JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Daniel from Jacksonville:
So, do we have a thing for drafting receivers with off-field issues? R. Jay Soward, Justin Blackmon. Now, Dede Westbrook. There were value options at defensive line, tight end and quarterback available. First pick so far that I'm questioning the wisdom of Tom Coughlin.
John: Goodness, if you're going to bother listing Soward and Blackmon, why stop short of mentioning Reggie Williams and Matt Jones, too? Look, it's fine to roll out the Jaguars' troubled history at the position every time they draft a wide receiver with off-field issues – and Westbrook's off-field and character concerns are well-documented. But Westbrook has nothing to do with Blackmon, or Soward, or Williams or Jones. He was a second-to-third-round talent available in the fourth round, so in that sense he's absolutely a value selection. He also plays a position where the Jaguars could use an impact, playmaking player. The Jaguars' wide receivers have been productive in recent seasons and the position is in no way a weakness, but there's not an elite player at the position – and outside of Marqise Lee, there's really not a player there whose speed or elusiveness really scares coordinators. Westbrook may be that sort of player. So, is he worth the risk in the fourth round? Certainly.
HJT from the Comments Section:
With that Blair Brown pick, I have officially ended my fandom of this team. We are so clueless. Blake is terrible and we did nothing to replace him.
John: I understand being upset that the Jaguars didn't select Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson in the first round. I disagree with those who believe the Jaguars should have taken him, but I do understand the sentiment. But if you were watching Rounds 3, 4 and 5 of this draft – one that was not considered to have a good quarterback class, even at the top – expecting the Jaguars to take a quarterback who was going to win the starting job … well, no … I don't think I can say I understand that.
Shepherd from St. Augustine, FL:
Great, another guy with serious character issues from the state of Oklahoma. Guess the front office ignored the lessons learned from the last time. Why not an upstanding kid like Nathan Peterman, especially when quarterback could well be a need sooner than we think?
John: You don't judge prospects' character based on their state of origin or the position they play. You judge prospects' character based on research and conversation with the player. Then, you decide if the potential reward is worth the risk. Westbrook was selected in the Fourth Round, and you can tell the round is important here because I capitalized the "F" and the "R." If he doesn't work out, the Jaguars have invested a fourth-round selection. That's a worthwhile risk. In fact, that's about where it's generally OK to take some risks because your odds of getting high-impact there are relatively low. As far as taking Westbrook over Peterman, the reason is simple: they thought Westbrook had a better chance of being a good player for them than Peterman. That's usually the reasoning in the draft.
Paul from Jacksonville:
O-Man, it feels like the Jags the last two years have been able to acquire the top-rated cornerback, linebacker, running back and tackle at the time of the drafts. History may tell a different story but if the Jaguars keep assembling this kind of talent, the roster should eventually be highly regarded right?
Raymond from Jacksonville:
What is Leonard Fournette's number?
John: Fournette will wear No. 27.
Daniel Since Day One:
I find it hard to believe anyone considered Fournette to be their No. 1 choice in the draft. But I'm happy with Nos. 2 and 3. I'm really struggling to understand No. 4. There wasn't a single offensive lineman available in the fourth round who could help us? And a six-foot, 178-pound wide receiver from a small school was the BAP? He may not even make the final roster unless they're expecting him to be on special teams.
John: Dede Westbrook played at the University of Oklahoma and was a unanimous All-America selection, the Biletnikoff Award winner and a Heisman Trophy finalist. He also was considered a second- or third-round selection, so it's far from a reach to think he was the best available player at the time of the selection. There are plenty of reasons to question the selection, the vast majority of which concern his well-documented off-field issues, but the selection is sound from a football standpoint.
Jerry from Hero, FL:
I always thought compensatory draft picks couldn't be traded. This year it seems they were traded left and right, or is it right and left? Anyway was there a previous rule preventing trading compensatory picks?
John: This was the first year teams have been allowed to trade compensatory selections.
Dave from Duval:
We passed on another franchise quarterback – and on top of that, we let our biggest division rival get him. If Watson turns out to be a Top 12 pick it's just another bad decision made by a bad franchise. And twice a year the Texans get to twist the knife more now.
Chris from Goodnight, TX:
No interior offensive linemen? Don't be surprised when the Jaguars average less than four yards per carry next year.
John: I've written about this and spoken about this on the website ad nauseam in the last couple of days, but I'll go over it again because it seems to be getting lost. There were a couple of reasons the Jaguars approached the offensive line the way they did this weekend. The first was that they loved Cam Robinson, and are confident in his ability to eventually be a left-tackle in the NFL. Their plan for now is to have him compete with Branden Albert at left tackle, but I'm guessing Albert eventually arrives in Jacksonville and starts at left tackle next season. If that's the case, I believe Robinson will play guard until such time as Albert leaves and Robinson can move to tackle. That is a perfectly common path for some rookies to the left-tackle position -- and considering Robinson's skill set it's a path that makes perfect sense. As for why the Jaguars didn't draft an interior offensive lineman after Robinson, remember: this was considered a very weak offensive-line draft class. It's not a surprise that the consensus belief within the organization was that a rookie lineman taken outside the top few rounds of this draft couldn't make the offensive line better. The belief was that a sixth- or seventh-round offensive linemen would not make the roster. Debate that all you want, but that was the belief. You can't draft wishing there were players worth taking. You have to draft what's there, and the Jaguars clearly didn't believe what was there after Robinson could help the interior of the line.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
It seems to me that drafting and roster maintenance is at a point where we want it to be. The first two picks will come in and be counted on right away. The rest is special teams, depth and drafting for the future. You don't want to have to count on third- and fourth-round picks to come in and contribute because they rarely make a difference in their rookie season. You should know you are in trouble if you are counting on a mid-to-late fourth-round pick to come in and start or take significant reps.
John: You're correct, and it is a commentary on the state of the roster that what you say generally is true. But I'd advise against considering Westbrook depth. I'd be surprised if he's not contributing fairly quickly as a slot receiver.
Darren from Arlington, TX:
I love my Jaguars but O-man, I'm not happy with the final day of the draft. I'm hopeful that they all succeed and prove me wrong.
John: This is truly not meant as an insult to you or any reader, Darren, but the late rounds of a draft are a mystery to even astute football observers. Personnel people who spend entire years researching and scouting these players don't come anywhere close to knowing all the time which later-round selections will be successful in the league and which ones won't. Considering the difficulty they have of knowing much about the final few rounds of the draft, the idea that readers/observers may or may not like those final rounds isn't very concerning at all.
Chance from Windsor:
What are the odds Chris Ivory gets released now that we drafted Leonard Fournette? I assume T.J. Yeldon will be the third-down change-of-pace back. Plus Ivory fumbles a lot … Que penses-tu?
John: I think the chances are very small that Ivory gets released because the Jaguars selected Leonard Fournette. Ivory is a very capable running back and you could argue he's a good NFL running back. Players do get hurt in the NFL. Why do people feel such a rush to release good players?
O-Zone: Keep him around
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Daniel from Jacksonville: