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O-Zone: Everybody's All-American

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Mike from Jacksonville:
You mentioned that you believe we will draft a quarterback next year. We seem to have a lot of talent on the roster and want to win now. Is there much chance we would trade for a quarterback that has had a chance to develop and could contribute to wins right away rather than waiting for a rookie to develop: a veteran like Alex Smith or an unproven – yet somewhat tested – backup like Jimmy Garoppolo? We have drafted Byron Leftwich, Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles and missed on all. Do you think there is much chance we'll try a different approach for the next bridge or franchise guy?
John: I wrote recently that I believe the Jaguars will draft a quarterback in the 2018 offseason because it appears the team will be in a position to need one – and because the draft is the most conventional route to acquire a potential franchise quarterback. Several factors will play into this decision: The play of Blake Bortles this season, the play of the overall team around the quarterback position, which veteran quarterbacks are actually available next offseason. If the Jaguars' decision-makers believe they're close to contending and a player such as Smith were available, would be make sense? Sure, that's possible. But remember, there's a dilemma involved if you go this route: do you pursue a "known" older player such as Smith, or a young entity such as Garoppolo? The downside with the proven entity is he's going to be an older player who will play a comparatively short time. The downside with pursuing a younger veteran is there is still the unknown factor that you get with a rookie. Take the case of Garoppolo, for instance. People assume he's good. Some believe he's really good. But is he franchise-level good? That's what you're going to pay for him, so that uncertainty is a major factor. Just like it's a major factor when selecting a quarterback in the Top 10.
Max from Jax:
Met Brad Allen at the airport. He flies coach like the rest of us regular folk! Turns out he manages a Dairy Queen in his spare time!! I told him the team needs more leaders like him. He's so humble ... acted like he had no idea what I was talking about!!
John: Play the kid.
JV from Iowa:
Tell me there's another quarterback option that will be available after the NFL trims rosters to 53. Logic would say that a quarterback another team cuts wouldn't be worth signing, but considering the alternative, I'm almost looking forward to seeing what quarterbacks are available once the cuts are announced. Tell me that's silly.
John: That's silly.
Ryan from Dearborn, MI:
John, I'm trying to custom order my Brad Allen jersey for this season, but I can't find his number on the roster. What uniform number does Brad have? Thanks!
John: It's on the super-secret, password-protected, no-you-can't-have-a-password-because-if-we-gave-people-like-you-a-password-it-wouldn't-be-superscret-anymore site. I'll see if I can find Brad Allen's number and let you know.
Justin from Hampton, VA:
I told you months ago we should've picked up Kap; now the media is realizing it. You didn't agree. That tells me you failed to keep it real about our quarterback situation, John, and so did management. This is a disaster. We need to make a change before Week 1. The Vikings pulled it off. I believe we can, too.
John: Not believing Colin Kaepernick isn't the answer to a problem is not necessarily the same as not keeping it real. Still, if the media realizes something … well, it must be true, right?
Brandon from Duval:
John, what's up with Yeldon? I like him more than Chris Ivory, but I seem to be in the minority. Do you foresee the Jags keeping four running backs?
John: Yeldon hasn't been practicing this week because of an undisclosed injury. He is listed right now on the team's unofficial depth chart as a co-starter along with Leonard Fournette and Ivory. Realistically I expect him to play a third-down role this season. And yes, I foresee the Jaguars keeping four running backs: Fournette, Ivory, Yeldon and Corey Grant.
Jim from Madison, WI:
Johnny-O, a couple of months ago I asked you when we would start to talk about the 2018 NFL Draft in this column. I set the over/under at Week 8. You refused to really answer the question. I will revise the over/under to Week 6 now, and draft talk will be limited to the quarterback position. Do you take the over/under now?
John: I won't take the over or the under, because it wouldn't be fair. It's not fair because I know when I'll start seriously talking about the draft: after the season – most accurately, around the time of the Senior Bowl in late January. That's when the draft starts to interest me, and it's when I start following it enough to be at least somewhat intelligent in my responses. Some people don't like that and think I should talk about the draft before the season. That's OK. Not everyone has to like everything.
Paul from Jacksonville:
What happens at The Fox, stays at The Fox. Also, J.P. Shadrick is a fine, upstanding member of the staff and he deserves – nay, commands – our respect. I'd appreciate it in the future if you would remember this.
John: Well said, Paul. Well said.
Dave from Oviedo, FL:
Is it just me or have the linebacker play been somewhat underwhelming, even with the big three in the game?
John: Pretty much everything about the first units in the last two preseason games has been underwhelming, from the first offensive line to the quarterback play to the defense. Still, this is a largely veteran defense with a good combination of talent and experience. I believe that combination will allow the group to play well once the regular season begins. We'll see.
Jerell from the Columbia, SC:
John, Jags more like 3-13 this season or 7-9? What ya got?
John: I'm going closer to 7-9. I'm sure that's fewer victories than you're predicting, Jerell – but we're different, you and I.
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL:
If, at some future date, the Jaguars decide to seriously explore options for acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo, what are the advantages/disadvantages of that deal vice-drafting a first-round quarterback?
John: If Garoppolo is as good as advertised? Then the disadvantages/advantages don't matter because you have a franchise quarterback. Is he fool's gold? Then, the advantages/disadvantages don't matter because you don't have a franchise quarterback. The advantage in theory would be you don't have to give up a draft selection if you acquire him in free agency. But if you trade for him, you're giving up some sort of equity. You realistically are going to have to pay a first-round quarterback or even a medium-profile free agent huge guarantees/signing bonuses. That's why you better like the guy enough to make him a starter – and why it's so difficult to bring in "competition" at the quarterback position.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Trade the Allens (plus) for Garoppolo. With Julian Edelman down, it may be an option. Or try to trade the Allens for Aaron Donald. Imagine the D with him. We seem to have a good group of young, fast receivers.
John: Trades are cool. People like them. They actually seem to like them a lot more than teams like them, but that's OK. Different people like different things.
Nate from York, PA:
Even if the O-line and quarterback struggle again this year and we have another bad season, they are really the only glaring holes we have as long as other positions play to expectations. With a good quarterback draft class next year, that and the line can be addressed along with adding depth to positions that need it. We can very well be only one offseason away from being legit contenders. There's still a lot of optimism.
John: There may be good points here. I suppose I'm going to wait until the Jaguars lose a game or two – or at least play a game or two that, you know … count – before I write about how many offseasons the Jaguars are from being legitimate contenders.
Wow from AreYouSeriousClarkville:
Jaguars are first in ESPN fantasy football defense rankings?! What?!
John: #DTWD
Scott from Aurora, IL:
I once saw Brad Allen throw the ball 50 yards on a dime for a touchdown, make a circus catch for another touchdown, and rush the opposing passer for a strip/sack fumble that he returned for yet another touchdown. This was all on the same play. #playthekid
John: Play the kid.

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