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O-Zone: Draft party

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Andrea from Magenta, Italy

O, I really can't get why a lot of people seem convinced the Jaguars need to look for a running back in Round 1 of the draft. Seems to me James Robinson did an exceptionally good job at the position and can be the starter for years to come. And he was undrafted. So why not wait until later rounds and pick a spell back that can complement Robinson, and use earlier picks on positions where more pressing needs are?

The Jaguars may well follow your approach – and I honestly don't know how many people are convinced they must select running back at the end of Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft. But they absolutely could select one there, and they probably will obtain a young, explosive running back somewhere in the draft. This is not because Robinson isn't good; rather, it's to obtain an added player at the position to fit the attacking, fast style of offense Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer envisions. Such a player would provide big-play ability and speed – and immediate impact. It's an element the decision-makers clearly believe is needed – and an element that would improve the offense significantly. If I had to guess, I would say the Jaguars probably don't address running back as high as Round 1 because impact running backs often indeed can be found late in the draft. Still, if the Jaguars found a running back late in Round 1 that is special, it would make sense. And considering the team's extra capital at the top of the draft, it absolutely would make sense on Day 2.

Steve from Wallingford, CT

Hey O, can you explain to me the love for this Kyle Pitts kid? He seems to me like another Vernon Davis, and I don't remember Davis being a game-changer with his official 4.38 as a tight end.

Part of the obsession Jaguars fans have with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts is that the team has been deficient at tight end for a long time. Another is that the team has the 25th overall selection in Round 1, which is just high enough to make fans think a trade for the highly regarded Pitts is possible. Another is that Pitts went to Florida, so there is high familiarity for many fans. But the biggest part of the obsession is Pitts is a legitimately big-time prospect, with many analysts ranking him just behind Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence in this class. He's one of the highest-rated tight end prospects of all time and was mega-productive in college. So, it's easy to understand the obsession. I just don't believe the Jaguars will trade for him. Not that they wouldn't consider it. It's just too far to try to move up.

Bryan from Stumptown

Yo Grizzle Funk! Can you recall a Pro Day where the quarterback prospect DIDN'T wow the onlookers? Seems to be a yearly hype fest of ridiculous proportions and utterly devoid of meaning.


Rob from Fleming Island

Hey, John. Is it too early to know if the NFL will continue with the extended rosters and COVID exceptions for this season?

I expect some of the rules from last season to remain in place, but the NFL has yet to announce this, so yes … it's too early to know.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

For what it's worth, I'm with you. The Jaguars have the best drafting chance they've ever had. Now isn't the time to get cute. It may not work out. We'll only know two or three seasons from now, but it won't be because someone looking back could clearly say what they should have done differently. Draft the player, play the games and see if you found gold.

Wish I'd said that.

Chris from Jax

With the 17th game added to the schedule, I've seen some speculation that the Jags will continue to play at least one game in London every year. While this would not be unexpected in future years, have you heard anything about the possibility of a London (or any international) game in 2021? Seems like a lot would have to go right between now and the fall for the NFL to be able to pull that off safely.

Jaguars management would like to have a home game in London in any season for a variety of reasons – and there's no reason to think that's not true of the 2021 NFL season. As far as having a London game in 2021 … yes, there are obviously logistical challenges and unknowns surrounding COVID-19 that make that uncertain at this date.

Brian from Cranford, NJ

Help I'm stepping into the O-Zone. Place is a madhouse, feels like being cold. My beacon's been moved under moon and star. Where am I to go now that I've gone too far?

Soon you will come to know.

Donny from Lake Mary, FL, Section 35, Day 2

Let's cut to the chase on defensive tackle Tyson Alualu's "change of heart" about signing with the Jags. What's more than just disappointing with a thought of "oh well" is how and when he did this. Most of us should be able to understand the why of deciding what's best for your family. The problem is he informed the Jags a week and a half after free agency started that he changed his mind. During this time he had the same wife, with the same kids in the same schools, living in the same dream house that he had when accepted the Jag's offer. None of us outside the team knows for sure what other free agent D-lineman the Jags may have signed instead of Alualu, but it's fair to assume there were others that now have already signed with other teams and the Jags' draft plans may now be more need-based than value-based in the early rounds than they would have been if Alualu signed as planned. It's also fair to assume that he was heavily lobbied during this time by his Steeler teammates and coaches to stay there and he caved into that peer pressure. If he had changed his mind within a day or two of agreeing to sign then I guess I would just be disappointed. For a player you've described as a consummate NFL pro, his belated decision is unprofessional based on how he handled it and it ticks me off. You've alluded to a possible scenario of defensive coordinator Joe Cullen strongly advocating for Alualu to Jaguars Head Coach Urban think he may be more than disappointed and just said oh well?

I understand some fans are angry about this. And that's fine. Fans can be angry about whatever they choose. But while I don't pretend to truly know players or their true character, I absolutely believe based on my experience with Alualu that he is a good person who faced a dilemma and followed his heart. Did he do it in clumsy, unfortunate fashion? Sure. Were the Jaguars disappointed and at least somewhat angry? Almost certainly. But Alualu is human. From this view, he erred humanly – but understandably. But feel about it how you want. Be ticked off if you want. There's nothing wrong with that.

Michael from Henderson

I've seen some comments regarding Lawrence being in the shotgun all the time at Clemson and can he adjust to being under center. Same thing was being said about Los Angeles Chargers Justin Herbert last year before the draft. How did that work out for the Los Angeles Chargers? Lawrence will have no problem.

Michael has weighed in.

Aqeel from Toronto, Canada

While as a Jag fan it would've been cool to see Lawrence come out on stage with a Jag hat and jersey, I can respect his decision to stay in Clemson. There is still a pandemic going on and why not enjoy the time with his family and close ones before he will have an offseason and season with the spotlight on him? Also: Why go to Cleveland only to turn around and come back to Jax? May as well come straight here. This could turn it into being the shortest coverage/discussion ever for a first-round pick and the attention will immediately turn to what the Jets will do. I guess that will kind of equal a commercial.

It matters to me not one iota where a player opts to watch the draft. Some of that is because I cover the draft rather than watch it as a fan, but most of it is because a player isn't yet officially part of the NFL when he is drafted – so he can watch it where he wants. So, if Lawrence opts to watch the draft next month on a black-and-white tube TV while sitting in a recliner at a thrift store playing chutes and ladders with his fiancé, that would be fine. Actually, that wouldn't just be fine. It would be awesome.