JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … J Hooks from Orange Park, FL:
I get the feeling this draft, especially, is going to cause a lot of controversy amongst us crazy fans. It's such a strange draft for us to be picking where we're at and I foresee our picks being viewed as "unconventional." Does that make sense, or have I had too many IPAs? What are your thoughts on this and that?
John: I fully expect there to be some fans who love the Jaguars' selection in Round 1 later this month, but I fully expect there will be more who hate it. That's because there's no clear-cut obvious selection, and because opinions currently seem split between those who want to trade, those who want to select a running back, those who want a quarterback and those who want defensive line. Indeed, there undoubtedly will be anger, angst, discontent, a sense of panic and two doses of anarchy in the inbox on the morning of April 28. Then again, why should that morning be different than most others?
Dennis from Palm Coast, FL:
John, Leonard Fournette did none of the exercises that showed how much wiggle he will have as a running back. Sure, there is the tape, and he did the pass-catching drills at his Pro Day. Still, to me that he didn't do the three-cone drill, etc., is a red flag. Take a running back in Round 3 or 4.
John: I philosophically lean way, way, way toward taking a running back in later rounds as opposed to early in the draft, but what Fournette did at his Pro Day has nothing to do with it. Players routinely participate in a limited number of drills at their Pro Day. It's barely an issue.
Michael from Jacksonville:
Do you think the building of the new Daily's Place might put Jacksonville in the running to host a draft one day?
John: Jaguars Owner Shad Khan has been up front since construction of Daily's Place began about wanting to eventually hold the NFL Draft there. Considering the NFL now is rotating draft sites, and considering the state-of-the-art nature of Daily's Place, I'd be stunned if in this case Khan doesn't get what he wants relatively soon.
Chris from Wichita, KS:
I'm not sure why people keep saying the Jags should trade back in the draft. It sounds great in theory but who is the potential trade partner or who is the talent that will inspire someone to trade into the Top 5 of the draft? Do you have any insights or speculations for that O-Zone?
John: Trading usually is more difficult than many observers believe for precisely the reasons you cite. I see no reason this year should be any different.
Dave from Jersey City, NJ:
Nine years ago the Jaguars traded up to select Derrick Harvey 42 picks before Calais Campbell was taken ... yikes. That is all.
John: And here we are …
Tyler from Jacksonville:
Josh Scobee in the Pride of the Jaguars??? Yeah, if we want to make the thing a big joke. Kickers should rarely be considered for such honors – maybe the Adam Viniatieris or Morten Andersens of the world, but not Scobee. He isn't even the best kicker in the Jaguars history, and he was never close to being the best kicker in the league during his time played often meddling in the middle of the pack. C'mon, O-man ...
John: People tend to overthink and get overly emotional about Pride-of-Jaguars-ish honors around the NFL. I believe it absolutely should be an honor that goes to worthy players, but putting players on stadium walls is not the same as inducting them into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It's OK for very, very, very good players, fan favorites and players who have contributed to their franchises in memorable ways to be honored. Scobee played a long time, made a lot of big kicks and endeared himself to a lot of fans during his time here. I have no problem honoring such a player.
Terrell from Jacksonville:
Why not use Myles Jack the same way Von Miller is being used? He may be even faster and stronger. And don't give up on Dante Fowler Jr.; I think he wants to be great. What do you think?
John: I think Myles Jack is more suited to being a pursue, chase and cover linebacker off the ball than Miller, who is more of a pure pass rusher with the ability to do a lot of other things very, very well. When it comes to Jack, I think Luke Kuechly more than I think Miller; that's a good thing because Kuechly is really good. And you're right: it's not time yet to give up on Fowler; there's too much talent in that guy.
John from Jacksonville:
I just read a question from Jags Fan 818: "Do you think the Jaguars will take a bye in Week 4 after our London game or do like the Colts did and wait a few more weeks?" Do we get to choose?
John: The Jaguars don't necessarily get to choose the date of their bye week, but teams that play in London do have the option of having a bye week the week following the game. They also can request the league for a later bye week. There's no guarantee the request is granted, though the league last season did give the Colts a later bye week. The Jaguars in their four previous games in London have wanted the bye immediately afterward, but it's my understanding they may prefer it later this year.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, in all of my years watching the NFL Draft there is something I never understood. The pundits seem to say there are certain positions you "can't" take early – a running back, center, guard or safety. I heard Tony Boselli say the other day he is very high on Forrest Lamp at guard from Western Kentucky. He thinks he is much better than Dan Feeney from Indiana. The mocks seem to have Lamp going in the 20s. If he can be an anchor of our line for 10-plus years why not take him at No. 4? I look at a Bruce Matthews, who was an All-Pro Guard for many years. If a player can greatly help a team, who cares where he is picked?
John: The consensus in league circles is there are indeed certain positions you don't take early in the Top 5 in the NFL Draft. Though some of this thinking is changing a bit, the feeling is the value/importance of a guard/center/safety/running back is such that even the best player at that position won't help your team as much as a very good/elite player at a premium position such as cornerback/pass-rushing end/quarterback, etc. It's considered much harder to find the premium spots, and the general thought is the value you get from an elite guard or center isn't greater enough than the value from a second-or-third-round guard to merit burning a premium draft selection. Salaries also influenced this thinking for a long time, because teams couldn't justify Top 5-rookie salaries for non-premium positions. The implementation of a rookie pool in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement alleviated some of the salary concern, but there's still resistance to taking an interior lineman, running back, middle linebacker, safety, etc., too early because of the perceived value. Teams just feel like you can find good players at those spots further down in the draft.
Tommy from Jax:
The O Zone can get heated at times. Have you ever been told to calm it down?
John: No one soothes The Zone.
Patrick from Springfield:
What exactly is quarterback accuracy?
John: It's an important part of the quarterback equation, and while it's measured by completion percentage, it's more than that. First off, completion percentage doesn't take into account dropped passes or passes intentionally thrown incomplete. But there are a couple of important levels of quarterback accuracy. First, a quarterback must routinely throw catchable passes that give receivers a chance to make the reception. More ideally, the quarterback must throw passes that enable a receiver more often than not to catch the ball in stride and continue to run for yards or to make the catch a higher percentage of time than if he is having to dive or go high for the ball.
DreamWeaver from Section 214:
Walked into my favorite Mexican restaurant a couple days back and guess what I saw? A suave looking senior writer out on a date with what I hope is his wife. I thought about stopping to talk with you, but your lady friend seemed happy and – according to your frequent remarks on this page – that seems like a rarity for her. Also where did you get that shirt? It was killer.
John: My wife by rule is a happy person. It's my presence that understandably causes the exceptions. As for my killer shirt, I fear the senior writer you saw must have been someone else. When I eat Mexican, I do so sans shirt.
O-Zone: Dinner attire
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … J Hooks from Orange Park, FL: