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O-Zone: Good vibes

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

We're less than two weeks from the NFL Draft. I guess I'm excited. This already feels like the dead zone. What gives?

What "gives" essentially is the same thing that has "given" since the beginning of the Jaguars' 2023 offseason – and that's that when a team wins in the NFL, and when it starts working for the long-term, offseasons aren't overly exciting. Teams that win typically select late in the NFL Draft, which means draft analysis is very vague and not overly entertaining. Teams that work toward the long-term typically do little in unrestricted free agency, which makes the March beginning of the league year also sort of "meh." The Jaguars had a lot of heady, exciting, newsy offseasons over the last decade or so – so many that it came to feel like the norm. They also have selected in the Top 10 in enough drafts that that sort of felt like the norm. If things go as expected for the Jaguars – i.e., if quarterback Trevor Lawrence develops and the team maintains a solid-to-good core around him – this sort of offseason could be the norm around here for a while. And good for the Jaguars if that's the case.

P Funk from Murray Hill

How do the combine drills for offensive linemen translate to NFL attributes?

Offensive linemen perform most of the same drills as most positions at the NFL Scouting Combine – 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle and three-cone. They do not perform the 60-yard shuttle, and their 10- and 20-yard splits are – as is the case at all positions – taken from their 40-yard dash. Offensive linemen also perform drills specific to their position. The 20-yard shuttle is typically considered very important for offensive linemen. The other drills are like any drill for any position at the combine in that they are best taken as a part of an overall process. If a player performs particularly well or poorly in a specific drill, teams typically respond to that performance by checking that attribute against what the player has done on film. The combine isn't meant to be a final statement on a player, and smart teams don't use it that way – for offensive line or any other position.

Sal from Austin

Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker declared for the draft after only his junior year, and still had a good rookie season as a pro. I'm looking forward to the jump his career makes in Year Two.

I expect he feels the same way.

Adam from Allentown, PA

I never understood this whole "we paid this player to play position 'x' so we won't have him play 'y.' " Well, what if the team is better if he plays something different? Can you explain it to me? And if you use small words, it would be appreciated. I know you get that.

I'm not sure this happens as often as observers believe, though it theoretically would mostly happen on the offensive and defensive line – with teams perhaps not wanting to move a highly-paid left tackle to guard or a pass rusher to the interior. The reason a team might do this is wanting to avoid the perception of having made a mistake in paying a certain player a high salary, or there might be resistance from the player.

Mario from West Kelowna, BC

Mr. O-Zone, it feels as if the percentage of players requesting (sometimes even demanding) their teams to be traded to another team is greater nowadays as compared to maybe a decade ago. Do you also feel this way? And if so, what do you think this can be attributed to?

This does seem to happen more now than in the past. People can want what they want, and that goes for NFL players. Players therefore have every right to request (or even demand) whatever they want. I'm generally not a fan of the move because NFL players have the right to play out their contracts and become unrestricted free agents – and get paid handsomely by a pursuing team. The exception to this is players who receive the franchise tags from their teams, in which case they get paid handsomely by a team not as much of their choice. Either way, the old-school football guy in me doesn't love the trend. The old-school football guy in me thinks teams should respond to these requests by saying "No Thank You" more often than they do. The old-school football guy in me doesn't expect this to be the case. Why does it happen a lot? My theory is it's because players have demanded these things and teams have acquiesced. I have to go now. There are kids on the lawn. Again.

Kevin from Kingsland, GA

As you say John, fans are gonna fan. Trevor was a bust, until he wasn't. Travon was the wrong pick. Jags should go back to a 4-3. Blah, blah,blah. Last year was an experiment. A game plan was implemented, they played it and then they earned from it. The games in the first half of the season showed a featured receiver, based on film study, I would guess. The process showed TL that he could trust the coaches to call a play and scheme the receivers open. In the second half of the season, TL looked more confident and it showed. Defense was more unsettled, with a new DC. They did some experimenting on defense last year too. Press coverage was a bust, but when they went to more of a zone, they were better. Tyson Campbell is still not good in press coverage, especially on deep routes. He looks like he is fighting off bees. The other outside corner was probably worse. The ability to cover anyone over the middle was an obvious issue and is directly tied to being able to get off the field on third down. It can be argued that better coverage in the middle or in general would turn a lot of the pressures into sacks. Finally, Travon Walker. I liked the pick. I still do. He was a 21-year old kid playing at 275. With diet, proper training, and maturity, he will be bigger this year. If he develops some hand work, he will be in a similar frame as Richard Dent. If you give me a 280-295 pound edge rusher who can play up or down, I am good with that. If you want to bounce in and out of 4-3 or 3-4, wouldn't you want one of these? Further, if you can put a Devin LLoyd on his hip in obvious passing situations, how cool would that be? It would be really cool if they could find a safety, linebacker hyrbrid who could play as a nickel. Oh wait, they drafted Muma. This could give them the ability to be multiple in formation, dictate to an offense and give themselves some opportunities. If the offense scores like they should, they could have some fun. We could, too.

Can you repeat the question?

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - The level of talent and difficulty for Foye Olulokon to get the most tackles in the NFL two years in a row can't be understated. Do you know if this has happened any with other players? It just seems studworthy.

Tackles aren't an official NFL statistic, but according to Pro Football Reference, three players led the NFL in tackles in consecutive season before Foye Oluokun did it the past two seasons. They were: Clay Matthews of the Cleveland Browns (1978-1979), Kyle Clifton of the New York Jets (1985-1986) and Jesse Tuggle of the Atlanta Falcons (1990-1991-1992). Oluokun is the first player to lead the league in tackles playing for two different teams, having played for the Falcons in 2021 before signing with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in the 2022 offseason.

Jason from Duval

In regards to pass rusher, is K. Chassion realistically done?

The Jaguars selected outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson No. 20 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. He is entering the final year of his rookie contract. I expect him to be on the roster through that contract, which will give him a chance in 2023 to be a factor in the Jaguars' defensive front rotation. Can he develop into a factor as a pass rusher? It would be unusual in his fourth season given his production thus far. Stay tuned, I suppose.

Dave from Chorley, UK

Loving the footage of Trev and Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley practicing along with other of the receiving team practicing during the offseason. Don't think have seen footage of our previous quarterbacks doing this. Gives off such a different vibe of the franchise, it's a vibe of dedication to the game, team and each other. Head Coach Doug Pederson and Trevor are our leaders and it's looks like everyone is all in. Love to see it. GO JAGS

Dave – and everyone else, evidently – is all in.