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O-Zone: Easily avoided

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Let's get to it …

Kevvy from Jacksonville

Do you think Dede and Conley can step up in a new system and take some pressure off Chark?

This is a major Jaguars offseason question we haven't discussed much: What will the Jaguars do at wide receiver? Do they need to improve and add in free agency or the draft? Or can they be successful developing what is there? DJ Chark Jr. showed serious signs of being a big-time, go-to receiver last season; he could be a No. 1 if he continues to improve at dealing with defenses designed to take him away. While Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley both had productive moments last season – and while both are legitimate NFL receivers – will either be dangerous enough consistently enough to be a true No. 2 threat opposite Clark? The thought here is the Jaguars should and will address the position in the draft and try to upgrade the starting spot opposite Chark. This draft goes extremely deep at wide receiver, and a third- or fourth-round receiver could start relatively quickly.

Sean from Jacksonville

Blah to the new site format. One not fer!

So, one not fer?

Gary from Palatka, FL

John, Corky Rogers died Wednesday. Any thoughts?

For those O-Zone readers who don't know, Corky Rogers coached football at Lee High School and the Bolles School in Jacksonville for more than four decades. Rogers, who died Wednesday night at 76, coached Bolles to 10 state titles – and is widely regarded as one of the best football coaches in the history of Florida regardless of level. It was impossible to be around sports in Jacksonville and not be aware of Rogers, and I feel fortunate to have covered his early years at Bolles – including his first state title there in 1990 – for the Florida Times-Union. I don't have the distinct memories of Rogers as many of my colleagues in Jacksonville media, but during my time covering Rogers I was a young and inexperienced reporter. Rogers, though already pretty much legendary in Jacksonville, was always gracious and professional. I consider covering Rogers an important part of my newspaper career and was sad to hear of his passing. He will be missed and obviously his legacy will live on through countless former players.

Tony from St. Louis, MO

Why do the Jags need to draft a defensive tackle in the first round when we just drafted one in the first two years ago?

Because the team appears unlikely to have defensive tackle Marcell Dareus next season, and because the inability to stop the run was perhaps the No. 1 reason the 2019 Jaguars fell apart in the second half of the season. And because you can never have too many great defensive linemen.

Tom from Charlottesville

If Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is available at No. 9, do the Jags take him?

I would because the quarterback position has been uncertain enough around here that taking a potential elite player at the position at No. 9. I don't have a good feel if the Jaguars would actually do this, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Alejandro from Mexico City, Mexico

Maybe I don't understand, but do you suggest that Baltimore Ravens third-team tight end Hayden Hurst is enough compensation for Ngakoue? It sounds like an agreement is not possible and we're trying to recover at least something.

I do not suggest that Hurst is enough compensation for Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. I do suggest that if the Jaguars couldn't get Hurst for Ngakoue in a trade, then it would be difficult to make the argument that Ngakoue should be paid $22 million a season.

Robert from St. Augustine, FL

We hear so little about defensive end Dawuane Smoot. Last season, he recorded six sacks and that's a number that shouldn't be easily dismissed. Where do you think he fits into next season's defensive scheme?

As an important rotational player at defensive end.

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

Ngakoue, right tackle Jawaan Taylor, linebacker Myles Jack, wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.: four core players the Jaguars got in the second round and later. Considering all their needs and the alleged excellence in terms of depth in this draft, what do you think of (assuming there are takers, of course) the Jaguars trading their No. 9 overall selection for someone's first, second and third-round selections, leaving them with two later first-rounders and two second- and third-round selections in this draft?

It depends on how far the Jaguars would need to move down in the first round. While you're correct that the Jaguars have drafted well in the second round, you still don't want to move down too far in the first round. You always have a better chance at finding elite talent early in Round 1 than later.

Martin from Jacksonville

O-man, when people talk about whether to pay Yan top-of-the-market money, what they don't seem to take into account is that even if we pay him the most of any defensive end in the NFL, by Year 3 he'll be overtaken by probably five or six other defensive ends. So by the middle of his contract, he would be the sixth- or seventh-highest-paid defensive end. He probably would only be the highest-paid defensive end for one season.


Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL

Zone: When you look at the Jags' roster to try to identify the face(s) of the franchise, who most often comes to mind? I believe it is almost indisputable that Yannick is on the short list, given his success and tenure with the team. If you accept that assumption, does the intangible that supported the rationale that "sometimes it's time to move on" not apply to keeping Yannick, even if it means potentially paying him more than market value? Building a culture that can elevate a brand and fan base is of obvious importance, and I submit its of enhanced importance with the dynamic that exists for the Jacksonville market. Retaining Yannick seems to be the type of need that justifies more than might be warranted per a myopic analytics or statistical assessment of the player, in my humble opinion. What say you O? Thanks and Go Jags!!!

The Jaguars want to pay Ngakoue. They want to keep him. I imagine they have offered him more than they believe to be reasonable – i.e., market – value because of some of the factors you mention. All this plays into the decision. At the same time, there still comes a point in any negotiation that a franchise must say it has reached its limit. I understand that people want the Jaguars to pay Ngakoue. But this simply never will be as simple as shouting "Pay Yann" – no matter how loudly and often it is shouted.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

What Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager Dave Caldwell are saying in their pressers makes them appear WAY out of touch with reality. Offensive line is in good shape? Did they see the same O-Line we did? The way these guys talk, we were playoff-bound last year. Man, how about take a spoonful of reality and chase it with a shot of HONESTY. There is nothing wrong about being completely blunt about the fact we STUNK last year. Tied a league record held for over 30 years of losing five straight games by more than 17 points. Please explain to me how it is the perception of these two and what we saw on the field seems to be very divergent and why it should give us any faith they are going to be able to fix it? They don't even appear to be able to recognize it is BROKEN.

The Jaguars realize things must get fixed. Caldwell and Marrone discussed many of those things during their media availability at the NFL Scouting Combine this week. That they don't agree with all of the things observers believe doesn't mean they are out of touch with reality. It means they see things a different way.

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, I get a laugh when I hear these interviews with Doug or Dave. No offense to them, but until the NFL Draft, I really don't believe a lot of what they say. This is gamesmanship at its highest levels. There is no reason for them to hint in what direction they are looking. IMO just enjoy the show and draft B-I-G! Go Jags!!


David from Chuluota, FL

Zone - Have you ever written anything about a player or coach that causes you to avoid them?

There's no reason – or way – to avoid players, coaches or management. I see them in the hallways and on the practice field every day during the season, and I'm at the stadium pretty much every day in the offseason. Where would I go to avoid them? Besides, I learned early in life I don't need to avoid people. They're plenty eager to avoid me.