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O-Zone: Mental game

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Justin from North Augusta, SC

What's up KOAF, put yourself in the GM's shoes, do you expect us to either trade up or back Thursday night? And to follow up, if we stay at No. 24, what position would you pick? Offensive line, cornerback, tight end and edge. Which player would you take at that position?

I don't expect the Jaguars will trade up in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft because I expect they would like to address offensive line, tight end and cornerback in the draft's first two days. If they trade up in Round 1, it likely would cost either their second- or third-round selection and not having those selections would make it difficult to address all those selections on Days 1 and 2. This is just a theory and could be wrong. Could they trade back in – or out of – Round 1? That's always possibility, but the question with any trade – up or back – is if a team can find a trade partner that makes sense. That's sometimes more difficult than observers realize. I expect the Jaguars will select an offensive lineman or cornerback at No. 24, perhaps either nickel corner Brian Branch of Alabama or an offensive lineman such as O'Cyrus Torrence of Florida or Darnell Wright of Tennessee. Those selections make sense considering the circumstance.

Travis from High Springs

I've read articles recently that have general managers from three or four different teams saying this year's draft is considered weak for players receiving first-round grades – only around 10 to 12 guys. I know there's a lot of misinformation going around at this time of year, but if that is true when the Jaguars pick at No. 24, if the only players left on their board with a first-round grade are positions like running back or inside linebacker, should they just automatically take the player with the first round grade or take the highest rated player at a position of need even if that player has a second-round grade?

This is a good question – and, like so many draft hypotheticals, it's difficult to answer satisfactorily because so much about the draft comes down to the players available at the time of selection. It's also necessary to remember that the idea of "highest-rated" player remaining is a bit of a misconception. Yes, teams rank players in order – but the difference in, say, the 10th player on a board and the 11th is typically small. This is why teams can select for value AND need; the difference in value between certain players is minimal enough that it makes sense to lean toward need when making a specific decision. This perhaps helps explain why the Jaguars at No. 24 in your scenario should take the highest-rated player there that makes the most sense in terms of need. It's unlikely that the difference in value between the players is great enough to make it worth veering away from that approach.

Jess from Glen Carbon, IL

O-Man, that guy from Murray Hill keeps disrespecting you in your Zone. You need to show him that no one comes into your house and disrespects you, and that you are the King of ALL Funk, including the letter P!!!

I am the king of all funk.

Elwood from On a mission from God

Can we stop clamoring for past players? I get the nostalgia and all but typically they were only mediocre to good players on bad Jaguars teams. Let's just be happy that the team is FINALLY relevant and moving in the right direction. In Trent We Trust, Douggie P for President.

You're correct that readers of this column often want the Jaguars to re-sign past players if/when they become available. The most recent example of this has been former Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis. I should note that Lewis was not a mediocre player. He actually played his role quite well – and has done so for a remarkably long time. But the overarching point of your email is correct – that just because a player once played here, or has a familiar name, doesn't make him the right current fit. It doesn't mean fans are wrong for wanting it. It's just not the right time.

Daniel from Jersey City, Nj

O-man, I think all the non-stop gambling ads now so predominantly part of the NFL, and sports overall, will one day remind us of cigarettes ads that used to exist. Will they ever get off my lawn?


Jason from North Pole, AK

You stated that you believe the Jaguars likely could take an offensive lineman in the first round. I know we have discussed University of Florida guard O'Cyrus Torrence. I have seen a lot of other linemen projected in that range. Who are a couple of other names we should have our eye on?

Pretty much any offensive lineman projected in that range who projects as being able to play guard in the short-term and tackle in the long-term.

Nikki from East Hampton, CT

Do you think we make an interesting target for other teams to reach out to who are looking to move up into the first round? With how deep corner and tight end are and outside of our offensive and defensive line needs, how do you see our willingness to entertain such offers? If we did swap our first-round selection for a second-round selection, what additional draft compensation do you think would be likely? A third?

I expect the Jaguars would entertain such offers. The question is: In a draft that's deep at a lot of positions but not necessarily great in many, how many teams will want to trade to No. 24? We'll see.

Jason from Orange Park, FL

Is the Miller Electric Center on track to be ready for Jaguars 2023 Training Camp?


Bill from Hammock, Fl

Zone, there is a lot of speculation about our first-round pick. It's hard to disagree with more pass rush but it seemed, particularly early in the season, that our opponents' receivers ran wide open. Is it better to draft a cornerback or pass rusher to prevent a reoccurrence of this?

It's always better to disrupt one passer quickly than to try to cover a bunch of receivers for a long time. A question becomes quality of player available. If you can get a great pass rusher, you always take him. At No. 24, it's likely that the best secondary player available will be better than the best pass rusher.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

Commissioner Roger Goodell steps to the microphone and reads, "With the 24th pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select Deonte Banks, cornerback, Maryland." That's my pick … and Brian Branch, safety, Alabama as an alternative if Banks is gone. How are you feeling if it goes this way?


Sean from Oakleaf, FL

If the Jaguars stay at pick 24 can you estimate what time Thursday evening, they will be on the clock so I can set my alarm (it is a school night)?

Ten-thirty. Ish.

Nathan from Utah, US

Zone, I'm thinking about The Pride of The Jaguars being a "what number comes next?" math puzzle. So: Tony Boselli - Wayne and Delores Weaver - Fred Taylor - Mark Brunell --- Tom Coughlin - Trevor Lawrence. Period. Yes, I have crowned Lawrence elite, because I've seen his game excel exponentially. Such that this time next year the only debatable aspect of his game will be, whether he's not the best QB in the league. Period. Now, here is where I make my fellow Jaguars fan proud and correct me if I'm wrong - to be honored into The Pride the same week with Coach C. should be great for Jimmy Smith and the fans. Right? 11 years a Jaguar! His career stats/production . . . Jimmy Smith was the best of an era. Right? Then I read his post season stats. Yeah, he must have been the best of his era. Right? Could you put it in words for us fans who missed out on seeing Jimmy play?

I think you're pushing for former Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith to be in the Pride of the Jaguars. He absolutely deserves to be in the Pride – so much so that he in fact is already there. And while he wasn't the best wide receiver of his era, he was behind only Jerry Rice and Randy Moss, which brings us to the words for fans who didn't see Smith player. Only one is needed. Greatness.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

I recently heard New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers say that any man drafted in the first three rounds is athletic enough to be a great NFL player, at which point their success is 100 percent based on individual " mental makeup." How much effort do those that have a say in drafting for NFL teams spend researching and speculating about potential draftees "mental makeup."