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O-Zone: Cruel world

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Eric from Columbus, IN

Two linebackers in the first three rounds after signing one in free agency … with all the holes on this team, was it not at least a little surprising Muma's name was called? I get Best Available Player, but this team has holes everywhere.

I have received multiple emails on this topic since the Jaguars selected Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma in Round 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft – and it feels as if those emails will continue despite multiple explanations. So, once more with feeling: You can't always analyze personnel acquisitions based solely on the depth chart. That's particularly true in the modern NFL, which is a game of packages and personnel groupings. And it's perhaps even more particularly true considering Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell's background under Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles, who is known for creatively using personnel defensively. I don't know who will start at off-ball linebacker for the Jaguars, though it wouldn't be surprising if the starters were free-agent signee Foye Oluokun and Round 1 selection Devin Lloyd. That technically makes Muma a "backup," but in reality I expect you will see Muma in multiple defensive schemes. That's Bowles' approach, and Caldwell figures to run a similar scheme after working for Bowles for nearly a decade. Muma along with Lloyd should make the Jaguars a faster, more dynamic defense – and how long has it been since this defense was fast and dynamic? Also: This team needs good football players regardless of position. And where were you taking a starter at that spot? Running back? Receiver? Offensive line? Corner? Unlikely. Muma figures to contribute immediately and he appears to be good long-term value. And he filled a hole – if not on the first level of the depth chart, then where it matters: On the field.

Michael from Fruitport, Michigan

I was hopeful, l as I suppose many fans would have been, that we would go heavy on offense to help Trevor. I can only imagine that leadership is convinced that playing better defense gets him the ball more often. If he has the ball more often and we're not always behind early he could make massive leaps forward. Any other logic to why we wouldn't draft more on the offensive side of the ball?

The Jaguars during free agency in March signed wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, tight end Evan Engram and offensive guard Brandon Scherff. Those were the offseason moves to "help" Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The idea was to put veteran help around him offensively. I expect the time to add young help around Lawrence will come as he develops and is able to help the younger talent.

Tom from Tallahassee, FL

The teams that are consistently good (Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots) emphasize TEACHING in addition to drafting and coaching. What is your sense about DP's staff in this regard?

Most NFL teams emphasize teaching in addition to drafting and coaching. I sense Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson's staff will emphasize it, too.

Stu from Vancouver

We've had A+ grade drafts and done absolutely nothing afterwards. I don't care what the national media thinks of the draft, free-agent signings etc. Just go out and win some games. The Jaguars are beyond the point where this should be happening.

One fer winning more than losing …

Tom from Tom from Jax

The old saw "offense wins games, defense wins championships," comes to mind. The offense can't score enough points if the defense can't get off the field before the other team scores. I liked the free agent signing, I liked the direction of the draft (best player available). We have a whole new coaching approach by a one who has rebuilt a team from scratch, took them to a Lombardi Trophy, let give Doug and his team the benefit of the doubt.

… and another fer Pederson.

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

All I want for Christmas is to not have a draft pick next year in the top 20.

I don't know that you're getting what you wanted for Christmas in 2022. That would mean the Jaguars being a playoff team next season – and going from 3-14 to the postseason is a tough trip. It's doable, but it's difficult. Will Christmas '23 be different? Prediction? Ho, ho, ho.

Tom from Loughborough, England

Can we get a shout out for Ayo Oyelola, the defensive end/linebacker from the International Player Pathway who's now a Jag? What a great opportunity for both him and the Jags to showcase some of the talent there is across the pond!


Nikki from East Hampton

O, There has naturally been a lot of fanning and angst about the team not selecting any wide receivers during this year's draft. Do you foresee the team being content with its current wide receivers space (barring no injuries) or do you believe that we might still supplement with a veteran free agent like Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, T.Y. Hilton, Will Fuller, etc.?

I don't sense the Jaguars feel urgency to sign a high-profile veteran wide receiver. I think if they had felt urgency here, they would have signed a veteran already or selected a rookie early in the draft. Perhaps that could change as the offseason program continues. We'll see.

Julianna from Baltimore, MD

I heard Doug Pederson talk about some of the selections they chose in the draft being team captains. Which of the JAGS selections this year were team captains in college?

Outside linebacker Travon Walker (Georgia), linebacker Devin Lloyd (Utah), offensive lineman Luke Fortner (Kentucky), linebacker Chad Muma (Wyoming) all were captains in college.

Dennis from Palm Coast, FL

John, teams don't draft a player in the first round to play 30 percent of the snaps. So, Lloyd is not playing middle linebacker. He gets on the field by playing outside linebacker and Travon Walker moves to defensive end. Your thoughts on that?

I think Lloyd will play a lot of inside linebacker in base situations and I think he'll be used creatively in nickel situations.

Marlin from Lottieville, FL

Hey, Zone. Congratulations to Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson on his extension. When reading the story posted, it occurred to me that Robinson is the second-best left tackle the Jaguars have ever had, and the third best offensive tackle, period. I mean, it's not like we have a ton of other choices in our history. It reminds me of when my son tells me he is going to be taller than me, I tell him, "Hey, I am only like five foot three, so that's not really saying anything." What do you think, is there someone I overlooked or is he the third best offensive tackle ever?

Eugene Monroe, the No. 8 overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, was a solid starter for a little more than four seasons for the Jaguars before being traded. Of the Jaguars left tackles I have covered, he would be in the conversation along with Robinson as the second-best behind Tony Boselli. I would give the edge to Robinson, but Monroe was not a bad left tackle.

Marc from Oceanway

John, can you expound on how the draft-day trades work? For instance, the Jags traded up to get Devin Lloyd specifically.  They started the trade talk several picks ahead of pick 27. What if the Jets had drafted Lloyd with pick 26? Are the Jags simply out of luck and have to pick their next highest-graded player, or do they make the trade conditional on Lloyd being available at pick 27?

Trades can be conditional on whatever terms teams choose. Once a selection is turned into the league as official, then it's official.

James from Salt Lake City via Jagsonville

We still don't have a No. 1 receiver.


Brian from Round Rock, TX

I'm very happy with the draft picks. However, we'll regret not resigning former Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. Will our receivers get open? This was Issue No. 1 last year!

The Jaguars clearly liked their wide receiver group enough to not sacrifice a ton of draft equity to move up for the position in Round 1 – and they clearly didn't like the '22 receiver class after Round 1 more than what is on their roster. That will be a major storyline entering the 2022 season. Stay tuned.

Steve from Nashville, TN

It takes some deliberate maneuvering to have two defensive players from the University of Wyoming (linebacker Chad Muma/safety Andrew Wingard) on the same NFL Team?

Well, yes … I supposed you have to sign one as a collegiate free agent (Wingard) and like another well enough to draft him (Muma) a few years later.

Keith from Woonsocket, RI

Just one question for you, Zone. How do these fans who know so much more than our professional scouts not have jobs in any NFL front office?

It's one of life's true cruel twists of fate.