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O-Zone: Hiring spree

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jonathan from Section 215:
So which of these young, soon-to-be rookies has made the biggest impact on you so far personality-wise? I've enjoyed the video interviews on the website and have to say I'm favoring Jalen Ramsey ... The Culligan girl was included in his video. Bonus points.
John: You're talking about the many, many – many – videos currently on featuring interviews with draft prospects visiting EverBank Field this week. While the videos are undoubtedly cool, I learned long ago to not put too much stock into first impressions when assessing a player's personality. A first impression simply has little to do with how a player's career may turn out, or even how the player might really be as a person. I remember the Jaguars drafting a player in the late 1990s who upon first impression seemed shy and reserved. He was uncomfortable around cameras, and only marginally more comfortable talking to people on one on one. He certainly wasn't brash, and in a two-minute meeting, he wasn't going to impress you with his boldness, his attitude or his demeanor. As it turned out, Fred Taylor was a pretty good player – and a better person.
Chuck from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Doesn't Greg Hardy solve a lot of our pass-rush concerns? If he displays poor character or becomes a poor teammate, he can be benched or dropped. The risk-reward seems worth it with no proven outside player to rush the quarterback.
John: Does it really?
Mark from Jacksonville:
I've heard some rumors about the Jags possibly trading the No. 5 pick to the Rams for the No. 15 pick and both of their second-round picks. Reggie Ragland is a possibility there. How well does he compare to the linebackers we have and what other options at 15 could there be?
John: This is an idea Hays Carylon of the Florida Times-Union has floated as a possibility. I mention this not to discount the quality of the idea as much as to point out that Carylon floating it is not the same as it being a possibility. As far as Ragland being a possibility at No. 15 … sure, it makes some sense. He is a middle linebacker who eventually could be a replacement for Paul Posluszny. Other options there could include players such as defensive end Noah Spence of Eastern Kentucky, cornerback Eli Apple of Ohio State of defensive end Kevin Dodd of Clemson.
Mike from Des Moines, IA:
There is a reason we don't select punters and kickers before a certain point. When the Raiders selected Sebastian Janikowski in the first round, Shaun Alexander was still available. Neil Rackers was a kicker selected with the 169th selection in the sixth round. Rackers retired in 2012 with 1,164 total points. During the same period, Janikowski scored 1,271 total points. They gave up too much to get something they could have gotten much cheaper.
John: I theoretically agree, though Janikowski's longevity, leg strength and consistency makes it hard to argue that the Raiders made a mistake selecting him in the first round. And although I'm not going to bang the table about the merits of kickers in the first round, Janikowski's leg strength made him a slightly different sort of prospect than your normal kicker. But whatever … Did the Raiders give up too much to draft him? Probably. Would I have done it? Or would most general managers agree with it? No, on both counts. Still, is it fair to call a player who has been as good for as long as Janikowski a draft mistake? Probably not.
Allen from Section 150:
Reading WAAAAY too much into it, but Joey Bosa was the only prospect in Jags gear on the visit videos. Foreshadowing?
John: No.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
Crazy idea/question … Say we play the Texans in London. What's to stop them from scheduling the "away" Houston-versus-Jaguars the next week in London as well? Would the market hold the same two teams playing back-to-back? It would save on the "wear and tear," and any advantage Jacksonville gets from staying over for an extra week. I mean, logistically it would make sense … wouldn't it?
John: It would make some sense on one level, but this would be a hard sell to the teams involved. NFL teams never play regular-season games back-to-back. It may be incorrect to say it would never happen, and I'm hard-pressed to think of an airtight reason why it would be a horrible thing, but I'd be surprised if the league scheduled teams to play one another on consecutive weeks.
Donny from Heathrow, FL:
You're too tolerant allowing "fans gonna fan." Fanning out of ignorance becomes tired, boring reading. A few facts. One, about a third of NFL starting centers initially played guard in college or the NFL … it's a very common position switch. Two, Luke Joeckel is an above-average left tackle and better than about half of NFL left tackles. Too many judge him by comparing his play to the left tackle on the teams the Jags played this year and our Leos sucked. He'll keep his starting position by winning it fairly, but you'll still have "fans" whining about it. Three, pass rush is all about making the quarterback uncomfortable and moving him off of his spot; sacks are a bonus. It's just as effective – maybe more so – to accomplish that up the middle than from the edge … be happy that we didn't overpay for Vernon. OK, I feel better now!
John: Yeah, but!! But!! But!! … OK.
Paul from Jacksonville:
John, the Jags have drafted in the Top 10 for the last decade, they had a ton of money to spend and did so ... but the concern I have is after years of high picks and spending where do the Jags have a Top 5-10 player at any position? The issue with a player like Joeckel isn't will he be the next Tony B; it's that he was drafted to be a top level player and now he's in competition to keep his job. I'm not even close to thinking Caldwell has done a good job drafting, but maybe I'm wrong.
John: I suppose it's fitting that this question follows Donny's diatribe about fans fanning. There's little doubt that missing in the Top 10 has been a major reason for subpar records in recent seasons, and there's little doubt that the drafts overall have been a problem. But when you veer into blaming Caldwell for the entire decade and ignore the drafting of Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, Brandon Linder, Telvin Smith, Aaron Colvin and perhaps Dante Fowler Jr., T.J. Yeldon and A.J. Cann …
Steve from Nashville, TN:
If Dante Fowler Jr. waited a year and declared for this year's draft do you think he would be in the Top Five discussion?
John: If he were healthy, absolutely.
Dave from Orange Park, FL:
Chiming in on the London issue … I have no problem with the Jags playing in London every year; just don't take away a division game! Our division rivals are often our best home games, and while playing in London may be a "home" game to the league and a "home" game to the Jaguars' pocketbook, it's not a "home" game to the 55,000-plus ticket holders that can't afford to travel overseas! Thanks for letting me rant.
John: Yeah, well … the Jaguars are playing the Colts in London next season, and my sense is fans are split on this issue. Some hate the idea of losing an AFC South game; others hate the idea of losing a game against a non-division opponent such as, say, Green Bay. Not everyone's going to be pleased on this issue, but I get no sense that division games will be off-limits for a London assignment moving forward.
Ivan from Hollywood:
Just out of curiosity, after the postseason activity, how many players are under contract? Does this include players on the practice squad?
John: The Jaguars currently have 74 players under contract. There is no offseason practice squad.
Austin from Jacksonville:
Will we see more of Marqise Lee this year?
John: If he can be healthy throughout the offseason and training camp, something he has not done the last two offseasons and training camps, yes.
Brian from Santa Rosa Beach, FL:
Do you think Shad Khan has thought about giving the Jags to Tim Tebow? He could also change the name to the Jacksonville Tebows. Think about the merchandise sales. We would receive a whopping 1/32 of all those dollars. #championship
John: Shad Khan … hire this man!!!
Rob from Pittsburgh, PA:
John, I don't get it with the Jags brass. Why don't they just badmouth all their players that may need to get upgraded or replaced or even those who are out of favor with fans? I mean, it's not like it could have any negative impact on the team in the locker room, on the field of play, or among potential future acquisitions around the league, right? Riiiiiiiight...
John: Shad Khan … hire this man!!!

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