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O-Zone: Mix it up

JACKSONVILLE – The beat goes on.

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Let's get to it …

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey, John. I've read the SI article about Trevor. Is it something to worry about? Seems like he is not planning to play as long as TB12. Or am I reading too much out of it? Maybe it's a good thing that he makes no pressure on himself. Do you have an opinion on this?

You're referencing a Sports Illustrated article this week in which Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence said, "I want people to know that I'm passionate about what I do and it's really important to me, but … I don't have this huge chip on my shoulder, that everyone's out to get me and I'm trying to prove everybody wrong." Lawrence's father also committed what is being made out to be the awful sin of saying, "He's not award-driven. He's not, 'I want to win a Super Bowl at all costs.''' Perhaps unsurprisingly, these comments have caused some criticism of Lawrence in the Twittersphere, and some accompanying concern on the part of some Jaguars fans. I have seen nothing to indicate he plans on a short career. I have seen nothing to indicate he doesn't want to work tirelessly or that he thinks winning doesn't matter. What I have seen are quotes that indicate he considers himself someone with perspective and that his father has reared someone with perspective. I'll say today about this what I essentially said yesterday about this and what I imagine I will continue to say: We have reached the point in the pre-draft process where people are anxious to criticize something about Lawrence. If the worst criticism levied is that he realizes there is life and a world beyond football and that he doesn't believe he has to have a chip on his shoulder to succeed, then I think there's at least a smidgen of a chance Lawrence will be OK. So, no … I don't see this as something to worry about. In the slightest.

Liam

In the world of J.O., which pick by another team will have the most impact/influence on the Jaguars at Pick No. 25? We know nothing is guaranteed, but let's say the Raiders not taking Josh Allen would be an example from the 2019 draft.

Let's clarify first that this answer indeed is very much in the world of J.O. – and I assume you mean yours truly and not mid-1990s Lilith Fair-staple Joan Osborne (what if God really was one of us?) I make a point to clarify this, because we won't know what the Jaguars are really thinking at No. 25 until following the 2021 NFL Draft – if we know really even it then. And the reality is that the Jaguars likely won't target any single player enough t No. 25 that any single team in front of them could ruin the selection. So, for the sake of this question, let's go with a team in front of the Jaguars allowing a player such as Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to slide. He strikes you as a player whose talent might be such that the Jaguars wouldn't allow him past No. 25 if he slipped so far. Maybe. That's a guess, anyway.

Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL

For heavens' sake … no "Sunshine." A few people started calling Blaine Gabbert that nickname at the beginning and it was, well, an eclipse.

Fair.

Thomas

Your suggestion that cornerback is a strong probability with one of our first four picks surprises me. In CJ Henderson, Shaquill Griffin, Sidney Jones IV and Tre Herndon the team has four cornerbacks with draft pedigree and/or NFL starting experience and three of those guys were inked by the new regime. It looks to me like the one position where we have legit starting quality and depth. What am I missing?

Cornerback wouldn't be so much a need selection for the Jaguars as a possible value selection. NFL teams need at least three cornerbacks who can play at a front-line level, and there appears likely to be a quality corner available at No. 25. That's why it makes some sense. I wouldn't be shocked if the Jaguars don't go that direction early, but it wouldn't be ridiculous if they did.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, deep down inside, do you hope the Jaguars pick someone other than Trevor with our first pick in hopes of seeing just how entertaining your inbox will be the next day?

No.

Austin

Is there a timeframe on when The Hunt Chapter 2 will be published? It's always cool to see the behind the scenes stuff.

The next episode of The Hunt will drop April 22. See what I did there? I used "drop." I am young and hip. Very hip.

KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF what does your hunch tell you? Do you think the Jags have a few more trades up their sleeves for more veteran help, or do you think the trades will be jockeying up and down the draft for another wave of young talented rookies?

I don't expect the Jaguars to trade for veteran help before the draft. It wouldn't be surprising if they made a trade or two in that vein during or after the draft. You could see them pushing for a tight end or some defensive-tackle depth in that manner. Either way, I expect Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke to trade actively during the draft to get in the best position possible.

Mike

Hey Mr. O, been reading and listening to you and the guys for years now. Never asked a question until now. This one is just bugging me. Why is safety such a hot topic at No. 25 we just spent all that money on proven talent in Rayshawn Jenkins. He's obviously the starter. Why waste a high pick on safety when we can get one later? Seems like a slap in the face to me.

You need more than one safety.

EJ from Jacksonville

In the discussions about defensive alignments, players are often described as "having their hand on the ground" or "standing up." I can understand that by touching the ground, the player is lower and therefore less susceptible of an offensive block, but does it otherwise make a difference? Can you illuminate and impart knowledge and understanding as you usually do?

A player with his hand on the ground is in better position to fire forward – i.e., to rush the passer or penetrate to disrupt defensively against the run when on defense, or to run block when on offense. A player with his hand off the ground is in better position to move in any direction – i.e., to pass block when on offense or to drop in coverage or move laterally to defend the outside run when on defense.

Rob from Fleming Island

Every week it seems there is another example or topic where these very overpaid athletes want more and more for doing less and less ... is it too late for the owners and the NFL as a whole to regain some of this lost leverage and demand more from these prima donnas?

Yeah, I'm not going with you on the whole overpaid angle when it comes to discussing NFL players. The salaries are what they are, and players earn what the market will bear. NFL players have a very specific, high-demand skillset and they have a limited time in which to maximize earning potential. Yes, they continue to fight for less contact and less offseason practice, but I don't know that many people would fight for more contact and more offseason work if they were in the players' situation. Specific to your question … I think it's "too late" for owners to reduce salaries significantly, though I expect the issue of offseason workouts to be one that continues to go back and forth a bit over time.

Jim from Jax

What is your prediction regarding whether Minshew will be on the Jags roster on opening day?

I don't expect Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II to be on the 2021 Week 1 roster. I expect he will be traded for a later-round selection at some point between now and then. I don't think this is a dead-solid lock, but I think it's more likely than him staying.

John from Jacksonville

Would Boselli catch you if you ran full speed away from the Godzilla vs. Kong street fight?

If I ran straight, yes. My shiftiness and savvy are key here. Serpentine, Shel. Serpentine.

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