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O-Zone: Like-minded folks

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

I've been following the NFL for a long time – and I cannot recall any previous draft where the pundits were so lacking consensus. There are many draft scores out there from the so-called experts – and with regards to the Jaguars, they range from D- to B+. I know everyone has an opinion, but it strikes me as a bit unusual to see such a wide range in draft scores. Any thoughts on why that might be?

The 2022 NFL Draft indeed was strange – for the entire league, and for the Jaguars. It was strange overall because the top of the draft lacked an elite quarterback prospect and it also lacked players who were widely regarded as can't-miss prospects. That made it a difficult draft to analyze, and it made for a lot of varying draft grades. Specific to the Jaguars, many draftniks and analysts didn't understand – or like – the selection of outside linebacker Travon Walker at No. 1 overall and seemed to "knock" the Jaguars' grade down a little because of it. A lot of analysts also appeared to believe the Jaguars didn't address the areas they expected them to address. That was evident in post-draft analysis – and while that can hurt a team's "grade," it has little bearing on the real quality of a team's draft. I guess what I would mainly tell you about draft grades is this: I used to grade drafts when I was with the Florida Times-Union, and I found it the most uncomfortable task of my NFL coverage year. I was being asked by my editors to grade teams I didn't cover – and prospects about whom I knew far less than the teams doing the selecting. By necessity, there was a lot of guesswork. There are a lot of meaningless opinions floated about the NFL. That's OK. The NFL is fun, and there is nothing wrong with a few meaningless opinions floating about. Within that context, NOTHING in the world of NFL opinions is quite so meaningless as draft grades. Enjoy them. Read them. But don't take them as gospel. They ain't that.

Adam from St Johns, FL

Even you said many, many times last year that the Jags would use multiple picks to acquire wide receivers. Hell, everyone thought they would. Now you tell us they don't need any. Give me one reason the Jags fans should believe this year is going to be any different? Same general manager, with mostly the same wide receivers. This crap gets old and you spinning it doesn't help.

I thought the Jaguars would select a wide receiver or two in the 2022 NFL Draft. I was a bit surprised they didn't select one early. Once the draft moved past the second round, I wasn't surprised they didn't select one. I haven't written that the Jaguars "don't need any" wide receivers. Perhaps they do. I have written that I don't believe they believe they need wide receivers, and I have written that the reason they're confident in their offseason moves at receiver is that Head Coach Doug Pederson has had success in the past without "True No. 1 receivers." That's what they've done this offseason and that's the explanation. Calling it spinning doesn't change the answer.

Brett from Canton, MS

Drafting a wide receiver or tight end this year wouldn't have made sense. You have players in each room on the last years of their deals that are either likely moving on after the season (Marvin Jones Jr. and Laquon Treadwell) or trying to earn a big payday (tight end Evan Engram, tight end Dan Arnold, wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr.). You need to see: One, who is worth keeping from that group; two, what impact stable coaching has on the offense as a whole; and three, how quarterback Trevor Lawrence progresses in Year 2 under Pederson and away from the previous regime. Once the season is over and those three questions are answered, then you know whether wide receiver is a priority pick next year.

Brett, meet Alan. Alan, meet Brett.

Jay from So Cal

I am struggling to understand why the Jags did not make more attempts to secure wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. and also attempts to get a more polished and productive wide receiver. I was hoping they would make a play to get Amari Cooper as he was gifted to the Browns for a fifth-round pick. Why not offer a fourth-round draft pick for Amari? I know Pederson has proven success in getting a lot of the offensive playmakers touches catching the ball, but I don't see how the defenses around the league need to specially prepare on defense to stop the Jags' offense. I prefer tried and true receivers as opposed to "potential." It is a bit surprising and annoying to me that the Jags didn't secure much better offensive weapons. We have a few decent ones but there were and are a lot of great talent they passed on. Give quarterback Trevor Lawrence some better help, guys.

Many Jaguars fans and observers indeed are struggling with this. It's a well-worn Jaguars topic this offseason – perhaps the most-well-worn Jaguars topic this offseason. The Jaguars believe the upgrades they made – signing wide receiver Christian Kirk, Engram and wide receiver Zay Jones; the development of Lawrence; Pederson's approach to offense – will make this a better offense. Fans remains skeptical because of high-dollar, high-profile transactions involving bigger names and other teams – and because past Jaguars moves haven't produced success. Stay tuned.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, do you think there's anyone in our undrafted selections that could turn out to be a gem like James Robinson turned out to be?

Probably not, because free-agency gems on the level of Robinson are rare. But keep an eye on wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. from Notre Dame. His resume, potential and skill set could give him a chance to contribute.

Mikhilo from St. Augustine, FL

I see the offseason and draft as a valiant effort to make an incompetent team competent. They gave Trevor some reliable route runners and line protection, then did everything they could do to stiffen up the defense. Hopefully that means we field a competitive team most weeks.

One fer a valiant offseason.

Chris from London, UK

O, Lots of fans seem to hate the draft but I just don't see it myself. I love the two linebackers we took. I possibly wouldn't have drafted two myself, but on individual merit I like them. We were always going to take a running back in the later rounds and we did. The way I see it this draft will depend on how Walker and offensive lineman Luke Fortner work out and nobody – not even Jerrell – knows the answer to that yet!

One fer the draft – and not fer Jerrell.

Mike from Cortland, NY

A competent coaching staff redirects Lawrence into the generational player he was expected to be. The presence of the new defensive additions unleashes Josh Allen's all pro potential. Kirk lives up to his billing. Running back Travis Etienne Jr. provides the dynamic ability that warranted his draft status. None of these things are unlikely to happen. And if they do, the Jags are an above .500 team. Comfortably. The chances everything goes right aren't incredibly high, but they're possible. This could actually happen my friend.

I would say a few more things must happen for the Jaguars to improve as much as you hope. The additions to the defensive interior must make the run game stouter and more reliable. The addition of cornerback Darious Williams must solidify the secondary. Engram must be the playmaker/wrinkle to the offense the team expects. Robinson must return to pre-injury form. But yes … you're No. 1 "must" – the ascension of Lawrence is by far the most crucial element. If he starts to look as special as the team hopes, then possibilities change dramatically. I think the Jaguars might be able to push for .500 this season. I still believe realistically they're a year away from being better than that. Let's hope I'm wrong and they're really good in 2022. We'll see.

Andrew from Somewhere on I-75

Hey O, I'm a big fan of all the content you and other Jaguars media put out; it helps get me through the long work week. That being said, when is Happy hour with HOF Tony and Pete coming back?

Happy Hour with Tony Boselli, Pete Prisco and J.P. Shadrick is a Monday feature during the season.

Tony from Johns Creek, GA

O, it will be intriguing to see how Walker versus Aidan Hutchinson plays out. Some factors tended to be overlooked by us armchair general managers. Hutchinson may very well have more sacks. However, Walker may have more tackles for a loss, more quarterback hurries and ability to drop back into coverage. I believe that overall Walker will be the better player in the long run.

So do the Jaguars.