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O-Zone: Draft-day holiday

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Paul from Lohrville, IA:
Great draft? Or greatest draft ever? The Jaguars got the top pass rusher and five second-round picks. That's how I see it.
John: Ah, the glorious 2015 NFL Draft aftermath … I'm sure you're exaggerating a bit. Let's hope you're exaggerating a bit, anyway. Still, you're far from alone praising the Jaguars' draft. It received rave reviews from pretty much every analyst and fan with a full-time gig or Twitter handle. It was by any measure an enjoyable weekend and a solid, solid, solid draft. General Manager David Caldwell had a plan, stuck to it, drafted a lot of value and was thusly praised for the effort. The reality, of course, is you can't judge a draft for at least a season, maybe longer. The draft was Saturday; this is Monday. That's two days and two days is not a season or longer. In time, how you see it – as a great draft – could come to fruition. Dante Fowler Jr. is a major talent and players such as T.J. Yeldon, A.J. Cann, James Sample, Rashad Greene and Michael Bennett were considered second-round possibilities by some, so if everything goes all right … how you see it – as a great draft – could well happen. Everything rarely goes all right with six NFL careers, but for now … yeah. Absolutely. Dream big. Live it. Enjoy the ride.
Brad from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Long time coming. Here we go Jaguars.
John: #DTWD
Herbert from MidState Office Supply Accountz Receevable:
At first, I thought Dave was tanking on purpose for draft position next year, then he goes out and totally redeems himself by getting the steal of the draft in Rashad Greene. Well played, sir!
John: So, the draft turned in the fifth round … Caldwell by that time already had selected the player he considered the best in the draft – Dante Fowler Jr. – as well as selecting a running back in T.J. Yeldon about which the team feels very strongly. He then selected South Carolina guard A.J. Cann to upgrade the left guard spot. After that, he started Saturday by taking Louisville safety James Sample, a player some believe could be one of the best safeties in the draft. Caldwell at first glance seemed to have had an outstanding draft. It seems Greene added to a good draft, but Caldwell really didn't spend the early hours of Saturday afternoon seeking redemption.
Tim from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Hard Knocks?
John: Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps. Whatever.
Chad from Yulee, FL:
It seems like the 2016 Pro Bowl could be re-billed as the rookie All-Star game based on the talking heads after each pick. I know this is not the time to rain on someone's parade when they've dreamed of this for a long time, but everyone sounds like Jon Gruden when they re-cap these picks.
John: Good eye, Chad – or rather, good ear. A huge fallacy of the NFL Draft indeed is the constant buildup, analysis and outrageous publicity these incoming rookies receive that helps create a notion that these players are ready to step in and contribute immediately. It's simply not the case for most of the players. Even early-drafted players often have a steep learning curve with few first-year players playing at a level close to that which they'll play in their second, third and fourth seasons.
Todd from Jacksonville:
So, with the addition of Rashad Greene at wide receiver (slot) and his ability to return kicks, how hot is Ace's seat?
John: Hotter.
Robert from Bellingham, WA:
With the first pick of the 2016 draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars choose .. oh wait, we are picking 32 overall because the Jaguars won Super Bowl 50, said the homer never.
John: Let's shoot for something in between at first – closer to 32 overall than No. 1, maybe, but somewhere in between.
Christian from Orlando, FL:
When I watch Fowler play I see shades of Clay Matthews. I certainly don't expect Fowler to achieve that level of success, though it would be nice, but they both play with a definite ferocious tenacity. It excites me as a fan and also makes me glad I'll never have to be on the receiving end of a sack.
John: Why don't you expect Fowler to achieve that level of success?
Strnbiker from Dothan, AL:
Best rock-'n-roll line-- "Yes, I wish that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes; you'd know what a drag it is, to see you…"-- not talking about O-man, of course.
John: "… to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free …"
Mike from Albany, NY:
Hey O, does hearing that Atlanta wanted to move up to select Dante Fowler Jr., and knowing that one of the best defensive coordinators and new Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn was the defensive coordinator at Florida when Fowler was there make you more excited about him or does it not change your stance. #DTWD
John: It doesn't change my stance, because it doesn't change that Fowler was one of the best few players in the draft. He was that whether or not the Falcons liked him or not. Dan Quinn liking him is nice. As far as Fowler's status with the Jaguars and what he means to this organization, Gus Bradley and David Caldwell liking him means significantly more.
Fuzzy from Jacksonville:
I worked spotlight for the Cars at "The Pit" in Albuquerque in 1980. The Motels opened for them.
John: I saw the Ramones at the Bandshell in Gainesville in 1984. There was no opening act. It wasn't necessary.
Kyle from Ohio:
All in all, that was a very, very good draft for the good guys. I'm still not huge on Yeldon, but trying to talk myself into it. I really hope the results can get their on the field, because Caldwell has shown a very impressive ability to control the draft and get steals and gems and just quality players. I hope the results come, because I don't want him fired. I really like his drafts each year.
John: It's May and we're coming off yet another example of Caldwell knowing exactly what he's doing when it comes to acquiring talent and building an organization. Caldwell for a third consecutive offseason has shown a striking ability to formulate a sound, solid plan – and more importantly, he has shown a willingness to execute that plan. That's not as common among general managers as you might think. General managers often have a sound plan for the long-term only to give in to the temptation of wild free-agent spending or giving away draft picks or drafting over positions before young players have a chance to develop. Caldwell has been the opposite and has shown remarkable patience. The Jaguars' roster is in significantly better shape in terms of youth, talent and potential for growth than when he took over in 2013. That's the responsibility of a general manager and Caldwell has handled it well.
Talha from Fuquay-Varina, NC:
Some are saying that the Jaguars had the best overall draft, mainly due to steals in later rounds. Thoughts?
John: That's not unexpected. People who grade drafts usually grade teams best that that got the most players who were projected as early-round selections before the draft. As a result, teams who drafted players who have slipped often receive high grades. It might mean the draft was good or it might just mean a team drafted players who slipped, which isn't good if the players slipped because they weren't good. Put more simply, if the players who people are calling steals – players such as Greene, Bennett and Sample – are indeed "steals," then it was a heck of a draft. If not …
Derek from Jacksonville:
When I look at T.J. Yeldon, I see a nifty-footed, hard runner with a nose for the end zone and very good overall athletic ability...what do see John? And do you feel Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon are far above him? I don't.
John: I see a back who can play all three downs and I see a back who is hard to tackle. I also see a back who can put his foot in the ground and be very effective running behind a zone scheme and be very good behind a gap scheme, too. I'd rank Gurley ahead of him, because I think Gurley is a head of a lot of backs in recent seasons. I like Gurley better than Gordon, so I don't see as big a difference between he and Yeldon.
Ramses from Norfolk, VA:
I'm excited about the talent we acquired over the past few days. My only concern is that we didn't seem to get much faster with this draft. Is that something you think will be an area of concern this year?
John: On paper, the Jaguars maybe didn't draft for raw speed. But Fowler is fast for the position – and it's amazing how fast a defense looks when an edge rusher is all over the quarterback consistently. Michael Bennett is quick up front as an inside pass rusher, too. It's also amazing how fast quick penetration makes a defense look. The other draft selections aren't burners, but if your team is better, you tend to play faster, too.
Tommy from Nashville, TN:
Christmas has come … this draft could not have played out better … DUVALLLL! In Dave and Gus we trust! Am I being too optimistic? Love this draft!!!
John: Merry Christmas.

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