O-Zone: Heavy load

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Keith from Washington, DC

O-Man, great coverage from you guys during the combine … lots of info to digest! Have you noticed certain draft tendencies of General Manager Dave Caldwell? I notice every year he is pretty open about the position he is keying on but is ultimately reserved on the player he likes.

It’s often easy to see in retrospect where Caldwell was focusing in a particular draft. That’s attributable at least in part to the Jaguars having had some obvious needs entering some of his drafts. He favors big schools, particularly in the first round, and his history is he doesn’t trade much in Round 1. What does Caldwell’s draft history tell us about the Jaguars’ possible approach for this year’s draft? Not much. But you’re right that he is comparatively transparent about team needs – and he discussed tight end as an area of need during the recent 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. Caldwell as usual – and as expected – offered few specifics, but said the position is talented at the top of the draft and deep throughout. I’m guessing the Jaguars look at that position sometime during the first two days of the 2019 NFL Draft in April.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

Safety Tashaun Gibson and a fourth- or fifth-round draft choice for Josh Rosen.

Trade machine!!!!!

Scott from Medford, NJ

You’re right, John. Head Coach Doug Marrone saying he wanted his quarterback ahead of learning curve and NFL Media analyst Charley Casserly's report that Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was awful on the interviews at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine equals no Murray to the Jaguars. Did you hear those rumblings in Indy before you made your prediction?

I didn’t read much into Marrone saying at the combine that he liked his quarterbacks ahead of the learning curve; I got the idea that Marrone was answering in a general philosophical sense more than he was trying to hint about the team’s current direction – and being ahead of the learning curve is pretty much what every coach wants from every quarterback. I did hear those rumblings about Murray in Indianapolis well before Casserly’s report, but I’ve said for some time I have a hard time imagining the Jaguars taking Murray. He’s a 5-feet-10 quarterback who appears naturally of slight build. While he has many strengths, it’s just a big leap of faith to think he will transition easily to the NFL. If he indeed struggled in interviews – especially when it comes to football details – that will only make it more difficult. Some team nevertheless will take a chance on him, and it sounds as if that team will be the Arizona Cardinals at No. 1 overall. I just can’t see that team being the Jaguars regardless of the nature of “combine rumblings.”

Zac from Gainesville, FL

Let’s assume we get Nick Foles in free agency. It seems more likely we go offensive line in Round One than tight end. Would you prefer a pass blocker at left tackle, such as Andre Dillard of Washington State, and move Cam Robinson to the right side – or draft a guy with the flexibility to play inside or outside, such as Jonah Williams of Alabama or Jawaan Taylor of Florida?

I prefer tackle Taylor right now because he appears to be the best offensive lineman in the draft. He also would fit naturally on the right side, which – if the Jaguars part ways with right tackle Jermey Parnell – also would fill a position of need.

Bryan from Rip City

Yo Funk! Let’s talk anything but quarterbacks ... so, linebackers: What I saw from Myles Jack last season was a player playing reactive football, waiting for the play to come to him. Is that what you saw? He seemed to not take the initiative and drive to the football. Can that be fixed and where are we headed at the position?

I saw a player in Jack last season who was in his first full season at a position who should naturally improve – though I didn’t see a player who was nearly as “reactive” as your question indicates. I expect Jack to start in the middle and Telvin Smith to start on the weak side next season. Remember: While people want to look for reasons the Jaguars’ defense “wasn’t as good last season” as the season before, the Jaguars’ defense was in fact very good last season. The biggest difference between 2017 and 2018 was that the Jaguars didn’t lead nearly as often – and that made it more difficult to force sacks and game-changing turnovers. You’re not going to hold teams to single digits week in and week out in the NFL in this era. This defense is fine. Jack is fine, too – and he should get better.

Paul from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

So, if we are the only legitimate suitor for Foles ... why in the name of Rocketships would we start bids at $18-$21 million? If you’re the only dog in the race ... name a price to win it. Just wondering???

I don’t know what the Jaguars’ starting price will be for Foles. I do know that if you start too low you risk he and his agent calling around trying to get more teams interested – and the lower the starting price, the better chance they’ll find what they’re seeking.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Foles is not elite but he has shown at times he can play well when the game is on the line. The Jags had many games with Blake Bortles where a first down or two – or a drive for a field goal in the fourth quarter – could have sealed a victory. At least Foles would give them a chance to improve there.

Fair.

Bill from Jacksonville

I’d rather see the Jaguars go 6-10 next year with a rookie quarterback than 9-7 with a Nick Foles. What does that say about me as a fan? Thanks! Go Jags!

It says your focus is on the long-term rather than the short-term, and it certainly implies that you don’t believe that Foles along with the current roster – and a couple of tweaks – is capable of big things in 2019. It’s understandable you feel that way. If the Jaguars indeed sign Foles, it’s evident they believe differently.

A.J. from Pensacola, FL

Which would you rather do, pay Nick Foles $18 million-to-$20 million per year for three years, or trade picks No. 7 and 98 for Rosen?

I would rather pay Foles in your scenario because I think giving up the No. 7 overall selection right now is too much to give up for Rosen.

Dave from Duuval

Dear O-Zone, could it be that the Jaguars are the lone team pursuing Foles because as an everyday NFL quarterback he is as average as the day is long? If I were Tom and Dave I would try to acquire a new franchise quarterback in Round One of the Draft. I believe the Jaguars will have a shot at one of four quarterbacks: Murray or Dwayne Haskins via the draft and Rosen or Derek Carr via trade if Arizona or Oakland make a move. I would try to get one of the four. During this offseason I would sign a relatively inexpensive veteran quarterback like Tyrol Taylor as an insurance policy.

Hey … one fer Tyrol.

Antwaun from Nashville, TN

Cut Moncrief and Greene. Draft D.K. Metcalf! Metcalf, DJ Chark on the outside with Dede Westbrook in the slot!

Wide receivers Donte Moncrief and Rashad Greene Sr. are free agents and won’t return to the Jaguars. I would be surprised if the Jaguars selected Mississippi wide receiver D.K. Metcalf at No. 7 overall because I believe the Jaguars will go offensive line or tight end in the Top 10. Also, as respect draft analyst Tony Pauline noted to us on Jaguars Today recently, Metcalf struggles as a route runner and with his hands at times. He feels to me like a player with a high ceiling who also has a big chance of being a bust. I don’t see the Jaguars being interested in the Top 10.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Where on the site can I find the entire 2019 Draft order for the Jaguars? How many picks do they have and where are they?

The Jaguars have seven selections in the 2019 NFL Draft: Round 1 (No. 7 overall), Round 2 (No. 38 overall), Round 3 (No. 69 overall), Round 3 (No. 98 overall via the Los Angeles Rams), Round 4 (No. 109 overall), Round 6 (No. 178 overall) and Round 7 (No. 236 overall via trade with Baltimore Ravens).

Red from the O-Zone Comments Section

Do these Bortles supporters ever watch other NFL football games? Bortles after five seasons is still not even an average NFL quarterback. Why anyone would think it's not time to move on I just can't fathom. Are they just that emotionally attached to him?

I guess not everybody’s as smart as you, Red. May your burden of intellectual leadership someday be eased.

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