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O-Zone: Day after day

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Tom from Charlottesville, VA

Smith has been released. When will he sign with the Jags?

You're referencing quarterback Alex Smith, who indeed was released by the Washington Football Team on Friday. Smith has been mentioned often in recent weeks as a possible fit for the Jaguars' backup quarterback position, which makes sense considering: a strong history with Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer and General Manager Trent Baalke combined with Smith's experience, and a perception that at the stage of his career he would be willing to think of himself as a backup and provide guidance for a young franchise quarterback. All those factors have caused many observers and fans to think of Smith signing with the Jaguars as a certainty. The big unknown remains the same as it has been since this discussion began – and that's whether Smith indeed considers himself a backup or if he believes he can compete for a starting position. It's easy for observers to consider a player a potential backup and to say a player's starting days are done. It's quite another for a player to believe and accept it. Perhaps Smith will. Perhaps he won't. Stay tuned.

Ken from Jacksonville

I see that Tyrell Williams was released and subsequently signed. I believe that he was an excellent receiver and certainly better than MOST we have. There are several playmakers being released by teams that are in need of cap space. Does his signing team have to pick up his "old" contract or do they sign him to a new deal and is he still getting paid by old team? Is he "double dipping?" Are the Jaguars waiting to see who gets released and then swoop in?

Williams, a six-year veteran, was released by the Las Vegas Raiders in late February and signed with the Detroit Lions Wednesday. Williams, who missed this past season with a torn labrum, has been productive in the NFL – though it might be fair to stop short of describing him as excellent. Because he was released, he signed a new deal with the Lions and the Raiders are no longer paying him. As for the Jaguars' approach with such players … yes, they – like all teams – constantly monitor the league's transactions. If the personnel staff and coaches believe a released player would improve a team's situation, then the team would explore acquiring that player.

Zack Mack

Why don't the people who hate the O-Zone column so much stop reading it and find something else to do?

From your lips to God's ears.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, when does the fun begin?

I'll assume you seek a serious answer. If so, I would say the "fun" part of the NFL offseason will begin Monday, March 15. That's the first day of the NFL's so-called tampering period, when teams can begin negotiating with the representation for prospective free agents. Many fans call that period fun. Many observers do, too. Many players become rich beyond their dreams during that time. For them, I imagine it's an absolute blast.

KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF - do you think it would be worth sending our No. 33 selection to the Kansas City Chiefs or Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with a sixth-rounder to take their first-round pick? I was just thinking about the fifth-year option if it should pan out with an absolute late first-round star.

Maybe. But remember: The Chiefs and Buccaneers aren't stupid. They also understand the benefit of having the fifth-year option.

Ed from Jax

Has the new GM or coach commented on Justin Blackmon?

Stop.    

Frank from Orlando, FL

What's the Jaguars' biggest need? I say tight end.

The Jaguars' biggest need is quarterback because until you have a franchise quarterback you need a franchise quarterback. But considering that many people assume that's getting addressed No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, I would consider interior defensive line the biggest need. The Jaguars have struggled to stop the run for two seasons. And while it's vogue to say the NFL is a passing league, NFL teams will run until opponents prove they can stop it. If you can't stop the run, you will lose. Improving the Jaguars' defense starts there. It goes beyond that. But it absolutely starts there.

Don from Norfolk, VA

"I'll pack the Speedo(s)." Unfortunately, I was eating when I read this. Damn. John! :-)

What do you mean?

Jordan from Mandarin

Is tight end the hardest position to evaluate in regards to the draft? That seems crazy to say, but teams are really bad at evaluating the position. It would be one thing if there were only a few great tight ends in the NFL and they were all drafted high in the first round, but that is not the case. The few great tight ends in the NFL were third- (Travis Kelce), fifth- (George Kittle), and sixth- (Darren Waller) round picks. What makes this position such a challenge?

You're exactly right about tight end – so right that it's almost as if you have been reading the O-Zone the last couple of years. The main reason tight end is difficult to evaluate in the draft is that the definition of a great tight end in the draft is one who can produce at a high level in the passing game and contribute at least relatively close to that level as a run-blocker. Tight ends often aren't asked to do this in college – and those that are asked to do this in college aren't blocking NFL-caliber defensive players on anywhere near a weekly basis in college. The other factor here is there are far fewer NFL-caliber prospects at the position than, say, wide receiver, running back, offensive line and receiver. There are a relatively small number of human beings on the planet with the combination of size and athleticism and strength needed to play NFL tight end. Because there are fewer available, fewer actually work out once drafted.

Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX

KOAF: I have a brilliant idea (well, maybe just an idea) regarding the 17thgame at a neutral site. My first suggestion would be Antarctica, which is not owned by any one nation but rather governed by the Antarctic Treaty. This would have multiple benefits since fans love to see snow and ice games, personnel get to sightsee on a hard to access continent and most importantly players would not have to pay taxes for playing in Antarctica and since you told us its always about the money, this would be a great idea for the NFLPA to jump on. The other neutral site would be to team up with Elon Musk and play football on the moon once we colonize it. With the reduction in the ability to run and move fast we would see a decrease in concussions. Please tell me where I am wrong.

Go for it.

Sid from Jacksonville, Fl

If Zach Wilson truly is the best quarterback is this draft, do you think this front office will draft him? Or is there a sense of Trevor Lawrence no matter what?

The Jaguars will select the player they believe is the best prospect with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. What would possess them to do anything else?

James from Salt Lake City via Jagsonville

Hey Big-O. I've heard of the Culligan Man. Since I moved to Salt Lake I've heard now of the Culligan girl. But really shouldn't they be known as the Culligan person?

I gender neutrally have no idea what you're talking about.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

No. 25 overall? I never hear anything about it. Go.

I assume you're asking who the Jaguars should select No. 25 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, and you're correct that there has been far less consternation and discussion about this selection than No. 1 overall. It's also obviously far more difficult to predict and project. One reason is that free agency isn't even upon us, which means we not only don't yet know who the Jaguars will sign but whether or not they will retain a player such as offensive tackle Cam Robinson. If they indeed retain Robinson via the franchise/transition tag, or via a long-term deal, the thought here is that the Jaguars probably will use that selection on cornerback or safety; there figures to be good value and immediate impact at either position. Wide receiver also makes sense there. Defensive tackle there would be a little surprising because it's not considered a great defensive-tackle draft. But all that analysis very general. Bottom line: No. 25 is far enough down the draft and there is enough work to do on this roster that most positions will be possible. Except quarterback. That might just get addressed a little early in Round 1.

Steve from Nashville, TN

If you are not involved in Communications than what exactly is it that you do?

Achieve daily greatness without really trying.

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