JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
David from Oviedo, FL
KOAF: Coming into the draft, we knew Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke had a history of "not being afraid to trade up or down" in the draft. After this past draft, can we add a few more characteristics to his resume, like "focuses on top-tier college programs and five-star recruits" and "not afraid to draft injured players?" Is there anything else we learned?
It's unfair to say the 2021 NFL Draft defined Baalke; the lack of ability to scout and meet many prospects in person made this draft unique enough that you must allow the possibility of it being an outlier for many NFL general managers. Remember, too: This was Baalke's first draft working with Head Coach Urban Meyer, who had significant input regarding the players selected. Who controlled what? What did we learn about Meyer and Baalke? I got the idea from listening to the duo after the draft that Meyer was a big reason for the focus on top-tier college programs and five-star recruits; the Jaguars understandably leaned on Meyer's knowledge in that area. I also got the idea that perhaps Baalke influenced the thinking when it came to selecting players with an injury history – though I could be off base there. What we learned mostly last month is that for the '21 draft, at least, the Jaguars leaned on conversations and contacts because they wanted a comfort level regarding players in a draft where such comfort was difficult to attain. We'll see if that's a trend or a one-off.
KC from South Florida
Random non-Tebow question: Is there a player you've covered in your career that you are surprised did not have the type of career you thought he'd have? In other words, is there a player that you thought would be amazing but turned out to be kind of a bust or vice versa?
I'm usually not all that surprised on this front; I don't expect much from rookies until they prove they are going to be special – or at least serviceable – and I usually don't write players off until they prove they can't play. Because of that, most players I feel good about whose careers don't turn out as I expected turn out that way because of injuries or other off-field circumstances. I thought, for instance, that Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon was going to be really good before his off-field issues. And I thought Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders had a chance at the Hall of Fame until injuries derailed his career. Perhaps the closest thing to being wrong about a player who turned out to be really good would be Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne. I never thought he was going to be a bust, but he did little in his first three seasons to make you think he was going to be a Pro Bowl player. He turned out to be an elite player who may someday make the Hall of Fame.
Matty from Saint Augustine, FL
O!!!! Do the Jags still have the rights to Justin Blackmon? I saw a page where it was said he wanted to come back to play for the Jags. What's the chances of that happening?
The Jaguars do still have the rights to Blackmon, who remains on the team's reserve/suspended list. And there indeed were reports Tuesday that the 31-year-old Blackmon was "hinting" at a comeback on social media. I mention this because I received questions about it and because this is a forum in which people discuss all things Jaguars – not because I believe there is much chance Blackmon will play for the Jaguars again. He would have to go through a vetting process with the league before applying for reinstatement, then there would be the question of his physical shape, whether the Jaguars would be interested, his level of seriousness, etc., etc., etc. Either way, here's hoping that Tuesday's "news" is a sign Blackmon is healthy and getting his life in order. If those things are happening, that's a very good thing.
Fred from Naples, FL
Chances Taven Bryan gets cut before the season opener?
Mark from Boise, ID
Johnnie O, in a league of twenty-somethings more concerned with days off and career longevity, I'm OK with a young tight-end room having to compete against a guy that is willing to do everything he possibly can -- on every single rep whether in practice or game--to prove he belongs. A stronger work ethic, willingness to do whatever is asked to get on the field and heightened sense of urgency won't be detrimental.
While the Jaguars' tight-end room is young, no evidence suggests that it is a group concerned with days off and career longevity. The near-100-percent attendance in the Jaguars' offseason program suggests that most Jaguars players – both young and experienced – are as all-in as can be during an offseason program. But that being said … tight end Tim Tebow's work ethic and desire aren't negatives. Certainly not.
Lenny from London, UK
Do you think there's a chance the Jags trade for Julio Jones? I like the wide receivers on the team, but the chance to add a Top 5 wide receiver with rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence is very, very tempting.
This seems very unlikely – if there's any likelihood at all. The Jaguars' approach to free agency thus far this offseason has been to steer clear of big-money free agents in favor of value decisions and strengthening the roster at multiple positions while keeping the salary-cap healthy. Meyer said shortly after the beginning of the 2021 NFL League Year in March that this wasn't the offseason for big swings in free agency – though he said there may be a time for that moving forward. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones would be the definition of a home-run swing – and his age and recent injury history would increase the risk. Never say never, but this would be surprising.
Steve from Nashville, TN
Does the signing of Tebow give the Jaguars any wiggle room in keeping three quarterbacks on the 53-man person roster as opposed to two and one on the practice squad - with the assumption Tebow makes the team and can be the "emergency quarterback?"
Tebow theoretically could be the third-team emergency quarterback if he makes the team. I don't know that that would have a significant effect on a decision to keep a third quarterback. That would likely depend more on what the Jaguars thought of another potential third quarterback.
Edward C Robertson from Jacksonville
How much did the poor play at the quarterback position impact the overall view of the O-line?
Inconsistency at quarterback, particularly in the area of pocket presence – i.e., when and when not to run, when and when not to throw – never helps an offensive line. From this view, the Jaguars' quarterbacks in recent seasons have not helped the line.
DaJuane from Jersey
It's all starting to make sense. Trevor Lawrence, Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow. We are gearing up the storylines for "Hard Knocks" or better yet the new season of "All or Nothing" on Amazon. What say you great O, am I on to something or way off?
I do not believe you are "on to something."
Doug from Jacksonville
O Man, you definitely understand better than the everyday fan, but to try to tell us the locker room is in a vacuum and that players who worked hard and fought for their opportunity won't be bothered by a (34-year-old by the first game) teacher's pet changing positions to get back into a league he couldn't cut it in eight years ago will have zero effect on the team is bologna. I am a Jags fan and if this failed player is reborn at an age where most players are declining at a position they honed and played at an NFL level for the previous 8-10-12 years and is successful then great, but it's insulting to say it's just an opportunity for a talented player when everyone knows better.
No one would pretend Tebow isn't getting this opportunity because of Meyer. Of course, he is. But he is on the 90-man roster as a tight end. He is not the starting quarterback. He is not guaranteed a position. If he can help the team, players will know it and respect it. If he can't help the team and is kept on the team, that would be a problem. If he can't help the team and is released, then he will be of a litany of players in NFL history to not make a roster and I expect the incident will be relatively soon forgotten. We'll see.
Gary from Palm Coast, FL
In your response to Andy, you noted he must not be "All In." I remember a few years ago the team slogan was "All In." At the end of the season, most of the coaching staff was "All Gone."
Gary's got jokes.