JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Zac from Austin, TX
I think you asked a good question on Bucky Brooks' The Bucky Brooks Show featuring Bucky Brooks, because I'm afraid we are assuming that Lawrence is going to take a step his second year. But we really don't know that. Doing everything the team can to help that should be high on the list. I don't know what I'm going to feel if he isn't able.
You're referencing the Huddle-Up Podcast, which features myself and J.P. Shadrick and – of course – the much-esteemed, oft-hyped, ultra-promoted NFL/Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks. I did ask Brooks this week about Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, doing so in the context of how accurately we could assess Lawrence based on the weird nature of his rookie season. Brooks said he was more impressed with Lawrence now than he was last offseason because of how handled himself last season, and I couldn't agree more. I don't know if Lawrence will be Hall-of-Fame quarterback. I don't know where he will rank among his peers as he matures. But he absolutely has the skillset to be good. Really good. As important for a quarterback is whether he has the mental makeup, leadership, off-field approach, etc., to handle the most demanding position in sports. He proved himself as a rookie on that front, which gives Lawrence and the Jaguars a chance moving forward.
Steve from Brentwood, TN
JO. Most fans saw Aidan come up empty in the bowl game. I have read his combine numbers were Top 15 for edge rushers going back to 1997. What do the scouts say about his performance against other top O linemen he played against?
Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson is widely considered one of the top two or three prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft, and many analysts project him to the Jaguars No. 1 overall. He indeed registered just four tackles, including one for a loss, in a postseason loss to Georgia – though it's probably unfair to simply dismiss that performance as "coming up empty." Georgia in that game designed its offense to neutralize Hutchinson, rolling the quarterback away from his side and double-teaming/helping on Hutchinson much of the game. Hutchinson was dominant against a very good Ohio State team this past season, and dominant in pretty much every other game, most scouts/analysts believe he is perhaps the safest selection in the draft.
Abel from Westside
Yo, KOAF! Since we now have the best quarterback ever playing for the Jaguars, we should have an offensive line that can protect him well without having to hold so much! Also, we all know that the best offensive tackle tandem in Jaguars history was Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy! Who do you think was the best offensive guard tandem! I'm thinking Chris Naeole and Vince Manuwai!
JT from Palm Coast, FL
Do you enjoy draft season or is it more of an annoyance at this point? The endless mocks leading up to it get tiring for me. Ready to just get to it.
I do enjoy the leadup to the NFL Draft. I enjoy reading about the top prospects, and I like talking to scouts and coaches to hear varying opinions about players. I don't typically dive incredibly deep into the later rounds because it's close-to-impossible to know who the Jaguars will select in Round 6; it's why I pay little attention to seven-round mock drafts. If one-rounders mock drafts are almost all guessing, seven-round mocks are deep into darts-at-a-board territory. But no … the mocks aren't annoying; they're fun and should be taken that way. The payoff is draft weekend, which is one of the more enjoyable weekends of the NFL year. Seeing players realizing their dreams and seeing young people stepping through doors to the next phases of life … that's always cool to see.
Josh from Saint George, GA
Hey, John. Will there be any draft party at the stadium this year?
Yes. It begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 28. More information can be found here.
Alan from Ellington, CT
Now that Cam signed his tender, how long do they have to work out a long-term deal?
Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson indeed signed his franchise tender Wednesday, which means he can play for the Jaguars for the 2022 season on a one-year contract. Teams have until July 15 at 4 p.m. to sign tagged players to long-term contracts.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, are you "Team Hutchinson," "Team Walker" or "Team Someone Else" with our No. 1 pick?
I'm Team Edge Defender, I suppose – and that means I figure the Jaguars should and will select the position No. 1 overall. I guess I'm leaning toward Hutchinson for now because I'm conservative when it comes to the draft, and it feels as if you know what you're getting in Hutchinson. That doesn't mean I'm anti-Travon Walker of Georgia. It doesn't seem you can go wrong with either player.
Chris from London, UK
Morning O, I must say you absolutely shocked me recently when stating we are still far enough away from the draft that the Jags likely don't know who they are selecting?? Surely, unlike us fans who have looked at these prospects for the last month, NFL teams have been scouting them for years? Have numerous reports on all top and mid-tier prospects and since the end of the season surely numerous draft meetings/discussions?? Basically. I'm saying I was dumbfounded that two weeks from the draft, the team with the No. 1 pick wouldn't know who they are selecting!!
Preparation for an NFL Draft is a loooong process that peaks in the final weeks leading to the draft. Teams research, rank, remove players from consideration and set draft boards at a predetermined pace. Part of that process is final meetings in the weeks and days leading to the draft. The Jaguars at this point certainly have a very good idea about the final few players they are considering. It's possible – and even likely – Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke has a very good idea the likely identity of the selection. But due diligence and final discussions with all top decision-makers matter here. Do they know for sure? Perhaps, and I expect they will know by sometime next week. That doesn't mean anyone else will know. Certainly not people outside the organization. And that's OK. Where would the fun be the next two weeks if we all knew?
Bill from Pointe Vedra
When did Travis Walker become a great pass rusher? When did Chaisson become any kind of pass rusher? I still remember J J Watts terrorizing poor Luke Joeckel, who looked like he would rather stay in the huddle than to try to block Watts. If Aiden Hutchinson has any chance of being the next J J, his brother, or Myles Garrett, he should be the pick.
I don't know who Travis Walker is. Does he live in Pointe Vedra?
Van from Abingdon, VA
I've heard you state that you believe wide receiver is the most likely position to be drafted at No. 33, and I felt the same before center Brandon Linder hung up his cleats. Do you now think an interior offensive lineman may be in play at that spot? Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum looks to me like a guy that you can't pass if he is on the board at 33. He looks like a guy worth a jump up a few spots to get. I know we are thin on playmakers at wide receiver and I would love to get a wide receiver that can stretch the field, but I'm more worried protecting Lawrence and building an offensive line that can improve the ground game, which also helps him. If Linderbaum is there at 33, do you pick him, or go for a wide receiver?
Good question. I still believe wide receiver is the most likely selection at No. 33. If Linderbaum is on the board there, I would be a lot less sure.
Alan from Ellington, CT
With all the ref comments and complaints, do people not remember how terrible the rental refs were a few years ago when the refs and the NFL were in a disagreement over money. You can criticize a few missed calls, but these refs are light years ahead of any replacement options.
Justin from Jax
Hey, Zone. The talk about refs here in the O-Zone got me thinking. The NFL is worth billions upon billions. Why not pay the refs a little better? I'm not sure exactly the wages, but I do remember seeing numbers a while back and thinking, "Huh, not as much as I thought." Also, while we're at it, give the Cheerleaders a bigger slice of that pie. Oh … and Senior writers, too. Nudge, nudge, wink.
If you looked at NFL officials' wages and thought, "Huh, not as much as I thought," you don't need to look at a senior writer's wages.