INDIANAPOLIS – The 2017 NFL Scouting Combine rolls on.
Let's get to it …
Logan from Wichita, KS:
You do realize by writing about how important drafts are and that they make or break your team you are just showing us how everything went wrong for us starting in the early 2000s and got significantly worse since 2010. We have had 1.5 good drafts in last 17 years. That would be last year (for now) and bits and pieces of late picks since 2014. We are never going to win is how I interprete your article.
John: I can't control how you "interprete" what I write, Logan. I can – and often do – point out that free agency is an extraordinarily difficult way to build a roster for obvious reasons that typically get forgotten when the new league year begins. That's what I did in a "View from the O-Zone" that published on jaguars.com Wednesday, and I wrote it because it's a timely issue with free agency fast approaching. As far as "interpreteing" your question …of course the Jaguars haven't drafted well enough. If they had drafted well enough over the last 15 seasons they would have been a lot better during that time. As for taking the story as me saying the Jaguars are "never going to win," no … that's not what the story said. Now, if the Jaguars don't continue to draft as they did in 2014 and 2016 – years in which they in fact drafted pretty well; much better than "bits and pieces" – then obviously they are going to struggle for the long term. The Jaguars have to draft better. That's not open to "interpreteation."
Phil from Woodmere, NY:
Could the Jaguars be planning to move Myles Jack to strong safety and Dante Fowler Jr. to linebacker in order to get Jack's talent on the field and, at the same time, replace Cyprien?
John: I doubt it.
Jessie from Kissimmee, FL:
With Jared Odrick being released, Julius Thomas being traded, and now hearing Davon House is next to be traded/released, the big 2015 signings are gone. Why do you think Caldwell has such a hard time in free agency? I know FA is hit and miss, but we have been all miss for the most part.
John: Caldwell has a hard time in free agency because free agency indeed is hit or miss. He has signed Sen'Derrick Marks, Roy Miller, Prince Amukamara and Malik Jackson as free agents. All of those players have made very positive contributions since signing with the Jaguars. Most of the other players signed as free agents in recent seasons … just OK, at best. Because free agency.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Do the Jags go quarterback at end of first round or top of the second round?
John: I wouldn't rule it out, and it in fact makes a lot of sense considering their circumstance.
Bobby from Sandy, Utah:
I saw that New York just released Darrelle Revis. Do you think he will be someone that the Jaguars look at for free agency? Imagine Revis Island opposite of Ramsey. I like the sound of that. What about you, O-dude?
John: I like the sound of that if it's Revis Island circa 2011 opposite Ramsey. I don't know that it sounds nearly as good if it's Revis Island circa 2016 opposite Ramsey. Revis didn't play well in 2016, which is why the Jets released him. Remember, there are usually reasons teams release players with very familiar names and it's usually not because they're fired up about letting good players leave their organization.
Travis from Analla:
With the Jags trying to make running the ball more of a priority, will that mean more Blake Bortles under center? I always felt that run plays from the shotgun are not as effective. Also, I feel that with Bortles being good at play-action it will help him out in the long run.
John: I don't expect the Jaguars to share many details on the specific offensive changes for 2017 any time soon, but I do expect there to be changes. I do expect one of these changes could be more Bortles under center. If you really want to be physical and really want to establish the run, it's difficult to do that from the shotgun. That's not to say you can't run effectively from the shotgun, but it's not as effective for establishing the play-action or for sticking your chest out and telling your opponent you're physical.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Which of the Jaguars' positions groups don't require rebuilding or acquiring additional depth this offseason? The only position groups that come to my mind as an area where the Jaguars can stand pat are wide receiver and punter. Do you agree that those are the only positions exempt from immediate overhaul, upgrades, or reconfiguration?
John: That's about right, though I don't think linebacker needs a major upheaval as much as a major dose of playing Myles Jack on three downs rather than one or two.
Thrill from the The 'Ville:
The only way to beat an elite quarterback is to have a more elite quarterback or a pass rush to knock him down. The most recent Super Bowl aside, that's how the Giants beat Tom Brady. That's how the Seahawks won, too.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
I saw that Blake has 60 plus turnovers in a little under three full seasons. Wow! Have you noticed anything at all in Brandon Allen to A: think he was worthy of a draft pick, B: can push Blake enough to take over?
John: Brandon Allen was a sixth-round selection who the Jaguars think can develop into at least a solid backup. Was he worthy of that selection? Sure, partly because you don't have to do a whole lot to be "worthy" of a sixth-round selection. Can he push Bortles for the starting position? Anything's possible, but that's not a likely scenario entering the offseason.
Dave from Orlando, FL:
Mr. O - When Dave Caldwell took over as general manager, he began cutting the roster even before fully exploring it. Maybe, the reasoning being, a three-win team doesn't have much talent. In the process of gutting the roster, some of those discarded players went on to great success with other teams. Dave Caldwell would later lament that he may have cut the roster too deep. I fear that Tom Coughlin may now be in the same position. He doesn't have an intimate knowledge of the Jags' roster, yet he's letting some solid contributors walk out the door. In 2016, Johnathan Cyprien was second on the team in tackles (more than Telvin Smith) and Prince Amukamara was fifth. My point, are we again in position to lose more talent than we gain because our decision maker under-appreciates solid contributors on our current roster?
John: Different year, different situation. First, remember: Caldwell is still heavily involved in the Jaguars' personnel decisions, and his knowledge of the roster is as intimate as it gets. Second, a player such as Cyprien is a high-profile free agent, so if he indeed is let go it will be more about whether or not he's worth keeping at the price than a decision to "gut the roster." This is not a massive rebuild on the scale of 2013, and there won't be players released for the sole reason of creating room and time for young players to grow. As for Amukamara, Coughlin was the head coach when the Giants drafted him and he coached him for five seasons. If Amukamara isn't with the Jaguars next season, it won't be because Coughlin doesn't know him as a player.
Eric from Cumberland, MD:
Hey O-Zone, my wife and I have been season-ticket holders from Day One and like the direction we are heading in. One question, I have not heard or seen any news on signing the offensive tackle from Miami. Am I missing something?
John: The Jaguars' trade with the Miami Dolphins for Branden Albert is pending. It cannot become official until March 9, the start of the new league year.
Eric from Red Lake Falls, MN:
John, the No. 4 pick of last year's draft got a contract worth approximately $6 million a year. How much does this weigh into a decision on who a team drafts? If you pick running back or safety at No. 4, you're essentially committing to paying them a top 5 to 10 contract for their position in the NFL.
John: Caldwell actually touched on this on Jaguars.com LIVE Thursday. He pointed out that while such positional concerns once did play into draft-day decision, making that's not nearly as much the case anymore. The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement got rookie salaries under control enough that it's not as much of a concern anymore.
Ryan from Apopka, FL:
What are your thoughts on Mike DiRocco's tweet of a picture of you and Pete Prisco and the tag line stating, "Jacksonville sports media legends?"
John: My first thought is I don't have any idea who this Mike DiRocco is, although people keep emailing me about him. My second thought is if this guy thinks Prisco also is a legend, I can't keep him from tweeting about it.