I would be surprised if Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater is available when the Jaguars select No. 25 overall in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft Thursday. He generally is projected from Nos. 11-to-15 or so. Now, it wouldn't be shocking if the Jaguars targeted offensive line with that selection – and it wouldn't even be shocking if they trade up a few spots to get one. It's a relatively deep draft for offensive linemen, and the versatility of the offensive tackles available there could be intriguing for the Jaguars with projected starters such as left tackle Cam Robinson and right guard A.J. Cann entering the final seasons of their respective contracts. As for 100 percent capacity next season, the Jaguars are absolutely planning for that. Much will depend on league rules and continued progress in terms of COVID-19, the vaccine, etc. But if those issues continue to trend positively, then yes … it looks good to be 100 percent capacity.

Dave from Dallas, TX

Hey, Mr. O: What does "Trusting the board is key…" mean, please? Thanks.

NFL personnel departments and coaching staffs work for months – an entire year, actually – to set up a draft board on which prospects are graded, ranked and listed. It's the foundation of the team's entire draft process. During the draft, player names are removed from the board as they are selected. When it's a team's turn to draft, the general manager refers to the board – and the highest-graded players remaining should be at the top. When general managers say, "Trust the board," they mean believe in your pre-draft grades and draft accordingly – i.e., don't outthink yourself when you're on the clock and reach for players you don't think are as good as the players at the top of your board. The saying stems from the belief that not trusting your board causes you to reach for perceived needs, thereby taking lesser players over better ones and therefore weakening your overall roster over the long haul.


I was looking at Jaguars draft picks and noted a late fifth rounder from Cleveland Browns. Ronnie Harrison, a safety the Jags traded for a fifth-round pick last summer, was a third-round pick and had a great season last year for the Browns with a PFF rating of 77. Why did the prior administration make that trade?! That was awful.

You're perhaps reacting a little too vehemently on this one and depending a bit much on Pro Football Focus' grades. The past administration made the trade because the feeling was Harrison wasn't significantly better than other safeties on the roster. Good PFF grade or not, I wouldn't argue that point too strongly.

Geoffrey from Orlando, FL

The ferocity and intensity of playoff hockey are markedly more intense than regular-season games as well.



I just don't get the intentional-tanking theory. If you believe we tanked on purpose from Week 4 on, you also believe the coaching staff did it out of the goodness of their heart (all got fired) or secretly got paid a bunch of money (didn't happen). You're also deciding to stake a whole team's reputation and accountability on what boils down to a Hail Mary. Sure, Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence is a no-brainer for this draft and hopefully going to be a great. But I don't think dozens of people are going to put their careers and reputations on the line just to get him into the locker room. What, is linebacker Myles Jack tackling soft so Lawrence can make him look good? Is defensive Josh Allen leaving a fraction of a second late off the line so that maybe he can go to the playoffs in three years? Is wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. dropping end-zone catches so he can catch one in the AFC Championship game? C'mon.

The tanking theory is one that sounds good in, well … theory – and it is easy to tweet about it and yell loudly it about on national talk and debate shows. It's a theory fans and observers tend to believe because they think of teams as uniforms and helmets rather than a collection of people, and they see things from the perspective of people unattached to the decisions. When seen from the perspective of people making the decisions and doing the coaching and playing – i.e., people with careers on the line – it's easy to see the folly in believing a player or coach would tank. It's categorically absurd.

Tom from Jacksonville

I thought Shatley did as good as Linder last year. Did you see the same thing? Great backup.

Tyler Shatley is a very good backup center/guard AND The team missed starting center Brandon Linder when he was not in the lineup.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

What's a DiRocco?


Griffin from St. Augustine, FL

Man, I just watched the Hunt, Chapter 2. Urban Meyer is an electric speaker. I'm not being sarcastic. I legit have a man crush on him. He's the second-most attractive man on earth. Tell the guys that make the hunt they do a great job. Go Jaguars!!!!!

You're right that the guys making the Hunt do a great job. That's a project spearheaded by Max Hochman, a gentle soul who many people in the building seem to like a great deal for whatever reason – and who purposely edited the video so that he, and not Meyer, would remain the most-attractive man on earth. It's a close call, but insiders believe Max has the edge. For now.

Jonah from Jacksonville

Lifelong jags fan, and I never understood how we can have an offensive line that can have an undrafted running back look this good, but the quarterback looks like he had zero time and was running for his life. Is this how good running James Robinson was and he just overcame them – or were our past quarterbacks not good enough to handle the pressure?

As is often the case in football, the answer isn't as clear-cut as would be ideal. The offensive line did run-block well last season, and Robinson benefitted from that. He also was better than anticipated at maximizing each run, and therefore proved himself capable of helping the offensive line. A quality run-game is never just the line or the runner. The same is true of the pass-blocking, though the pocket awareness of Jaguars quarterbacks absolutely made the offensive line look worse than was actually the case last season. Remember, too: The Jaguars trailed for the vast majority of the season last season – often by double digits. Pass blocking is far more difficult under those circumstances.

Jeff from Orange, CA

Over/Under … when the book closes on Gardner Minshew's career will he be as large a cultural phenomenon as Ryan Fitzpatrick has been for so long?

Under, because most quarterbacks don't play as long as Fitzpatrick.


If both Barmore and Moehrig are there at No. 25, who do you honestly think the Jags would take? Or do you think it could be someone else? Like running back Najee Harris?

I would be intrigued by either Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore or Texas Christian safety Trevon Moehrig at No. 25 – mainly because of the Jaguars' perceived need at the positions. But the closer we get to the 2021 NFL Draft, the more intrigued I get by the idea of the Jaguars drafting a linebacker. There are some special ones who appear likely to be available at No. 25. Adding speed and athleticism to this defense? That could be tempting.

Ryan from Detroit, MI

Zone, I know there's been some talk about trading Minshew for a late-round pick, but what would he be worth in an early round pick swap? Say perhaps moving up from 25 to 19 with Washington Football Team? Or maybe from 33 up to 28 with the New Orleans Saints?

My guess if Minshew would have fifth- or sixth-round value in a trade. That alone probably wouldn't be quite enough for either trade. Remember, too: The team in question must want Minshew. There's no guarantee of that.

Earl from Middleburg, FL

KOAF, in five days Shadrick will be streaking down I-95 in his 2001 BMW, top down and T-Law's golden locks flowing at 110 MPH while you're back at the field trying to find someone to jumpstart your '96 Corolla. How did it get this far?

It's just the way it is.