JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . .
Larry from Jacksonville:
John, love your insight. As for a quarterback for the Jags, I saw Bortles three times and he really looks good to me. He is in the Luck mold. What do you think with the first pick? The way Dave and Gus see talent, we may chance the pick.
John: I have said before and I'll say it again: I believe once all of the research is done and all of the talking has quieted the Jaguars probably will take a quarterback No. 3 overall. That may depend on the quarterback available. I don't think they know for certain yet, but I think it's still February 6, so it's OK not to know for certain yet. I also don't know that David Caldwell absolutely loves a quarterback yet, which is one reason the Jaguars want Chad Henne as an option for next season. As for Bortles specifically, there are some similarities with Luck in the sense that Bortles is a big player who looks the part. But remember, Luck came in to the NFL very, very ready and has still had his issues in the first two seasons – as most young quarterbacks do. If the Jaguars do select a quarterback, whoever he is likely will have a steeper learning curve.
Patrick from Merced, CA:
Hey O-Zone, lay it on the table. What is your almighty prediction for the Jaguars record in 2014?
John: If I could predict the Jaguars' record in early February . . . well, I guess that would be one more way I'd be almighty.
Spencer from Satellite Beach, FL:
It's a long way out, but here is my wish list for the first four rounds: first round, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater; secondround, "Leo" Jeremiah Attaochu; third round, center Weston Richburg; fourth round (1), running back Terrance West; fourth round (2), nose tackle Justin Ellis. Would you be happy with this?
John: Sure, but those close to me can tell you I'm a pretty happy, contended person 24-7, so I may not be a good person to ask this.
April from Pooler, GA:
Would Jadeveon Clowney be allowed to wear No. 7 on an NFL team if he desires to keep his college number? Would special permission from the NFL be required? And then there's the Michael Vick No.7 dilemma should they somehow end up on the same team if the Eagles trade Vick (perhaps the Raiders or Vikings).
John: He will not be allowed to wear No. 7. NFL rules don't allow it. So, no dilemma.
James from Columbus, GA:
I like the look of the new boards, but I have a big concern: are they really expected to be able to stand against hurricane-strength winds that inevitably show up each year?
James from Pocahnotas:
As much as many of us regret ever drafting Blaine Gabbert, it is easy to see the logic behind letting that pick play itself out and not drafting Wilson as opposed to Bryan Anger. The groaner of a pick for me though is Rod Issac instead of Richard Sherman. Same round, same draft, same position; but Issac is not in the league and Sherman is All-Pro. Sigh. What a turn around that could have been.
Tim from Jacksonville:
When a restricted free agent receives an offer from another team what factors determine if the current teams offer is considered comparable? Is it based just on salary or are total earnings potential and length also looked at?
John: The team must match the offer, which means it matches length and the details. I wouldn't put much energy into worrying about restricted free agents, though. They rarely get extended offers from other teams, and the incidents of that happening are actually getting fewer.
Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
In Super Bowl 36, Tom Brady was 16-of-27 passing for 145 yards and a touchdown. Most in the media gave him glowing praise and spoke of him as a future Hall of Famer. Russell Wilson goes 18-of-25 passing for 206 yards and two touchdowns; no MVP award and he is a "game manager." Why is there such a difference in perception?
John: Our memories serve us differently on this one, Chris. You're referring to the first Super Bowl won by Brady and the Patriots, the one in New Orleans when they beat the Rams, 20-17, following the 2001 season. At the time, Brady indeed very much was referred to as a game manager and no one thought of him as a future Hall of Famer. It actually wasn't until the next season that he was perceived as a passing quarterback and not until sometime later did the Hall of Fame talk begin. In fact, as I recall it, there was less hype around Brady back then leading to the Super Bowl than there was Russell Wilson this season.
Chris from Jacksonville:
One of the mock drafts had Manziel going to Houston and Matthews going to the Rams. Have players from the same school ever been drafted No. 1 and No. 2 overal before?
John: Yes, twice. Lavar Arrington and Courtney Brown from Penn State in 2000 and Bubba Smith and Clint Jones from Michigan State in 1967.
KC from North Bay Area, CA:
I just watched some highlights of Blake Bortles, and I think he has a tendency to 'chuck and duck' too often. Doesn't feel like a Top 5 pick to me.
John: One not fer Blake, and yes, in the limited time I saw Bortles, that's something I'd see as a bit of a concern, too.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
Last year this time the experts were down on the fact that the draft (2013) had no potential franchise quarterbacks, at least on paper. But they were quick to remind us that the 2014 draft could be the year of the quarterback. Boy, what a difference a year makes; now, no one knows if any of these prospects are even the real deal. What happened, John?
John: A couple of things. One is that players – yes, even quarterbacks are human beings and no one really can say for sure how human beings will develop and progress. Another is a lot of the people saying the 2014 draft "could be" the year of the quarterback probably weren't the people who will be paid to pick players in the 2014 draft. Observers often speculate about future draft classes based on a few games they see on television rather, and such observations sometimes don't line up with what scouts and football people think about the same players.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
I get that the money thing matters. But if I was a star free agent, and Oakland offered me $10 million per year while Seattle offered me $5 million per year, I would sign with Seattle. And if you sign with Oakland because you have money problems, it's your own damn fault you blew your last four-year deal on Gucci and 10 Ferraris.
John: I don't care who's at fault. I'm taking the extra $5 million.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
It seems to me Cousins may be just as good if not better than anybody in this year's quarterback class. So, is it just because you think the Redskins will ask for "too much" that the Jags would not go that route? Or do you not think Cousins could be "that guy?"
John: We don't actually know what the Redskins will ask for Cousins, and perhaps as importantly, we don't know for certain that the Redskins are seeking to trade Cousins. With Robert Griffin III likely to take hits, there's a reasonable school of thought in that situation that you need a quality backup quarterback. As for Cousins being "that guy," the jury is still very much out on that front. He has shown flashes of being very good and he has struggled just as much. If you're going to give up an early pick it stands to reason you need to think he has a chance to be your franchise guy.
John from Jacksonville:
I have seen a lot of comments about running backs not being as important as in the past. In my opinion, a quality running back who is skilled at short pass routes (like MJD) would be a key weapon to have for the offense. Is it pretty standard for most running backs to have that skill these days in the pass-friendly game?
John: It's not really standard, but it's something running backs better learn if they want to be productive and valuable in the league for a long time. If you can't catch passes out of the backfield and protect the passer, you had better be a really, really – did I say, "really?" good runner. And for the really good runners, versatility is important.
Richard from Calloway, FL:
Your response to Tudor about Bryan Anger over Russell Wilson was lame. I could understand if it was previous years when the quarterback commanded a huge salary but even after one year you could tell Gabbert wasn't the answer. Thank goodness it finally seems they got it right and go JAGS!
John: I'll try to write less truthfully in the future. Perhaps that will be more exciting.
O-Zone: Mr. Excitement
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . .
Larry from Jacksonville: