JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
I've been thinking about this lately. The Jaguars have so many draft picks and two first rounders in next year's draft. Do you think there's a possibility they could use some of that draft capital to move up in this year's draft to take Kyle Pitts? I mean, only about two-to-four draft picks from this year can I see as being true contributors to the team.
You're new to these parts, I see. And that's fine. But a couple of thoughts on your thoughts and questions. First: The Jaguars have one first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, not two. Second, I do not see them being able to trade up for University of Florida tight end Kyle Pitts in the 2021 NFL Draft later this month. To do so would mean moving from No. 25 into the Top 10 – possibly to No. 6 or 7 overall or higher. That could mean having to convince a team in position to select a quarterback to move out of the spot, which would mean giving up incredible draft equity. While tight end is important – and while the Jaguars have been deficient at the position for too long – it's still a relatively low-priority position compared to, say, quarterback or pass rusher or even No. 1 receiver. Pitts is special, but there still is a limit to what you give up to get him. Also: While there is a case to be made that the Jaguars might not need all 11 of their draft selections, I don't know that I agree that only two-to-four draft selections from this year will be contributors. Their first five selections are in the Top 65. If they use all five, all absolutely should be contributors. This roster is not so deep and talented that first, second- or third-round players won't play key roles. Not even close.
Chris from Mandarin
What are your thoughts on the possibility of the team only playing a home game in London during those seasons when the Jaguars play their 17thgame as an away game? This would ensure that they get extra revenue in those years, as well as the years playing the 17thgame at home. Of course, this would mean nine home games in Jacksonville one year, and seven the next on a rotating basis.
I personally am fine with this idea, but it matters not a whit whether I am fine with it. I doubt this will be the Jaguars' approach – primarily because it's out of line with their previous approach. The team likes the idea of a London home game each season because it establishes a consistent presence there – and most significantly, because the revenue from the London home game is critical to the team's local revenue equation. That, as most O-Zone readers know well by know, is key to the team's financial health and therefore its stability in Jacksonville. This doesn't necessarily mean the Jaguars will always play one home game in London, but that would remain my expectation until the team publicly says something different.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, other than "hair in the eyes," do you think there are any other downsides of fans growing their hair long so when the time comes, we can say we have beautiful locks just like our superstar quarterback?
I think this would be "awesome." I probably am in the minority on this, but I still think it.
Andrew from Halifax
Maybe I missed the discussion on Damien Wilson signing with us but I for one am chuffed about it! Is this not a great value signing? Or am I missing something about his game?
The Jaguars signed veteran linebacker Damien Wilson as a free agent last week, and it indeed appears to be a very good value signing. He has started 29 games over the last two seasons, starting the last two Super Bowls for the Kansas City Chiefs. He gives the Jaguars a legitimate option at inside linebacker if Myles Jack and Joe Schobert are unavailable. The signing again shows that the Jaguars' decision-makers believed this free-agency period had to be about laying a base and upgrading the depth/overall talent level of the defense. That was the first step and one they continue to take.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
Michael from Middleburg, FL
Tom not being derogatory, then why even bring up such a thing as a man's hair?
It's April 6 and Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft is 23 days away. It's going to be a long, long three weeks. And two days.
Chaka from Cordele, GA
I know some fans have been intrigued with Trevon Moehrig. But what is your assessment of Jarrod Wilson? Do you think his play warrants a starting position? It seems that he flies under the radar.
Safety is intriguing for the Jaguars in this draft for multiple reasons. First, as you note, Texas Christian safety Trevor Moehrig is projected as the best player at his position in the class – and he is projected by many analysts to be available at No. 25; that makes it a nice potential fit for value, and value is important to Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke. Also intriguing is that while the Jaguars could select safety early, they're far from barren enough at the position that they have to take one in the first or second round. Wilson is a big reason. While it's conceivable the Jaguars could select a safety early to start alongside the newly signed Rayshawn Jenkins, Wilson has started the last two seasons and has been solid and reliable. He indeed flies under the radar, and he's the sort of player you want on your roster: Smart, reliable, usually in good position. It wouldn't be surprising if the Jaguars select a safety, but if they don't, he can play effectively at the position for another season.
Sean from Jacksonville
At least next year there won't be any "Look at who we passed on with our first pick!" Wait. Never mind. There will still be that question.
Jared from O-Town
Hey, John-O, the Renegade! We're less than a month from the 2021 Draft, and my anticipation (and anxiety) grows exponentially as we get closer. Isn't it fair to say we should have a pretty solid take on the specific way Baalke and Head Coach Urban Meyer will approach talent acquisition by the end of that weekend? Past Jaguars front-offices put more value into potential and combine stats, while others moved players based on character and leadership skills. Former Head Coach and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin had a player measurables blueprint that he would rarely deviate from. We've heard Meyer mention that he wants players that play fast, but doesn't that refer more to quick play recognition and reaction than 40 times and cone-drill numbers? Do they take the guy with the higher ceiling but lower floor, or higher floor with more production in college? Will an arm length a half-inch too short pull a productive guy off the board? Lastly, how will current travel restrictions limit the in-person work and background checks that might catch a problematic character flaw? So many questions to be answered the last week of April and it can't come soon enough.
Many questions … I'll venture at least a few answers. Yes, we should have a better idea about how Baalke and Meyer will approach talent acquisition after the draft. My guess from looking at free agency is the duo will take a measured approach with an eye on value and college production. I don't have a feel for how strictly the duo will stick to measurables, but there will be certain traits this group seeks. For example, when Meyer was recently asked how he wants a defensive line to look, he answered "big." The reality is football is a big man's game and a fast man's game … so I expect measurables and attributes in those areas to play a big part in decision-making. As for travel restrictions negatively affecting how teams judge character … yes, teams have had limited contact with prospects this offseason. That was the case last offseason, too. That does reduce the number of times a general manager or head coach can speak and view a player in person. That's not ideal and coaches/personnel people understandably prefer to see players personally. At the same time, much of the character/background work is done by telephone and reviewing player histories. The in-person interview and observation plays a part of the process, but not the most important part.
Sean from Jacksonville
I pray to the football gods that the draft "weekend" starts tomorrow so all the smoke and mirrors along with the billions of prognosticators go back to the depths from which they crawled. Amen.
My good friend David Lamm advised me once to not wish my life away. The draft will be here soon enough. Hallelujah.