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O-Zone: Much ado

INDIANAPOLIS – Combine time.

Let's get to it … John from Cape May, NJ:
I believe the Jags should take Jalen Ramsey at No. 5 if he is there. To me, he is the next Ed Reed. However, there's a good chance he may not be there. If that's the case, I would pick Noah Spence. If I do my investigating and feel comfortable enough with the information I got from the vetting process, then it's a no-brainer. Spence has such a high ceiling and I think when it comes to draft day, Ramsey and Spence will be the top two guys on David Caldwell's board.
John: I don't disagree about Spence. Here's the thing, though: considering his background, and considering the actions that caused him to leave Ohio State, how much vetting will be enough vetting? What he did is out there. It's well-known to the entire NFL. And those flags? They're really, really red. The decision to select him or not largely depends on whether you think such things are behind him. I'm a big believer in second chances; I would have character a lot lower on my list of draft factors than most general managers. Because of that, I probably wouldn't let Spence's past influence my decision. Then again, I'm not sitting in Caldwell's chair (at least not when he's in the building).
DUVAL DOOM from Section 217:
Just went back and read Saturday's O-Zone (somehow I missed it); my only thing about Culpepper has always been "Yeah, but look who he was throwing to …"
John: I stopped reading when you said you missed Saturday's O-Zone. Be better than that, Doom.
Patrick from Duval:
Are there any cornerbacks likely to hit free agency that would be an upgrade on the outside? I really like the idea of drafting defensive line at No. 5.
John: I don't know that the Jaguars need a massive upgrade on the outside; I do think they need a third cornerback to go along with Aaron Colvin and Davon House. I also think adding one on the outside and allowing Colvin to play nickel full time would help the secondary a lot. I like the idea of Sean Smith of Kansas City, and I think cornerback is an area the Jaguars may address in free agency. Right now, they have two starting-level players at the position. More would be better.
Adam from St. Johns, FL:
I know you believe Gus Bradley is the second coming of Lamardi, but I just want to point out that history states three straight years at the Senior Bowl is not good. The likelihood of him succeeding is not high. I guess I'm the only one that realizes that. I just don't understand the purpose of wasting 2016 on this guy.
John: I don't know that I ever compared Bradley to another head coach, Alan, but you're right that a good comparison is Theodore "Clipboard" Lamardi, who coached East Tecumseh (R.I.) High School to the 1918 Class C state title. (Good pull on Lamardi, by the way; most people forget him when discussing the great ones).
Chad from Yulee, FL:
If a team cuts a player under contract in the offseason either before or after the start of the league year, is that player subject to the waiver process? And would the team that claimed him then assume the contract thus "eliminating" the salary cap ramifications from the original team?
John: Signing bonus is the team's primary cap issue when releasing a player – not whether or not the player will be on waivers. While the player's release frees the team from paying the player's yearly salary – and while that no longer counts against the cap – the same is not true of the signing bonus. When a player signs a contract, the signing bonus is spread out evenly over the duration of the contract. When a player is released, that bonus accelerates into the year the player was released. So, a player who signs a four-year contract with a $20 million bonus counts $10 million on the team's cap if he is released two years into the deal. That's some serious cap ramifications.
Shannon from Brunswick, GA:
Seeing you in tights and pouring water on yourself in slow motion in the combine video has given me nightmares the past few nights. Thanks a lot, John.
John: No worries.
Nathan from Duval via Richmond, VA:
OMan, I just ... well "watched" is probably the best term for it, but that leaves out a lot of details about dry heaving and feeling a need to shower after ... the Combine Coverage video. The folks in the Video Department do a lot for us fans; we can all agree on that. But sometimes, too much is just too much.
John: You're hiding some feelings, Nathan. It seems you're dealing with some things, too. That's OK.
Jay from Jax:
That was scary. Could not hit "never show again" fast enough. Those tights - wrong.
John: They indeed were wrong; then again … being inside them felt oh-so right.
Ralph from Jacksonville:
While your knowledge and athleticism clearly exceed mine (I've seen the tape!), I am not convinced Ramsey is worthy of a No. 5 pick. His stats are good not great for the most part. He has only three career interceptions and none his junior year. Hargreaves had 10 in his career. This is not a pitch for Hargreaves but a concern where, historically, our number of interceptions are woefully inadequate. IF Bosa is available, he would be my preference. Myles Jack, too. Of course, none of our votes count and I trust Dave's judgment over mine to say the least.
John: I'm not big on measuring draft prospects on their collegiate statistics, particularly defensive players. I didn't watch Florida State passionately or routinely enough to know if Ramsey had many interception opportunities. Regardless, if he happens not to be all that great at interceptions and is good at everything else that comes with the free safety position, teams can live with that. Interception opportunities are largely out of a player's control. If there's not pressure or errant passes in a defender's area, interceptions are going to be rare. The vast majority don't come on unbelievable plays by the defender.
Dennis from Palm Coast, FL:
Mike from Des Moines forgot DeForest Buckner. He will be David Caldwell's first choice in the draft. (providing he doesn't sign Malik Jackson in FA.) Buckner can play the three technique DT and would provide an interior push.
John: I sure wouldn't rule it out.
Dakota from Fleming Island, FL:
Most mock drafts seem to have the Jags taking Ramsey or Bosa (including your very own Mock Draft v1.0). I see the value in Ramsey's versatility, but I see Vernon Hargreaves III as a better corner by far. If we were looking for a corner I feel I would rather have VH3. What do you think? (Overall, I think I like the Bosa pick).
John: I don't think the Jaguars will take a player in the Top 5 if all the player can do is play cornerback. I think the reason Ramsey makes sense at No. 5 is his versatility.
Dane from Jacksonville:
No question; just wanted to say I love reading the O-Zone. The work you do is so much fun to read and I thoroughly enjoy it. Keep up the great work!
John: Good eye.
Thrill from Section 236:
Dave Caldwell drafted Joeckel with his first-ever Jaguars draft pick, because he considered the position to be that important. If there is no remaining defensive talent on the board worthy of the No. 5 pick, there's no reason Dave shouldn't take Tunsil. I know you've said Joeckel isn't as bad as most people think, but if you can get a potential star at what was clearly such an important position three years ago and the other available talent doesn't fit the spot, then why not?
John: I don't know that Caldwell's feelings about the left tackle position were as much of a factor in the 2014 NFL Draft as the fact that Joeckel appeared to be a very solid prospect – and the fact that the top of that draft overall was not laden with elite prospects at other positions. But to your point … yes, if playmaking defensive players are off the board at No. 5, then Tunsil wouldn't be a reach. I doubt that will happen, and I believe the Jaguars will go defense with that selection.
Alan from Jacksonville:
I can't believe we are considering going without an offensive line coach this year. With the young players we have (and hope to add) I think this is a critical need. What do you think of Dave DeGuglielmo, who the Patriots let go? He seemed to the scapegoat for the Super Bowl beating Tom Brady took, but over the course of the year the Patriots had 13 combinations of starters and actually used 37 different lineman combos during the games. I know the Chargers just hired him as their assistant line coach but could we and should we make a play for him? Who else is out there?
John: Doug Marrone is the Jaguars' offensive line coach.

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