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O-Zone: Easily said

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Buddy from Jacksonville

John, I know coaches coach and players play, but I'm convinced that if we had Doug Pederson on the sidelines last year, the Jags could have possibly won six or seven games. Coaching and getting the team prepared, making game-time decisions and adjustments are critical. I believe in Doug! What say you? Go Jags!

I believe Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson will have a positive effect – and where there were indeed at least a couple of games last season in which the Jaguars looked overwhelmed and unprepared, I doubt you will see that under Pederson. I often say and write "It's always coaching in the NFL" because fans and observers typically are far too quick to blame coaching for everything they see when the NFL is in fact about players making plays. But coaching matters very much in the big picture. When I say that, I mean players must believe in coaches – particularly the head coach – and they must generally believe in the direction of the organization under that head coach. That head coach must create an environment in which players can thrive. Details of play-calling and game-planning matter, but how a coach handles players is just as – if not more – critical. Can Pederson make a difference there next season? Yes – and from what I have seen so far, it could be a mammoth one.

JP from Jax

I feel like we have to go pass rusher at No. 1. It was night and day when the defense was getting home last year. But after that, why would we not focus on O-line? We upgraded receivers. Which will do better with more time. Also, we have two very talented running backs that will only be better with bigger holes. Is it a stretch for us to grab two linemen in the earlier rounds?

I would be surprised if the Jaguars selected two offensive linemen in the first three or four rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. I would not be surprised if they used the No. 33 overall selection or one of their two third-round selections on an offensive lineman. Or if they traded up into the second round from the third round to do this.

Micah from Chicago, IL

O'man, I've been rewatching the tape and I've concluded that if Hayden Christensen had a better O-line and some solid wide receivers he could have won the Oscar for Attack of the Clones.

Good eye.

Ray from Jax

John: I don't get all of the comments about officiating. When my son complained about umpires/officials/refs after a youth-sports game, I always told him he should not expect the quality of the officiating to be better than the level of players. It applies to the NFL, too. Players and coaches make mistakes. Officials also screw up sometimes. It's part of the game. No, Myles Jack was not down, but the chief concern of the official was whether the back was down before losing the ball. Heck. I still am put out by the fact that the Don Chandler field goal was called good when I was a kid and the Baltimore Colts were robbed by the Packers.

Better eye.

Robert from Orange Park, FL

Trade down. Pick up a couple of extra picks for that first pick. There, I said it.

You indeed did say it. No one can take that away from you, and I doubt anyone will try to do so. But the truth about this issue has been clear for a while – and it only gets clearer: It appears very unlikely that the Jaguars will be able to trade the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. There are a few reasons for this. One is it is considered a weak quarterback draft at the top, and it is the insatiable lust and need for that position that often leads to huge trades for No. 1 overall selections. Another reason is that it's not considered a great draft for many positions near the top, though it is considered a very strong draft throughout all seven rounds; that also tempers teams' enthusiasm for trading up into the first few selections. Still another reason is that there are multiple strong prospects at premiere positions near the top of the draft. Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson/Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker are among multiple strong edge defenders projected in the Top 10, and Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal/North Carolina State offensive lineman Ickey Ekwonu are among several tackles projected in the top half of the first round. Teams coveting those positions therefore feel they can wait and get a good player at the position without trading away draft capital to move up. Ideally, I do believe the Jaguars would like to explore and perhaps execute a trade here. But reports this week indicated that they're not getting any calls to do so. Considering the circumstances, that's not a surprise.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, do you ever swing by the weight room to show the players what ya' got?

They already know.

Ben from Cuba, MO

O', how high is Allen's ceiling? He's shown a ton of promise. I'm just curious what you see as his highest potential.

I believe Jaguars edge defender Josh Allen can be a perennial Pro Bowl player with some All-Pro seasons mixed in. I believe he has difference-making potential and will start showing that more consistently once the Jaguars start playing with more leads.

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey, John. In general with the No. 1 pick, you have the chance to pick the best player or gather the most capital in terms of trades. But this year it seems like a disadvantage because there is no clear No. 1 player and no other team wants your pick. Is it often the case that the sixth pick is worth more than the first?

I wouldn't say the No. 6 overall selection is worth more than the No. 1 selection. The first selection in this year's draft may not be as valuable as the first selection last season because quarterbacks drive value at the top. But the first selection is still the most valuable selection in any draft.

Stu from Vancouver

You mentioned in a recent answer that Jalen Ramsey, if draft eligible, would be in the discussion for the first overall pick. Are you taking into account his known back issues here? I feel that would make him fall down the board in some draft rooms.


Unhipcat from B Bar H, CA

Hi John. The mentions lately of your title of "Senior Writer" got me thinking, is that based more on your encyclopedic knowledge and pithy rejoinders or your birthday?

The latter, unfortunately. Incredibly unfortunately.

JR from The Squatchlands

O-man, it looks like our offense needs an additional receiver and maybe some depth on the line, but otherwise is pretty much good to go. I'd like to see the majority of our draft picks going to defense this year. What are your thoughts?

I expect there's a good chance you will get your wish. I expect the Jaguars to select a wide receiver sometime on Day 2 – Round 2 or 3 – and potentially an interior offensive lineman on Day 2 or early on Day 3. I also could see a running back sometime on Day 3. Could it be predominantly defense after that. Absolutely.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

You seem to dismiss the idea that the Jaguars could take an offensive lineman No. 1 overall. I don't get this. Why not build up a weak offensive line?

The Jaguars don't see their offensive line as weak. They see it as a group where they have multiple versatile pieces and a group where they added a big-time interior player in free-agent Brandon Scherff. They also like left tackle Cam Robinson and are optimistic about right tackle, with a likely training-camp/preseason competition between Walker Little and Jawaan Taylor. I think the Jaguars addressing interior offensive line – perhaps center – is possible in the draft. Addressing offensive tackle feels less likely.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Do you see the Jaguars taking a flyer on a quarterback in the late rounds of the draft (with eight picks on that Saturday)?

I don't expect this because the Jaguars have a veteran quarterback (C.J. Beathard) behind Trevor Lawrence and a young quarterback with potential (Jake Luton) in the third-team position. That's not to say it won't happen. If there's a player at any position with a trait that makes you believe he can succeed in the NFL available in the sixth or seventh round, you take him. Quarterback included.

Mike from Nocatee

Hutchinson dominated against Ohio State and was a nonfactor against Georgia. He also disappeared against Michigan State with just one solo tackle and one sack, while Kenneth Walker ran for 194 yards and five touchdowns. The point is he is not a generational talent and the Jags could trade down.

Could they?