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O-Zone: Double feature

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Aaron from Seattle, WA:
So, Khalil Mack at three, huh? All offseason you have been preaching that all of these events (combine, Pro Days, private workouts) are only a small percentage of what evaluators look at when selecting a player. Rather, evaluators mostly rely on game tape to select a player. Other than the Ohio State game, I cannot find another game in which Mack truly establishes himself as a legitimate Top 3 selection. Why are you selecting Mack at three, O? And do you think the Jaguars would prefer a trade down versus staying at three?
John: I think I explained the selection, its importance and its certainty pretty well here, and yes, I think the Jaguars would ideally like to trade down.
Aaron from Arizona:
When it comes to scouting quarterbacks, how important are intelligence, pocket presence and decision-making compared to prototypical size, arm strength, athleticism, etc.? Wouldn't it make more sense to have a guy under center who makes fewer mistakes and better decisions with the football than to have one who can "dazzle" you every now and again with impressive physical abilities?
John: The answer varies depending on the beliefs of the general manager. Generally speaking, I'm a believer that intelligence, pocket presence and decision-making are more important than physical tools, with one caveat: the player must meet certain minimums physically. I use the example of Danny Wuerffel, who I covered at Florida in the 1990s. I still believe he was the equal of most NFL quarterbacks when it came to intelligence and decision-making, but he lacked the arm strength to make certain throws. That eventually kept him from earning a permanent starting position in the NFL. In the NFL, at some point, a guy has to be able to do certain things physically when competing against the world's best athletes.
Aaron from Fairfax, VA:
Thanks Boss, for education. I meant trading some late-rounders, three or four trades, not the third- and fourth-round selections. Typical me, trying to rush my writing. Thanks on multiple levels...
John: I did miss your point, Aaron No. 3. Your suggestion was to trade three or four late-round selections to move up in an earlier round. The gist of the issue remains the same, though: if the Jaguars thought this is a whiz-bang idea then why would another team want to help the Jaguars out by making a bad trade?
Nick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Why doesn't anyone think Mike Brewster can't be the long-term answer at center? He had a very good college career, even if his production dipped in his senior season. He's also had time to sit behind Meester and learn how to play in the NFL. I just don't see how everyone can be so sure our center isn't already on the roster?
John: Maybe he is. At the very least it appears he may get the chance to show if he is or not.
Joel from Portland, ME:
In regards to Clowney, does it just come down to his sacks numbers? I wonder how high his ceiling really is. If he is as athletic as claimed, should he be able to cover and intercept passes? I saw a lot of McGinest and can recall a Pick Six or two.
John: If you're asking whether or not Clowney's draft status and potential ultimately is measured by his ability to rush the passer, the answer essentially is, "Yes." His ability to disrupt and pressure offenses, particularly quarterbacks, is why he will be one of the first players selected in May. That doesn't mean he won't be able to do some of the other things you mention. He's athletic enough to do many things. And yes, he'll probably drop in coverage on occasion, but the skills he brings that makes him special are pursuit and disruption.
Trey from Jacksonville:
Don't take a quarterback at No. 3. Don't take a receiver at No. 3. Don't take an offensive lineman at No. 3. While we are at it, let's not take a pass rusher either. There will be some later in the draft. Geez people, we do have a Top 5 pick.
John: I think they'll take one of those positions at No. 3.
Joel from Atlanta, GA:
I caught the tail end of Scooby Doo the other day and it turned out the ghost was the old man in a mask all along. I think he would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those darned kids. Personally, I always thought the old man looked a lot like Bill Belichick.
John: I missed that one. I was watching that Bewitched episode where Samantha was trying to get out of some trouble by using witchcraft. Boy, Darren didn't like that one bit.
Marjorie from Jacksonville:
This is a tough one for Round One. Because we have 11 picks and finding a franchise quarterback is elusive, I would gamble it on Johnny Football. Granted he lacks height, and likes to move from the pocket more than is desirable, but he does have the "it" factor present in many people who succeed. Pull the trigger fer Johnny; I don't think he'll last to Round 2. (And we're going to need an escape artist to get around Clowney and Watt.)
John: One fer Johnny! But I don't think the Jaguars will take their quarterback based on the ability to escape Watt and Clowney. At least they shouldn't. A more prudent tact is to build the offensive line to a point where it can protect whatever quarterback is playing behind it.
Franklyn from Orange Park, FL:
While I don't doubt Caldwell is doing his best to project how the quarterbacks will perform in the pros and believes he can find the guy who be a star, history has shown it's almost impossible to predict with any accuracy. I believe Caldwell should take multiple swings at the position, and there won't likely be a higher-percentage swing during the next few years than at No. 3 overall this year. If Clowney is there, you take him because he affects your defense almost as much as the right quarterback would and is a surer bet. Otherwise, I really want to see some swings taken at hitting a home run at the quarterback position.
John: I understand your argument, and appreciate you sharing what you want to see. The question that a general manager must answer based on his experience and knowledge of the game is whether or not a swing at No. 3 this year is a higher percentage swing than a swing in the third or fourth round. There are many who believe it's not.
David from Section 214:
Seems like trading back and still landing Bridgewater is becoming a stronger possibility. If we could get another second-rounder and still land Teddy … that's the dream scenario, John.
John: We shall see, David. We shall see.
Andy from Shifnal, UK:
Do you think some of the more unlikely stories we are hearing about players now (like Bridgewater dropping out of the first round or Mettenberger getting picked early) have more to do with journalists running out of stories to write or general managers trying to pull the wool over our eyes ?
John: A quick note here about journalists, even those covering the NFL: They don't run out of stories to write. There always is a story for another day. That said, while it's hard to say how much truth there is in pre-draft speculation, if recent draft history shows anything it's that the reality of where quarterbacks get drafted often can be dramatically different than where they were originally projected.
Knockitoff from Jacksonville:
I'm sorry, John, but if we're forced to watch ads (with no option to mute or lower volume) before playing a video on this site, I'm gonna stop watching them (Jaguars videos). I know I'm not alone. Wouldn't you agree pushy advertising does NOT work?
John: I apologize for the inconvenience. We who work at this free web site will continue to work to make your world a more pleasant place.
Don from Macclenny, FL:
Jesse asked which is worse. Don't we know the answer to that? Haven't Byron and Blaine answered the question for Jags fans about whether you should reach for a QB in the top 10 of the draft or take the best talent on the board?
John: YEAH, BUT!! BUT!! BUT!!
Rob from Middleburg, FL:
In your first mock draft, v.1.0, you projected three Texas A&M players in the Top 10. Although they may not be selected in succession as you've proposed, many experts agree they'll all go at some point in the Top 10. Which makes me curious... would this be the first time one school would have three players selected in the top 10 of any one draft?
John: No. Oklahoma had three of the first four players selected in the 2010 NFL Draft – quarterback Sam Bradford (No. 1 to the St. Louis Rams), defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (No. 3, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and offensive tackle Trent Williams (No. 4, Washington Redskins).
Jim from Gainesville, FL:
Gilligan's Island & Full House...not a fan. Now on the other hand, that one James Bond movie where everybody has horrific aim (except for 007)... now that is a show to watch.
John: I saw that one. It was the first half of a double feature. The first one was the Rocky where no one thought Rocky had a chance and he overcame odds to prove everyone wrong.

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