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O-Zone: Compensatory selection

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Holden from Callahan, FL

What are you hearing on who the team is thinking of taking at No. 17? Are they interested in trading up in the top 10, or for wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers)/Tee Higgins (Cincinnati Bengals)? What about an update on contract negotiations for Josh Allen?

Whatever anyone tells you they are "hearing" about any team outside the first two or three selections in a draft is usually a combination of speculation, whispers and rumors served with a big dollop side of lies and misdirection. This is particularly true until the final two or three days before a draft – and the misdirection part often holds true the whole time. I expect the Jaguars to select cornerback at No. 17 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, but history tells me that most pre-draft speculation by even the most insightful analysts often means little once the draft begins. The Jaguars could explore trade options for veteran wide receivers as they reportedly already have done, though I would be surprised if they moved into the Top 10 to select a rookie. That's a lot of draft equity. I have no update on negotiations involving outside linebacker Josh Allen. The sides mostly have been quiet to date. This doesn't mean there's no progress, just that the sides haven't talked much publicly. That's OK. Public talk on such matters tends to mean little and can cause discussions to get sideways.

Travis from Ormond Beach, FL

Hi, John. This past weekend I had an opportunity to attend a soccer game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Other than the 'Bank and Nissan Stadium in Nashville (which is horrible for every reason), it was my first time being at another NFL stadium in a while, and definitely the first "new" one I've seen. All I can say is "WOW." From the huge concourses to being able to look onto the field from most places to not have to worry about weather, it was quite the experience. I don't live in the area anymore, and wasn't able to attend any of the community engagements, but the other thing that struck me about Mercedes-Benz was the food prices: $2 for a drink and free refills, $3 pizza slices, etc. I know there were a lot of stories about the reduced concession prices when the stadium opened, and by all accounts it was a huge success for sales. Have the Jags discussed implementing anything like this if/when the Stadium of the Future is built?

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is a top-end new stadium with a "Wow" factor. No doubt. I like Nissan Stadium in Nashville; though I've never attended a game as a fan, I've always thought it was a nice, functional stadium that has remained very serviceable considering the era in which it was built. As for food prices at the Jaguars' proposed Stadium of the Future … I have heard no specifics. We're a long way from it getting approved and a long, long way from anything close to completion. I would be a little surprised if prices were super low, but I'm cheap by nature. Everything seems expensive to me.

Jaypee from The Vortex

We know Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke likes trades on draft day. Do you think we could get a first-rounder for left tackle Cam Robinson?

Probably not. Not that Robinson isn't valuable, but trades for veterans late in contracts typically yield lower draft selections than might ordinarily "feel right." The Houston Texans traded a second-round selection in the 2025 NFL Draft to the Buffalo Bills as part of the deal for wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The New York Jets traded a conditional second-round selection to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2026 NFL Draft as part of the deal for edge rusher Haason Reddick. The Tennessee Titans traded a third-round selection in the 2025 NFL Draft to the Kansas City Chiefs as part of the deal for cornerback L'Jarius Sneed. First-rounders are rare in these trades.

Keith from Saint Augustine, FL

Why do people feel so compelled to write in only to debate and/or convince you of their opinion? It's as if having your concurrence magically transforms their opinion into fact. Bottom line, it's all opinion until it's not, so we should sit back and enjoy the ride because we're definitely not holding the steering wheel.

One fer perspective.

ShanghaiSteve from Duuuval

Whaddup Zone? After all the years of having sub-standard quarterback play be "the reason" we couldn't make it to the payoffs, I thought we had finally had the guy. I still think quarterback Trevor Lawrence is that guy, but don't we need to find out before delivering his game checks via Brink's truck? We've missed the "field an awesome and expensive team whilst quarterback is on the rookie deal" window. I'm just not sure why we wouldn't sell out for offense in the draft and let the defense do what they can with what they have. If you give No. 16 the best weapons and protection and he can't get to and win in the playoffs, don't you think we'd know what we have before Owner Shad Khan writes the big one?

The Jaguars used at least part of the "field-an-awesome-and-expensive-team-whilst-quarterback-in-on-a-rookie-deal" window clawing out of a roster hole that led to 1-15 and 3-14 records. The Jaguars had to spend big in free agency to build the roster in 2021 and 2022, so this by no means is – nor has it neem – an inexpensive roster. As for when to sign Lawrence to a long-term "second contract" … it's tricky. He has shown many signs of being elite but he hasn't reached that status yet. Sometimes with these things you must project and believe your projections. Would there be some risk to getting this done now? Sure, but there's risk in any NFL contract. The Jaguars appear to believe he's the quarterback for the future and I get no change their wavering on that. If that's the case, there's not much reason to wait. As for what that means for timing, cost, etc. … stay tuned. I'm good at guessing. I'm not that good.

Darren from Jacksonville

If Trevor plays the same and ends next season the same as this one just past, what kind of contract does he get and do the Jags start thinking about needing a new quarterback? I'm skeptical he's going to take the necessary jump. Hope I'm wrong, of course ...

If Lawrence plays as he did in 2023 and finishes the season playing through injuries as he did that season – and if he has yet to sign an extension – it's hard to say where that will leave the Jaguars and Lawrence. There was a feeling of incompleteness at the end of the 2023 season – mostly because of the injuries and the finish. This question also assumes Lawrence won't sign an extension before the 2024 season. I don't know that that's a safe assumption.

Scott from Jacksonville, FL

I've asked about Derrick Henry a few times, so I'm hoping you'll answer this. I haven't seen anything about him in the articles of O-Zone that I've read. Any idea why the Jags did not pursue Derrick Henry?

Former Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry signed with the Baltimore Ravens this offseason. The Jaguars had other priorities at other positions than running back this offseason.

Tony from Denver, CO

Lots of talk about adding a wide receiver early in the draft which I don't disagree with. I'm curious about Jaguars wide receiver Elijah Cooks. He hasn't played much, but I recall a game last year where he always seemed open and had a few grabs for decent yardage. When the draft comes around, it's always about getting the next best thing, but what about developing young talent? Does he have a chance to play or is he lacking in talent? Our fans need to understand signing free agents is not sustainable and you only have so many first-round picks. Ultimately, you have to develop young talent.

Cooks, who signed with the Jaguars as a collegiate free agent following the 2023 NFL Draft, has talent. He showed it in flashes as a rookie. He has a chance to play. He probably hasn't shown enough for the Jaguars to assume he will be a starting-level receiver. Yet.

Tim from Jax

Let me get this straight: The Jaguars need a legit WR1 to get to the Super Bowl. So why is it out of the top 15 receivers from last season, only two have made it to the big game – Ja'Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals and Tyreek Hill, then of the Kansas City Chiefs.

There's no one position that holds the key to getting to or winning the Super Bowl. The closest is quarterback, which is really close if you have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback.

Scott from Jacksonville

I could survive one NFL handoff. I would need to be well compensated though, as I would likely spend a good deal of time in traction.

Pretty much.