Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

O-Zone: Destiny chosen

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA

O, Do you think Travis Etienne could last in the draft until No. 25? He already has worked well with Lawrence. Seems to me that tandem would be ready to roll.

Clemson University running back Travis Etienne absolutely could be available when the Jaguars select No. 25 overall in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Etienne is one of three potential Round 1 running backs in the draft along with Najee Harris of Alabama and Javonte Williams of North Carolina – but while all have been projected in the first round by some analysts, none of the three are remotely considered Round 1 locks. I do believe the Jaguars will consider drafting running back early because of the team's desire to add explosiveness and a special element to that position. I don't believe Etienne having played collegiately with quarterback Trevor Lawrence will – or should – influence the decision. My best answer on this one? Yes, Etienne would make sense at No. 25 – if the Jaguars believe he's special enough to make a major impact. If not, they won't take him there.

Don from Medford, Oregon

I have heard that great quarterbacks elevate the players around them. Why would we trade picks to get the best player when a very good player could be elevated to greatness and we could keep our picks?

I assume this references the litany of questions about the Jaguars trading for University of Florida tight end Kyle Pitts – and I'll preface the answer by reiterating that I don't believe the Jaguars will be able to trade up from No. 25 overall in Round 1 to select Pitts. It appears Pitts will go somewhere in the top five or six – and the equity required to move up to there would be astronomical. If indeed a team were willing to trade at all. As for your question, remember: While great quarterbacks do elevate players around them, there's also a limit to just how much a quarterback can elevate those players. Great quarterback can't make another player great, and greatness makes a difference in the NFL – particularly great skill players. Analysts expect Pitts to have a chance to be great. I'm sure the Jaguars would love to have him. I just don't know if they can – or would be willing to – make it happen.

_Justin from Mandarin   _

(Parody) Suggestion on the "Drafting Kyle Pitts" Train. We draft him at No. 1 overall and a quarterback at No. 25 overall. Then, we'll be sure to get the top tight end. First-round quarterbacks always work out anyway, so taking one at 25 should be fine.

(Parody) Shad Khan … hire this man!

John from Cape May Court House

It's all but apparent that the Jags are going to take Trevor Lawrence with the first pick. Which is great. But do we have to telegraph it? Our head coach hasn't gone to North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance's or Brigham Young quarterback Zach Wilson's Pro Day, both likely being top five picks. Wouldn't it make some sense to cast some doubt on who we're going to pick at one? Maybe we could bait the Jets into trading and we could still get Lawrence? With Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer and General Manager Trent Baalke both not present at these other quarterback Pro Days, it makes me question if we are doing are due diligence.

Meyer attended Lawrence's Pro Day in January. The team presumably by now has done its work on not only Lawrence but every other quarterback in the draft. If so, there's nothing that Lance or Wilson could do at a Pro Day to change their minds. Look: There's no baiting needed. There are no games needed. And there's no sense in trying to dupe some team into a mega-trade. The Jaguars have participated in 26 previous drafts. They've never had a franchise quarterback. They also never have had the No. 1 selection in a draft. They happen to have the No. 1 selection in a draft that includes a player many – if not most – analysts believe generational. Don't play games. Don't bait. Take the quarterback.

Fred from Jacksonville

Back to Groundhog Day again. I guess the rooster additions could only distract for so long.

Sorry, Fred. I guess I'll keep answering questions fans ask. Doing the best I can here.

Robert from Reno, Nevada

Mr. Funk, I learned in the comments recently that Lawrence took most of his snaps in college from the shotgun. Now, that does concern me. Isn't footwork a huge requirement for an NFL quarterback? Can't say how many times I hear of quarterbacks spending offseasons working on this. Some, I hear, take several years to master the techniques. I personally think Gardner Minshew II should be the starter; this is the perfect setup for him to succeed. By the way, your title says "Senior writer," you have people working for you? How hard can it be?

A few thoughts on your thoughts and questions. One is I agree that footwork will be an area to watch – though my guess is any footwork concerns around Lawrence will be mitigated by the Jaguars likely running an offense at least somewhat similar to what he ran at Clemson. Two, I would be surprised if Minshew starts at quarterback for the Jaguars next season – and while I suppose he could succeed next season, I don't know that there will be much inclination or reason to go that direction. And no … while my title is senior writer, I don't have people working for me. The Jaguars are run by intelligent, successful people who don't want my "type" running things. As for how hard my job is … for me, I suppose the answer is not overly hard. Then again, I possess rare gifts and intelligence. For many people without such things – certain Renoians who like to ask cute questions, perhaps – I imagine it would be more difficult.

Pat from Orlando, FL

Reality is the reason so many Jags fans are pro 3-4 is because during the General Manager David Caldwell years, the Jaguars regularly drafted undersized but athletic "defensive ends" that in the NFL would more than likely perform better in a 3-4 as outside linebackers. Josh Allen is much more suited for outside linebacker; so is K'Lavon Chaisson. Fact is, the most likely culprit for Chaisson having such a rough rookie season was because he almost never played with his hand in the ground before. Then add in the fact that with a 3-4 both Paul Posluszny and Myles Jack could have coexisted on the field. Moving to a 3-4 makes sense for a young, athletic and undersized pass rush. The problem with former defensive coordinator Todd Wash was he was here in the Caldwell era when the Jaguars drafted squares to fit a round holes: LT Luke Joeckel to right tackle, outside linebacker Jack to inside linebacker, outside linebacker Allen to defensive end, outside linebacker Chaisson to defensive end. Those players are/were talented, but not for the system in place. The desire for a 3-4 isn't because of a hatred for Wash; it just makes more sense with the types of players on the roster.

You're referencing me answering a recent O-Zone question about why Jaguars fans are obsessed with a 3-4 defense. I answered by bringing up former defensive coordinator Todd Wash. Bringing up Wash with Jaguars fans is fun for me. It's cool. I like it.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Do you think Ben Bartch is ready to push AJ Cann at right guard? What's the word on Bartch?

Bartch, a fourth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft from Division III St. John's (Minnesota), started one game for the Jaguars this past season and played sparingly in 13 games overall. He was inconsistent – and unsurprisingly for a fourth-round rookie offensive lineman from a Division III program – didn't look ready as a rookie. Like a lot of rookies, he could have used a regular offseason program last offseason. I would be surprised if Bartch pushes Cann this season. Not because Bartch won't improve, but because Cann is a seventh-year veteran who had perhaps his best NFL season. Stay tuned.

Jason from Jacksonville, FL

Jags lost out on Tyson Alualu, so they resign Gotsis? They have to do better than that.

The Jaguars indeed re-signed defensive lineman Adam Gotsis shortly after defensive tackle Tyson Alualu opted to re-sign with the Steelers rather than join the Jaguars. As far as your assessment of what the Jaguars "have to do …" first: Gotsis actually makes sense as a viable and reliable option. But did I miss the memo that the offseason is over? Ae the Jaguars prohibited from further roster moves between now and the season? Anyone? Anyone? Jason? JASON!!!??

_John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL             _

You always seem to be flirtin with disaster. Y'all know what I mean?

I do know. I've tried to turn my head away. But I feel about the same most every day.