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O-Zone: Minor difference

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jason from North Pole, AK

Do you think the NFL would ever consider doing a slow draft? For example, set the clock to 24 hours so Round 1 takes place over 32 days. That's an extreme example, but it might allow for more draft trades since teams have more time to field calls. It could also allow the NFL to dominate the news cycle for an entire month. Do you think this would lead to higher ratings?

I can't imagine anything close to your scenario – and it's difficult to express how passionately and absolutely I hope this doesn't happen. The NFL Draft has morphed a couple of times since I covered my first in 1995. That draft was held Saturday and Sunday, beginning around noon or late morning each day. The league since has added a day and adjusted the schedule so that the first two days of the draft completely ruin my otherwise jam-packed Thursday and Friday nights. Seriously, though – I can't imagine a scenario in which individual rounds were held over multiple days. That would take a lot of the drama and urgency away – and it would make for really boring viewing. Besides, the NFL already dominates the news cycle pretty much around the calendar. The league doesn't need to expand the draft to do that.

John from Jacksonville

What are your thoughts on the notion Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer may not succeed as an NFL coach because he's not accustomed to losing? Couldn't the same thing be said about Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence? Neither of them has lost very much.

My thoughts are this is a storyline to watch. Meyer indeed struggled with losing as a college head coach enough that many people who covered him at that level wonder how he will respond in a league where a successful season could include five or six losses. I spoke to former University of Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley – who worked with Meyer at Florida – about this recently, and he believes Meyer will adapt to the circumstances in the NFL. Foley's theory is that Meyer's goal is to win championships and that he will understand that winning a championship in the NFL means successfully navigating losses on a bit more of an even keel than is necessary in college. I suppose the same could be said about Lawrence. But the same can be said of a lot of NFL quarterbacks. Most of the great ones lose more in the NFL than they did in college.

TLJones from Summerville

Is Keenan McCardell no longer with the team? If not, has he landed somewhere else?

Keenan McCardell, the Jaguars' wide receivers coach the last four seasons, is now the wide receivers coach for the Minnesota Vikings.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

I like the teal, but really, bro … they could wear pink and green stripes if they put quality players on the field who are well-coached and well-prepared. Winning trumps uniforms. Case in point: the Pittsburgh Steelers throwback bumblebee jerseys.


Logan from Saskatoon, Canada

The draft is about value-based drafting for the future. Even if you have a good player at a position, draft the best players and build jars on the shelf. Do you think Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke and Meyer see it this way? Another consideration is positional value - so drafting players in the secondary, edge and offensive line and wide receiver as they are the positions which impact the outcome most significantly. Then filling short-term team needs with free agents. Agree?

The NFL Draft absolutely is about value-based drafting for the future. Ideally. And most teams enter the draft focusing on drafting for value and the future as overriding objectives. Teams want to skew the draft board toward that – and when the draft is over, general managers and coaches want to envision a better roster with premium positions selected with the hope that those premium-position players will become core pieces at high-value positions moving forward. And yes … general managers ideally would draft in a vacuum without regard to position or need and strictly drafted based on the best available player. The reality is that the draft more often than not is a mix of need and value. For example: if an outside linebacker were the highest-rated player on the board every time a team selected and the team went strictly with selecting the highest-rated player, the team would exit the draft with a lot of good linebackers – but it wouldn't be practical. That said, I do expect Baalke and Meyer to emphasize value in the draft and to look to select premium positions in the draft. Having a strong element of that in your drafts is key.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

Regarding all the chatter about tight end, as far as I can remember, the Jaguars have always been looking for a receiving tight end since … well, actually I would argue the Jags have never had a successful receiving tight end even back in the Pete Mitchell/Kyle Brady days. And you know what? Is that really a bad thing? Look around the league, very few teams have true all-stars at the tight end position – and not all those teams go to the playoffs/Super Bowl. Do you feel the tight end is maybe overvalued?


KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF - when will the salary cap be determined? I imagine with franchise/transition tag, free agency, and the draft, teams need a strong idea of what will be the spending cap. It looks like quite a few teams in the league are starting to make preparations with that $180M floor.

The league last Thursday announced in a memo to teams that the salary cap will be at least $180 million, with the final number yet to be determined. No specific date has been determined as a deadline because the NFL and NFL Players Association still must review final 2020 revenue figures. But yes … franchises are still making preparations. Those preparations are based on estimations and projections, with the idea that it's better to have a plan and options to deviate from that plan than to have no plan at all.

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey John, you said this draft class is deep until the 20s or so, does it make sense to trade near the 10thfor pick 25 and the first second-rounder to get one top talented player instead of two starters? What do you think?

Sure, it makes sense. It also makes sense for teams near the 10th overall selection to not want to do that and get a top talented player of their own rather than two starters.

David from Broward

Brandon Linder is an above-average-to-very-good center, but he is hurt way too often. Left guard Andrew Norwell and right guard A.J. Cann are average at best and have been regressing each year. My prediction, and it is not a huge leap, is that both will in fact regress big-time and be big liabilities this year. It brings me no joy to say this. I would love to see right tackle Jawaan Taylor to step up and for guard Ben Bartch to realize his potential. And for Linder to stay fully healthy. Thoughts?

Norwell did not play "average" last season and he played better than in 2020 than he did in 2018 and 2019. Cann played better in 2020 than he had previously. Neither regressed last season. The Jaguars certainly would like to see Taylor take a step forward in 2021 and for Linder to stay healthy.

Josh RVJAG from North Augusta, SC

I was a 10-year season-ticket holder before moving out of state and was amazed that the Jaguars employ around 200 personnel not including the football players. Are there other buildings where some of these employees work or do they all work at the stadium?

Jaguars employees pretty much all work out of the team's facility at TIAA Bank Field.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

John, I have a grammar question and I would rather ask you than the Google thing. A local Jaguars blog references the abbreviated Jags with an apostrophe every single time. It happens to drive me nuts, but is it just proper grammar to reference the Jags as the 'Jags' any time it is abbreviated? Yes, I am bored.

If the blog in question is writing Jags' and not putting the apostrophe there as a possession – i.e., the Jags' awesome senior writer – then that's incorrect. If the blog is writing 'Jags' … well, I don't know if it's grammatically incorrect as much as it just unnecessary.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

What are the odds Lawrence opens up a new stadium in Jacksonville or elsewhere before he turns 30?

If Lawrence is selected by Jacksonville and plays here for the next decade, I think there's a good chance he will be playing in a dramatically renovated stadium sometime late in that period. I don't expect it to be a new stadium, and I don't expect it to be elsewhere.

Sean from Jacksonville

What's the difference between some Jaguars fans and a baby? A baby stops whining after a while.

I laughed at this. For a while, actually.