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O-Zone: Gym rat

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Levi from Coeur d'Alene, ID

Fill in the blank. With Trevor at the helm and Doug running the show, if the Jaguars are not competing for a Super Bowl by_, then what they have put together is considered a failure and it's time to start over again._

I'm not as big on considering things failures and issuing "drop-dead" deadlines as some people, but I understand the question – and Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Head Coach Doug Pederson are indeed the key figures of this new era. I would expect the Jaguars to improve this season, to contend for the postseason in 2023 and to make the postseason in 2024. I would expect them to be in the conversation as a top team after that, so if that's competing for the Super Bowl then I guess your answer would be "three or four seasons." I don't know the magic victory total or postseason performance to "start over," or what level of playoff success will prevent "failure," but that's the general trajectory of what might be expected.

Sean from Wellington, FL

Maybe it is because I am not in the local media market, or because I own a single social media account ... but why haven't we (I?) heard of Jags players participating in the off-the-field team building exercises that so many quarterbacks and vets around the league conduct annually? I remember seeing a pic of Trevor tossing the rock with DJ [Chark Jr.] a month or two ago, but that clearly didn't cause the front office to offer DJ a deal he was willing to accept. Am I just not plugged in, or does it seem like we are missing those opportunities for Trevor and the rest of the crew to get acquainted outside of our facilities with our new acquisitions?

Not everything in life is tweeted or posted on Instagram. Lawrence has worked some with receivers this offseason. He will work a lot more with receivers and running backs – and indeed, the entire offense – in the upcoming offseason program and in training camp.

Andrew from Halifax

Samuel wouldn't look too bad in teal. Does it look like we have the cap space for it?

I received the expected influx of Deebo Samuel questions Wednesday after it was reported that the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver wants to be traded. I almost always consider trades a surprise because they're very difficult to predict and usually happen without notice. The Jaguars could make such a move work with the salary cap because teams can typically make these moves work unless they're extraordinarily tight against the cap. One issue on this is compensation; a team acquiring Samuel would have to not only pay Samuel but give up equity in a trade. There's also the matter of whether the 49ers indeed want to trade Samuel. I personally like the idea of such a trade because I like Samuel as a player. I have no sense that the Jaguars would pursue it, or if the 49ers even will consider trading Samuel.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

From all that you gather, is there any chance we take someone not mentioned or thought of with the first overall pick? Genuinely curious because this draft may be strong with overall talent, but there is not a clearcut number one.

I expect the Jaguars to select defensive end Aidan Hutchinson No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. If that's not the selection, I expect it to be Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker. Or one of two offensive linemen – Evan Neal of Alabama or Ickey Ekwonu of North Carolina State. I would be surprised if it's not one of those four. Is there a chance it could be someone else? Sure, there's always a chance.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

I'm guessing the idiots that say Hutchinson can't be a good NFL edge because he didn't get a sack against Georgia are the same idiots that think the practice squad should be starting.

Fans gonna fan. It's what they do.

Michael from Arlington, TX

For me, the No. 1 pick comes down to what's going to make the team better overall. That leads me away from offensive line to defense. Then the choice comes down to are you better with another edge rusher to complement Josh Allen or do you want more push inside so that they can't help out against Josh Allen?

I expect the choice to come down to who the Jaguars believe has the best chance to be a disruptive presence up front. I expect "safeness" to play a role because you want to make darned sure the player you choose No. 1 overall has a high percentage chance of being really good for a long time. Hutchinson feels like that player. We're a week from the draft. We'll see if that feeling holds.

James from Jacksonville

It seems that Jordan Davis of Georgia should be the pick if you go by athleticism. Plus, he seems like a great young man. His 40 is 4.78, broad jump is equal or better to Travon Walker or Aidan Hutchinson and his 10-yard split is only 0.07 sec slower than Hutch, but he weighs 50 pounds more. His agility is amazing. Perhaps no one is talking about him hoping he falls.

Davis probably would be the selection if you go solely by athleticism. Perception and annual buzz around the Scouting Combine to the contrary, most – if not all – NFL teams do not judge or draft players solely by athleticism.

Marcus from Jacksonville

We often hear draft speculation based on what people from other teams are supposedly saying. I'm thinking specifically of the meteoric rise of Travon Walker in recent weeks and other teams saying that they would possibly take him No. 1 if they had the pick. My question is, how much of that comes from the fact that they don't have the pick, meaning there's no risk involved? It's easy to say you'd take a big risk with the first pick when you don't have the first pick, but how many of those teams would really take that swing if given the opportunity? And, with that, does that sort of chatter actually affect how high someone is drafted, or does it just change the mock drafts?

Pre-draft chatter comes from comes from scouts and general managers around the NFL talking to each other. And talking to the media. And it comes from media. And it comes from Twitter. And one source influences another. And so on. And so on. Such chatter mostly affects mock drafts and Twitter buzz. I can't say it never influences a player's draft position. Human nature says teams at times take a player – or trade up for a player – if they're hearing other teams like him. But pre-draft chatter and buzz affects pre-draft chatter and buzz more than actual selections.

Claudio from Barcelona, Spain

Hello. John! Last season, on a team always trailing, our Josh Allen got 7.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. He's the Trevor Lawrence of our defense and needs more help on the pass rush. Hutchinson has the tool to be productive on the NFL. But if Hutchinson only have a seven-sack rookie season (a little disappointing), he'll make it easier for Allen to get over 12 sacks, probably more. Allen deserves better than that one sack from K'Lavon Chaisson. With a second very good defensive end, the forward leap of Jaguars' defense will be huge. Help that man.

So, one fer Allen and another fer Hutchinson …


Thanks, John, for sharing that Jim Mora quote. I'd actually never seen that before. What I basically understood him to say is that anyone observing a play who was not aware of the offensive play call or the defensive scheme call really would have no way of knowing which players executed their assignments and which didn't, how well or poorly they executed them, how well the play actually worked, etc. I wonder if PFF talks to all the 32 coaching staffs when determining their grades.

You're referencing a quote from former Indianapolis Colts/New Orleans Saints Head Coach Jim Mora for which I provided a link in a recent O-Zone. Mora, famous for multiple press-conference rants with the Colts and Saints, indeed was colorfully making the point that while media is often quick to judge, assess – and criticize – the reality is it is very difficult to understand in detail why something goes right or wrong on a given play. And you're right that the reason for this is because you must know details of play calls, assignments, etc., to truly know. That doesn't stop we observers from our quick observations, though. And the beat goes on.

Daniel from Jax

The gym Maura quote should be at the top of the ozone every day until the season starts! Love it!

Whenever you can quote Gym Maura, you do it. I've always said that.