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O-Zone: Family over flash

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bradley from Sparks, NV

One of your readers remarked that perhaps the Eagles had the best offensive line the year they won the Super Bowl. They also had arguably the best defense. How valuable is having a top tier "D" to the offense?

This is a good point, and one that got a bit lost in the leadup to the draft. We spent so much time discussing Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson's penchant for a strong offensive line – which the Philadelphia Eagles absolutely had when they won the Super Bowl under Pederson following the 2017 season – that we perhaps overlooked that the Eagles indeed made that Super Bowl as much because of defense as offense. I can't make the case that you can win the Super Bowl these days by building defense at the expense of offense. But the Jaguars need to be able to stop the run and get off the field more often on third down than they have in recent seasons. By selecting outside linebacker Travon Walker and linebackers Devin Lloyd and Chad Muma in the 2022 NFL Draft, and by signing linebacker Foye Oluokun and defensive tackle Foye Fatukasi as unrestricted free agents, they have improved in that area this offseason. Maybe significantly.

Adam from Allentown, PA

Can you help me make sense of this? The Jags spent a lot of free agency money on offense. We know that free agency acquisitions very rarely meet expectations. We then spend all our premium draft capital on defense. So how could the offense possibly get better when the only additions are players that other teams didn't want enough to keep? How is the wide receiver room better without premium draft capital?

The Jaguars, like any team that struggles, were in something of a quandary this offseason – i.e., that while the best way to acquire elite players is the draft, it takes time to build that way. And it's realistically difficult to acquire elite players at multiple positions in one draft. They therefore spent a lot of money in free agency with the idea that players such as tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Christian Kirk can give quarterback Trevor Lawrence better receiving options than he had last year – and that right guard Brandon Scherff can help bolster the interior of the offensive line. There's also faith that Pederson's offense can thrive without a so-called WR 1, as it did when he was the head coach of the Eagles. I thought before the draft the Jaguars would try to draft a receiver at the top of the second round or by trading up into the latter part of the first round. The Jaguars as it turned out didn't see receiver having the right value at that point. I would expect the team to try to draft and develop a WR1 in the near future. It just wasn't possible this year.

Brian from Fleming Island

There was a reported rumor Josh Allen was on the trade block. With this draft complete, I'm starting to believe the rumor. The team drafted his replacement, not his complement. Do you have a guess on whether Josh's days are numbered?

There are two outside linebackers in the Jaguars' defensive scheme, which means Travon Walker is very much a complement to defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen.

Jon from Ocala, FL

Hi O, I believe you have already addressed this but if Walker was good enough to be picked in the Top 5, he was good enough to picked first. Oh, and none of the rookies are proven to be good in the NFL until they are, no matter their college stats!

Careful there, Jon. You're using reason and logic to analyze the draft. Tread lightly.

Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA

O, Hope. We've been here before. I thought former Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer would be a good coach. I was wrong. However, I do have a feeling that the Jags have a coaching staff that has NFL experience and knows what they're doing. What do you think?

This staff is experienced. I like what I see and hear from Pederson, and I like what I have heard from the assistants I've interviewed and heard speak. I do think they know what they're doing, and I can't imagine they won't relate well to the players. Those are all positives.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Lucky for the Jags they do not have to face Detroit this year and the wrath of Aidan Hutchinson, who was passed over by them.

Well, thank goodness for that, I guess.

Seamus from Sioux Falls, SD

When hearing coaches and analysts talk about position groups, they often refer to "the quarterback room" or, in the case of this weekend's pick, "the linebacker room." Are there multiple physical rooms in the Stadium, one for each position groups or do they all use the same room at different times?

Each position group has a separate meeting room. There are also larger rooms where the offense and defense can meet, with an auditorium-type room for full-team meetings.

Michael from Fountain

How are people still saying this team has no direction? They seem to be targeting specific players, and then doing what they needed to acquire them. While they might not be right with their choices, they obviously do have a plan now.

One fer direction …

Coach Couch from Duval

When was the last time the Jags were not rebuilding?

Realistically? The 2019 offseason, when they signed quarterback Nick Foles as an unrestricted free agent. Foles' signing felt like the last effort with the core that made the AFC Championship Game after the 2017 season. Since then? Yeah, it has been a lot of rebuilding.

Jordan from Jacksonville

I'm surprised we didn't draft a kicker late.


Russell from Oceanway

Mr. O, do you know what the status of two categories on next to O-Zone, called Ten Things and Quick Thoughts? Are they just activated during the actual season or have been forgotten or neglected? Don't mean to be flippant, just interested to know. Thanks.

"Ten things" and "Quick thoughts" are regular-season features. They will be well-remembered and not at all neglected during the regular season.

Diego from South of Tierra del Fuego

Please explain to me why NFL teams waste their money on college and pro scouts? All they have to do is to tune into Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay about a week before draft day and get all the information they need on the top prospects. Surely, they are as good or better at their job than the scouts. Then on draft day, select their top prospect for positions you are looking for. Diego for GM!

Shad Khan, hire this man (again)!

Chris from San Diego, CA

What did the Jaguars see in Chad Muma that made them like him more than Nakobe Dean, who by all accounts has the potential to be elite despite his size. I get not using a first or second rounder because of his injury, but let's be honest -- Chad Muma looks like he should be preparing my taxes every April.

Did you watch Muma? Or just Dean?

ShanghaiStevie from BACK IN JAX!

So, I hear we had a draft with some guys that some people like and some that people don't. Instead of focusing on that, I paid close attention to HCDP. This guy impresses me. I really appreciated how he talked about the staff involved in the draft process, and about the great experience it was working together. It was almost like he was talking directly to them - like sincerely. In another presser, HCDP spoke directly to the mother of our second first-rounder. He talked about looking forward to getting to know the mother and the family - like sincerely. For the team on the field? It will go as far as Trevor will take it. But this guy HCDP, he seems like someone people would want to play hard for. There is only one cleat in my house and it's a size 5, but I'd strap it up for HCDP. Good dude.

One fer HCDP …

Cole from Jacksonville

Not a question, just an observation that our last two No. 1 overall draft picks both knew they would be selected No. 1 (Trevor for sure, Travon arguably) and chose to stay home with their family instead of going to the grandiose draft event. Not sure how or if that will be significant in five years, but I thought it was pretty damn cool and refreshing to see young men put family over flash in this social media age of "look at me and what I just did." Now get off my lawn!

They can get off mine, too. And there's also a guy down the block who insists on parking his car across the sidewalk when everyone else on the street knows it's against the law. But he's the only one who doesn't have to follow the rules. I have to go. I'm going to yell at a cloud. (And good eye).