JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Sean from Oakleaf, FL
John, I get a little frustrated with the Armchair GMs that ping your inbox with the benefit of their deep draft expertise and criticism. Head Coach Urban Meyer's and General Manager Trent Baalke's legacy of success deserves the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. The number of hours, days and weeks invested in this process by these men and their teams and level of dedication and commitment to excellence is beyond most fan's comprehension at this point.
There's much truth in what you say. Still, given the plethora of "experts" and the seemingly 24-hour nature of the annual buildup to the NFL Draft, it's unsurprising that fans and observers enter the draft convinced they know every team need, every fit and every player's strengths and weaknesses better than those making the decisions. Given the speculative nature of the draft, it's possible the opinions of some fans/observers on specific players will prove right over time and that the opinions of some team decision-makers will prove wrong. There's nothing wrong with opinions. What I always find curious is the conviction of some of the louder fans that any selection or group of selections are Great Selections or Horrible Selections. What's curious about this is the teams selecting them don't know. The analysts don't know. The players don't know. People with intimate knowledge of the process don't know. They project. They feel good about the work. But because the draft is about human beings, they don't know – and won't know for at least a year, usually more. But sure … fans know for certain within seconds if selections are good or bad seconds. Because of course they do.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
With a day to let it all settle in – no grades, because grades are silly – what is your personal opinion on this class?
Most of the selections made a lot of sense. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was an obvious selection at No. 1 overall – and because I had said for weeks I thought the Jaguars would try to add explosiveness to the offense early in the draft, running back Travis Etienne made sense at No. 25. The Jaguars want to play man-to-man and need more than two or three front-line corners to do it, so cornerback Tyson Campbell made sense at No. 33. I feel good about the selection of offensive tackle Walker Little at No. 45, and safety Andre Cisco looks like an immediate starter at No. 65. The Jaguars overall went with an approach of selecting players on whom they had very good information through personal knowledge or good contacts at the collegiate level. They went with big-school players with so-called "blue-chip" measurables. They favored production and prototypes. All those factors made sense considering the strange nature of scouting this class with the circumstances around COVID-19. How good is the class? It's great. They drafted a franchise quarterback. Period.
Steve from Nashville, TN
Has Coach Meyer told you yet that you are a plus-2 guy?
Tim from Doboy Island, GA
For a 1-15 team with a ton of weaknesses and a bunch of early round draft picks, doesn't it seem odd that we walked away from this draft thinking we may not see much impact from the majority of these players? Etienne will play a ton. Campbell was a solid college player but is better athlete than football player. Doubtful he'll beat out CJ or Shaq, and his very poor agility tests as well as some scouting reports put into question whether he could successfully play nickel. Little seems like a great boom-or-bust pick, but no one has seen him play since hurting his knee. Seems unlikely he plays this year unless he easily beats out left tackle Cam Robinson/right tackle Jawaan Taylor. And while ACL injury recoveries are much quicker these days, not sure if Cisco will be 100 percent by the beginning of the season. Felt like we'd walk away from this draft knowing four-to-five guys would play a big role for us but may just be Lawrence and Etienne.
The Jaguars walked away from the draft feeling far differently than you. Meyer said after the draft he believe they will get immediate impact from Lawrence, Etienne, Campbell, nose tackle Jay Tufele and Cisco – and that Little will push Taylor and Robinson. Those are the first six selections and all the selections in Rounds 1-4. Those are usually where you're getting immediate impact when you get it.
Steve from Orange Park, FL
KOAF: What's the plan at tight end? I'm not freaking out but am very curious if there is untapped potential in Tyler Davis, the team sees pass catching potential in Luke Farrell, we will likely see a trade, or ....?
Jordan from Mandarin
Outside of the first pick, Walker Little is probably my favorite pick in the draft. He started at Stanford as a LT when he was a freshman, which does not happen. Sure, he could be a bust, but I'll take my chance on o-line over tight end every time.
I like the Little selection, too. He missed all but the first game of the 2019 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He said he was healthy enough to return in 2020 but opted out of that season because of the COVID-19 situation. By the time the 2021 season begins, he will be nearly two years removed from the ACL. That means he should be very close to 100 percent – if not completely 100 percent. When discussing Little late Saturday, Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer talked about Little making pass protection look easy. Watching Little in college and his workout video, he indeed moves easily. It looks like he carries his size very naturally. That's always a good sign for an offensive tackle.
Logan from Wichita, KS
Day 1- did what needed to be done. Day 2- everyone was hungover. Day 3- go some good selections that can possibly contribute now and with development could be good long term. Overall- should be better than 1-16 now, so things are looking up!
Logan is "all in." Sort of.
King Funk, there is something I wonder every year around draft time. Do you know why the NFL Draft is only seven rounds these days? It used to be 17 or more. Did the league explain the reasons each time the number of rounds were reduced?
The most obvious and important reason was to save my sanity. Sitting through seven rounds of an NFL Draft is difficult enough. If drafts were 17 rounds, I undoubtedly would shove ballpoint pens through my eyeballs around Round 15 – after I finished my 13th chocolate chip cookie and my fifth "because-it's-there" turkey wrap. A wider-reaching reason for shortening the draft is that the NFL did it in conjunction with the NFL Players Association. A seven-round draft is better for players than 12 rounds because it gives players who would have been selected in Round 8 or later a choice of teams with which to sign, and therefore enhance that player's chance of going to a good situation where he has a better chance to make the roster.
Nick from Annapolis, MD
_Do teams assign a "best guess" at where they think each team will be drafting next year in preparation for the draft? Obviously at some point it becomes a factor. I would think at least guessing which third of the draft is most likely would be useful preparation? _
Teams analyze as many factors as possible when preparing for a draft. These include not just the talent in a particular draft class and potential strengths and weaknesses of future classes, but potential upcoming free agents for all teams, potential records for all teams and potential future needs for all teams. These obviously are projections and speculation and therefore used to inform decisions as opposed to being overriding factors in decisions.
Steve from Wallingford, CT
O, Man ... I saw the reports and had to run to jump on the computer to make sure my question could go through. UDFA Dylan Moses? Is this the SAME Dylan Moses that had a first round/second round grade for the 2020 draft but decided to return to Alabama? How does someone go from 1st round grade to UDFA if it is? And if it is him... just wow
Moses, a five-star recruit, was an all-Southeastern Conference selection as a freshman and many analysts believe he would be an early selection when he entered the draft. He sustained a serious knee injury in August 2019 and told reporters he played through pain most of that season. He was still projected by some as a second- or third-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, so yeah … if he plays to his previous potential, or even most of it, it could be a really good collegiate free-agent signing. It's certainly worth a try. Stay tuned.
_Steve from Nashville, TN _
Your enthusiasm about not having a seventh-round pick on Day 3 was palpable.
Damned right it was.