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O-Zone: Fatigue factor

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Chris from Jacksonville:
I've seen mock drafts with the Jags taking an offensive tackle at No. 3. I think that's highly unlikely. What do you think? And how do they come up with something so off the wall?
John: I've seen mock drafts with the Jaguars taking an offensive tackle at No. 3 overall, too, and I also think it's quite unlikely. The Jaguars like Luke Joeckel and Austin Pasztor at tackle, and just because national analysts haven't heard of Pasztor doesn't mean the Jaguars are looking to draft his position. As for how analysts come up with the things they do, a lot of it is a matter of national media not having the same intimate knowledge of a team as ardent followers. In the Jaguars' case, if you're not following them closely, the idea of an offensive tackle at No. 3 isn't illogical. It's historically a safe position to select in the Top 10, and Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews are very good players. But the Jaguars need playmakers, and the guess here is they address that at No. 3.
Roy from Orange Park, FL:
If Clowney is anywhere close to the talents of Julius Peppers, JPP or Javon Kearse, then I say draft him! If not, then trade down – hopefully for a quarterback.
John: Hey! One fer a pass rusher, because it does appear Clowney is on the level of those players. I kind of doubt he will be there at No. 3, though, and if he's not, there's little question the Jaguars would like to trade down. Here's where we may not find ourselves as much in agreement. If the Jaguars trade down out of No. 3 to No. 6, it wouldn't necessarily be for a quarterback. If you don't love a quarterback at three, I don't know that you love him that much more anywhere else in the Top 10.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
It seems everyone is dreading the possibility of Clowney and Watt on the same team, but I don't know if that scares me as much as everyone else. It seems like two guys that are primarily pass rushers screaming up the field at the same time opens up a ton of running lanes. I know there are teams with two good pass rushers, but it seems like one needs to be a stout run-stopper as well. What do you think?
John: I think maybe we're overthinking and overanalyzing the possibility of Clowney to the Texans, and I think there's time for that later – IF it even happens. But you know what? It's April 6, and the draft is more than a month away, so overthinkin' and overanalyzin' it shall be! First, there's little doubt Watt and Clowney could be a formidable tandem. Very, very good. That will depend on Clowney being as good as many project and while he has the potential to be good, he isn't good yet in the NFL and there's no guarantee on that front. To address your question specifically, though, it's unfair to portray Watt as strictly a pass rusher. He's very good against the run and would be a very effective player if he never sacked the quarterback.
Jerry from Hilliard, FL:
Do you think that there is a chance that the Jags would give up a second-round pick to get Kirk Cousins from the Redskins?
John: Sure, there's a chance – if the Jaguars think Kirk Cousins is worth a second-round selection. That's the rub with the Kirk Cousins speculation – that while he has shown flashes at times he also has shown significant inconsistency. I'm not one to strictly judge a quarterback by statistics because there are many factors around the position that can play into those numbers. But for those who are stats-centric, remember: Cousins has thrown eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions in the NFL and threw four touchdowns and seven interceptions last season. The circumstances in Washington weren't easy last season, but there's evidence to suggest that Cousins isn't the cure-all many seem to believe.
Nick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Is it time for the reader mock yet?
John: Soon, Nick. Soon.
Mikah from Jacksonville:
If for some strange reason the Texans pass on Jadeveon Clowney and the Rams pass on Sammy Watkins, how do the Jaguars choose between them, seeing as we need more pass rushers and a great receiver to pair up with Shorts and Blackmon?
John: I spent some time thinking about this this week, and I admit I don't yet have a feel for the answer. Eventually, the Jaguars will finalize their draft board and if your scenario occurs, the only thing to do is stay true to your scouting, true to your experience and – ultimately – true to your board. Select your guy, move on and hope for the best.
Peter from Wuhan, China:
I get that the Jags like Austin Pasztor, and that's fine. But if you're in a position (not necessarily the first) where an offensive tackle is the best player available, would it not make sense to take him, kick Pasztor inside and improve two positions at once while getting full value?
John: Sure, and if this was last year's draft – when Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel were widely considered clearly the two best players available – there might be a good chance of that happening. This is considered a better draft at the top than last year's and if the Jaguars are sitting at No. 3 with two players off the board, there's no reason to think that a left tackle is going to be significantly better than, say, Khalil Mack or Sammy Watkins.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Do you think that the Jags may address kicker in the draft this year? Or is Scobee still young enough to still play at a high level for 3 to 5 more years?
John: My distaste for Scobee notwithstanding, he is more than capable of playing at a high level for at least that long, perhaps longer. The Jaguars could theoretically sign a kicker in collegiate free agency because teams often do, but Scobee is playing at a high enough level where that's not a big concern for the Jaguars.
Gaetano from San Diego, CA:
Which is Chad Henne more likely thinking at the moment: A. I hope we don't go quarterback in Rounds 1-2; B. I hope we pick up Watkins so I can put on a show for the fans; C. Please find me a center and keep this offensive line healthy; or, D. I can't wait to read O-Zone again tomorrow!
John: It's probably some combination of "B" and "C." I'd expect the Jaguars to address receiver and offensive line in the draft, and part of the offseason plan is certainly to get better on the interior of the line and to add firepower offensively. Henne was well-aware that the Jaguars will probably address quarterback somewhere in the 2014 NFL Draft – perhaps more than once – so I doubt he's draining much mental energy on "A." As far as "D" goes," Henne is a bright guy who no doubt appreciates excellence and true vision, so he probably has a general appreciation of the O-Zone, but I kind of doubt he's breathlessly refreshing each morning to read it.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Of the 55 players selected between picks 104 and 159 in the 2014 Draft - the Jags will get 5 of these players. That seems like a big deal?
John: The Jaguars certainly believe so. David Caldwell has said several times this offseason he believes this is a deep draft, and that is a reason he's glad the team has extra picks through the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. He also said that's a reason the Jaguars working the Senior Bowl could prove beneficial. This is this regime's second draft, which means they should have a heightened awareness of exactly what's needed where on the roster. The knowledge of what skill sets are needed at what spots on the roster also should be higher than last year. Add to that the fact that the Jaguars have 11 selections in a deep draft and you have a very important three days coming up for this franchise in May.
Sean from Fleming Island:
Rumor has it you benched pressed just as much weight as Clowney did last week?
John: Yet again.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Why do teams put so much energy into "smokescreens" and are the Jaguars doing much of this?
John: Your question is predicated on a theory that smokescreens take a lot of energy. I'm not so sure that's a valid theory. For a general manager in theory to throw up a smokescreen it might mean telling a reporter, "I really like Player A. He'd fit well into our scheme." I wrote that sentence in about 15 seconds. I won't say I'm not a little fatigued by the process, but I have the energy to finish this column … I think. A GM uttering it to a reporter would theoretically take a bit less energy and would probably not detract from the day's work at hand.

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