JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … MILLA magic from JAX:
No one really knew that Blake Bortles was a third overall talent in last year's draft. My question is do you think the Jaguars could possibly draft Melvin Gordon with third overall pick in this year's draft???? Over 400 yards in three quarters of football … that's hard to ignore.
John: While the Jaguars selecting Bortles No. 3 overall last year indeed surprised many observers, I wouldn't say no one knew he was a third overall talent. He had been projected off and on leading up to the draft as a potential Top 5 selection and he even had been mentioned as a potential No. 1 overall selection. That really hasn't been the case with Gordon, and remember that there's a positional aspect here, too. While quarterbacks are often going to be selected earlier than expected because they are very hard to find, running backs tend to go the other way.
Paul from Jacksonville:
John, does your wife ever worry about you working in close proximity to the lovely ladies of the ROAT? If so, what do you do to assuage her concerns?
Marcus from Jacksonville:
It's funny to me that the league is suspending Ray Farmer for the first four games of the season. He's a general manager, not a player, so why does a suspension have to be in-season? Why not suspend him four weeks right now, prior to the draft, or four weeks prior to the start of the season when cuts are being made? I know a lot of roster moves are made in the first quarter of the season, and that general managers work year-round, but to suspend a general manager after the draft and after final rosters are set seems like a bit of a cop-out.
John: I thought a while about this, which runs counter to my usual approach of writing whatever comes to mind first and deleting questions that make my head hurt. I suppose the logic is that the suspension is designed to punish the person involved more than the entire franchise, so suspending Farmer without pay is a way to do that without crippling the Browns drafts – something that would have long-term implications beyond the four-week period. But really, I get your point.
Wayne from Orlando, FL:
Hey O, with all this talk about the slot and Blackmon, couldn't we just put Hurns there? They have close measurables.
John: Sure, you could put Hurns there, and he could play the slot. But David Caldwell is on record saying he wanted to significantly upgrade the slot position, which is the sort of on-the-record statement that gets picked apart and analyzed – and rightly so – come pre-draft time. As a result, most people are assuming there's a need for a slot receiver.
Doug from Jacksonville:
All knowing and wise O-man, doesn't the schedule for the season usually come out around the end of March? Just curious....April is around the corner.
John: No, it usually comes out in mid-April, which indeed is just around the corner.
Jim from Jacksonville:
Zone, with all this great talk of "expanding the brand," would you say Jacksonville has the biggest following/fan base in London out of the other 31 teams in the NFL? Some say Dallas is their favorite. The idea of brand awareness for the Jags is solely for the purpose of more revenue, correct? Since we all know now that the Jags are staying, I can't imagine another reason why we would be so focused on building a fan base worldwide other than for that.
John: The Jaguars indeed have grown in popularity in London and there are surveys to support that. Still, I think it's safe to say the Jaguars aren't yet maxed out in terms of popularity in the UK, so growing the brand remains important. And yes, the idea of building a worldwide fan base is for revenue. It's the London fan base that concerns Shad Khan the most. He wants to build a strong fan base there in part to make the team more attractive to corporate sponsors there, and yes, that's about revenue, too. Khan wants to make the franchise work in Jacksonville; to do so, local revenue must be strong, which is why London matters very much in the equation.
Bill from Orange Park, FL:
With the draft coming up soon does anybody know if Justin Blackmon has at least asked for reinstatement? The only answer we get is, 'It's up to the League.' I get this, all I want to know is did he apply?
John: I understand the lack of information around Blackmon is frustrating to fans. I guess the best way to look at this is that while there is no shortage of NFL information via Twitter, the Internet, television, etc., etc. information around players suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy is one area where there is a shortage – for very understandable reasons. Privacy concerns reign supreme in this situation. If there was information flowing about the situation, then that wouldn't be very private.
Christopher from Philadelphia, PA:
I agree with you that Mariota is much more likely to "slide" than most apparently think. However, a dream – and realistic – scenario would be the Browns (whose quarterbacks coach has a lot of experience with Mariota) move up to No. 3 by trading the 12th and 19th picks. Then, the Jaguars could possibly take Todd Gurley at 12 and Bud Dupree at 19, addressing two needs in the first round instead of just one. In this scenario, Jaguars would likely also get a mid-round pick in next year's draft, too. Thoughts?
John: I think No. 12 is really, really high for a running back, but we'll see.
TJ from Loretto, KY:
John, many players on the offensive line seemed to be overpowered on more than a few occasions last season. Is one offseason enough time for the players to get significantly stronger?
John: It's enough time to improve in the area. Bear in mind that most offensive linemen – and most defensive linemen, for that matter – are going to be overpowered on occasion. It's a league of powerful people, small error in footwork or balance can lead quickly to a player losing a one-on-one battle. But yes, you can get better there in an offseason.
Dan from Spotsylvania, VA:
When it comes to the draft, those who know are silent and those who don't know are talking.
John: I wouldn't say that's an all-encompassing truth, but it's sure close enough.
Adam from Section 124:
I think what is most often missing in NFL front offices is humility. General managers too often believe that they really can predict - better than the rest of the league - who will excel at the next level. This makes them inclined to trade up and fritter away draft choices reaching for their golden child. This frustrates me (and many other fans), because we see the draft for what it is - a crap shoot. No one truly knows which players will shine. So if you realize that there is always a random element to these selections, why wouldn't you do everything you can to trade down and increase the number of balls you have in this lottery? We traded up for Harvey, and Gabbert, and Blackmon, and so many others. It would be really nice to finally follow an organization that is stockpiling other teams' draft picks.
John: The Jaguars indeed traded up for those players, and considering two were unproductive and one has been suspended, there was an awful lot given up for very little return. But I'm not sure you want a general manager who isn't confident in his selection. If you wanted that, anyone could run a draft.
Vinny from Saratoga, NY:
John, in your opinion what attributes should a defensive end possess in order to be the ideal fit for the Jaguars? Also, which one of the following defensive ends do you feel fulfills those attributes the best: Dante Fowler, Leonard Williams, Shane Ray, Vic Beasley?
John: This is a two-part answer. You want your Leo end to have exceptional edge pass-rusher skills above all else, with the ability to beat one-on-one blocking and disrupt plays in the backfield. Fowler, Beasley and Ray have those attributes, and that's as good an order as any right now. The strong-side – or five-technique – end needs to be more solid against the run and ideally also would possess the ability to disrupt. That disruption needn't always come off the edge. Leonard Williams is the prototype. If he's available at No. 3, the Jaguars have to decide whether he's prototype enough to make him worth taking at a position that's not an overwhelming need.
Neil from Gloucestershire, England:
Dear Sir John of O-Zone, Newish fan thanks to the Jags playing at Wembley and trying to learn. Can you explain why people take any notice of 'mock drafts' as you call them? A small bit of research shows them to be, on the whole, wildly inaccurate?! Keep up the great work and see you for a pint at the next Jags Wembley game?
John: People pay attention to mock drafts because they're fun and easy to digest. Sort of like Pez.
O-Zone: Fun and easy
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … MILLA magic from JAX: