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O-Zone: Gator bait

INDIANAPOLIS - Let's get to it... Dereck from Jacksonville:
Thanks to all of you guys, and gals, for all of your hard work, John. We fans appreciate you immensely. I love the Shipyards plans and hope that comes full circle. Pete Prisco makes me laugh in a good way by stirring the pot with Suh. I don't think he makes it out of Detroit, but I would love to see him here, but I've been told more than once that I have an attitude problem. I also think that proverb, man who no want stepped on, no lay on ground appeals to fans like me. Does that mean I'm not winsome?
John: I'll sift through your email, shake it out and address what appears to be the main point: Pete Prisco's thoughts on Ndamukong Suh. While appearing Wednesday on LIVE, Prisco in his subtle style that those who know him "appreciate," made the case that the Jaguars should pursue the Lions' defensive tackle when free agency opens next month. Prisco's point was a sound one – that Suh is a difference-making talent who can set the tone for a defense and make players around him better. Prisco, for all of his "short"comings, knows football and he is right on this case. Suh would be a major impact player and would indeed make players around him better. He forces offensive to game plan for him, and that matters in the NFL. I, like you, am skeptical that Suh gets out of Detroit. Lions general manager Martin Mayhew expressed optimism on Wednesday that the sides were close to a deal to re-sign Suh, which makes sense. He's a young, elite-level player and somehow, some way teams tend to re-sign those sorts of players.
David from Orlando, FL:
Is Shad Khan the best thing that ever happened to the Jaguars? Maybe not … all I hear on sports-talk radio is Khan wants to move the team to London.
John: Well, if sports-talk radio said it …
John from Jacksonville:
Anyone watching the draft last year viewed the "Johnny Manziel show" as the broadcast spent a majority of their time gushing over him before, during, and after his selection. A majority of the other draftees received standard air time, including Blake Bortles, who was selected far before him. The Manziel circus was an insult to the first-rounders and he now proves to be a potential bust. There needs to be some level of scrutiny to showcase all of the players and their talent with equal respect and not zero in on only a couple as their main focus. Not even sure why I brought this up but it must be the cold air.
John: If you think it's cold in Jacksonville, walk a while with me in Indy … but enough about us. The people broadcasting simply did what was logical: they focused their coverage on Manziel the most compelling, interesting player, the one that drew interest and therefore drew ratings. Being fair to the other draft selections really wasn't a factor.
Maurice from North Potomac, MD:
I know you're not big on draft-day, trade-down talk, so please forgive me. However, it seems like the Eagles, Rams and Jets need a quarterback. This is why I am REALLY hoping that Mariota lights it up at the combine so that one of these teams try and jump the Jets for a quarterback. Do you think a team like the Jets would want to move up to No. 3 to make sure nobody has a chance to get Mariota? I honestly don't think it would be a bad idea because Shane Ray, Dante Fowler and maybe Randy Gregory would still be on the board at No. 6. So, we would still get a VERY good player anyway. Your thoughts?
John: My thoughts are that those players – while perhaps not as good as Leonard Williams – would be good selections. Mariota's draft status likely won't change much one way or the other based on what happens at the combine. Teams concerned over the style of offense he played in college – and those teams and concerns are real – will remain concerned over that regardless of how he throws in shorts. Conversely, the teams that like him will like him regardless of how he throws. As far as trading down, it does seem possible. I like the idea if you don't have to trade down so far that you lose out on the chance for a big-time player. This team needs difference-makers, and trading down too far could keep them from getting one.
David from Oviedo, FL:
O-man, did we miss any signs that the Jags would use their first pick on Blake Bortles? Did Caldwell or Bradley lead us to believe it would be Khalil Mack or Sammy Watkins or was that all on us?
John: Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell went to the Pro Days last offseason for Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles, so the signs were that maybe, maybe, maybe (maybe) the Jaguars might be looking at a quarterback. I readily admit to being fooled, though. Very, very few people suspected Caldwell would take Bortles. He said nothing to anyone – even inside the organization – before the selection. There's a reason for that approach: teams gain nothing by having other teams know their draft-day plans, and they sure didn't know Caldwell's last offseason.
Brian from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
On February 1, 2014 I asked why we are afraid of free agency, basically saying let's spend and get better! You told me why I was wrong and in February Jonathan from Orange Park, FL, gave me a tongue lashing saying I didn't understand. Now, this offseason, everyone has a change of heart. I'm hearing how we should make a splash and seeing all the big names we should pick up to get better. I guess in 2014 it wasn't such a hot idea, but in 2015 it is. Maybe I'm just ahead of the curve.
John: Or maybe this was the offseason the Jaguars planned to start supplementing the first two drafts under Caldwell and Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley with more high-profile free agents and they're sticking to that plan.
Michael from St. Martin:
O-Zone! Since the induction of the OTTO position, I have been intrigued about the Jaguars would fill such a spot with a player. Has Andre Branch been considered? He has the athletic ability to drop (see Detroit) be stout against the run, and can rush the passer. I feel this move would allow more talent on the field more often, especially if we draft a guy like Fowler/Gregory to play LEO.
John: It's possible, but I doubt it. Bradley was discussing the Otto position at the combine on Thursday and said the position is gearing more toward a strong-side linebacker with longer arms and pass rushing ability. That's as opposed to being a defensive end-based position with some linebacker skills. Branch wouldn't seem to fit that description.
Matt from St. Augustine, FL:
Out of curiosity, what are the penalties if a team fails to spend to the minimum over the allotted period of time? I imagine this isn't really a concern anywhere in the league, because if the penalties are severe enough I imagine a team's current roster would just wind up being the beneficiaries of some raises. And if they're not particularly severe, well, then they aren't that severe.
John: You're talking about the rule that says teams must spend 89 percent of their cap over a four-year period and you have the right general idea. The "penalty" is that if a team falls short it must make up the shortfall by paying players the difference.
Alan from Vernon, CT:
Has Justin Blackmon earned any income since he got suspended from football?
John: I have no idea.
Fred from Naples, FL:
In your opinion will Melvin Gordon, the running back out of Wisconsin, be gone before the Jags pick in the second round? I think he would be a great fit here.
John: Yes, I do think Gordon will be gone by the top of the second round when the Jaguars select. If he's not, I do think he will be pretty tempting for the Jaguars. It won't shock me if the Jaguars go another direction with that selection, but if the right running back is there … yeah, it makes sense.
Tom from Orlando, FL:
Dorial Green-Beckham - do you see Dave taking the risk with No. 3 overall? Also, from a talent perspective, do you think he could have the most talent?
John: I don't see Caldwell drafting Green-Beckham or any other receiver No. 3 overall in this draft. Green-Beckham is talented. Very talented. But I don't know that anyone's putting him as the top receiver or top player on the board.
Gator from the Couch in Gainesville, FL:
Bortles trying to improve? Whatever!!! He'll never put up the numbers No. 15 put up against The Citadel and Kentucky in the NFL!! Try all you want, we know 32 teams just don't want to win. A certain Network will be the highest-rated network ever!!!
John: Go Gators.

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