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O-Zone: No debate

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Shawn from West side the best side

I was looking at an article and it appears Trent Baalke traded every year he was a general manager at both organizations – the San Francisco 49ers and the Jaguars. Do you think Baalke is likely to trade up or back? If he trades up, who do you think it would be for?

I think there's a good chance Baalke will trade during the 2023 NFL Draft. He likes to trade if the value makes sense, as is the case with most NFL general managers, and Baalke also has been known in later rounds to trade based on his perceived strength of a particular draft. If he believes a certain draft is strong, he might try to use more selections in that draft – or trade selections from one year to get into the other draft. He also might try to get out of a draft and use fewer selections if he thinks that draft is weak. I haven't the slightest idea of specifically who Baalke might seek if he trades up this year. I do think the Jaguars will be interested in offensive line, cornerback and tight end early in this draft. Cornerback and tight end are said to be fairly deep positions this year, so trading up might not be the play. Offensive line typically is less deep, and trading up for the position is always possible.

Anthony from Richmond

I hear a lot of mention of possibly drafting a tight end with our first-round pick in April. How soon we forget that we traded away our top 10 corner for a unknown tight end just to have him walk in free agency two years later.

The Jaguars indeed traded cornerback C.J. Henderson – the No. 9 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft – to the Carolina Panthers for a 2021 third-round selection and tight end Dan Arnold, who remains an unrestricted free agent after playing for the Jaguars most of 2021 and all of 2022. Had people forgotten this? I have no idea. I hadn't. Maybe some people had.

Don from Marshall, NC

There is not much thought needed to figure out Trevor Lawrence's contract situation. When he signs, he will be the highest-paid quarterback in the league. More money to the quarterback means less money to spend on other players. If you're going to win, you must hit on the draft. You hope with a great quarterback you're able to make it work. That's my take on what you have been saying.

If Lawrence's second contract that he signs in the next offseason or so doesn't make him the NFL's highest-paid quarterback, it will certainly put him in the discussion. You can still have highly paid players around a quarterback paid on that level, just not nearly as many. And yes … you must draft well.

Sandman from Westside (the best side)

I know very "Little" about anything. But if you had a "Little" in the fold the prior year, why not trade Taylor then and get something for him? Thanks, Love your column.

You're asking why the Jaguars didn't trade Jawaan Taylor last offseason and move Walker Little into the starting lineup. Answer: They wanted Taylor to start at right tackle last season. The Jaguars won the 2022 AFC South title in no small part because they had depth on the offensive line to withstand injuries to two starters – left tackle Cam Robinson and right guard Ben Bartch. If you trade starters before the season and start capable backups in their place, you don't have that sort of depth.

Brian from Round Rock, Texas

Do you think there will be some adjustments to how the front seven on the defense is utilized to maximize their talents? I hope we don't see Walker ineffectively bullrush play after play after play after play again. If he keeps that up, he'll be a bigger flop than Taven Bryan ...

I do expect the Jaguars to at least tweak the front seven to figure how to best utilize players such as outside linebacker Travon Walker and inside linebacker Devin Lloyd. I don't expect Walker will "bullrush play after play after play again;" I expect him to improve and grow – as many players and people do. I don't expect Walker to have a career similar to that of Bryan. That's a bit extreme.

Richard from St Augustine, FL

Every year "the experts" give a first-round grade on a number of NFL prospects which ranges from 15-to-25ish. This year, it is 22ish. With the depth at cornerback prospects versus offensive line, wouldn't it be more likely that at Jags No. 24 a cornerback would still be left with a first-round grade versus offensive line?

I suppose. Remember, though: Just because a few draft analysts say "x" number of players have "first-round" grades doesn't mean the Jaguars agree with those assessments. They quite possibly disagree on multiple players and therefore on the number of "first-round" prospects.      

Deane from Daytona Beach, FL

O-Zone! Looking at last year's first-round pick and looking at some of the traits Baalke and Head Coach Doug Pederson viewed that helped shape the pick of Walker – size and athleticism at his position – could one deduce that at our spot in the first round Georgia tight end Darnell Washington would fit this logic –provided that he was still available? I mean you basically get another lineman, not to mention a huge target in the passing game! What says you KOAF?

Baalke certainly likes big, strong players whose traits fit their positions. Washington fits that description, though he hardly is alone in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Shawn from JAX but now in Central NC

Do you think the Jags will reach a multi-year deal with tight end Evan Engram or will he play on the franchise tag and leave after the season? Also do you think we re-sign outside linebacker Josh Allen to lower his cap hit this year?

The Jaguars would like to sign Engram to a long-term deal this offseason. If they can't reach that deal, it doesn't necessarily mean he will sign elsewhere after the 2023 season. I don't expect the Jaguars will re-sign outside linebacker Josh Allen to an extension this offseason.

JR from The Squatchlands

Best of luck to Marvin Jones Jr. on his next endeavor with the Detroit Lions. He was a solid receiver and seemed like a standup guy. With that said, the fact that he was our best receiver two years ago and would probably be more like fourth or fifth best this season is a testament to the talent upgrades that have been made recently. So one fer Marvin and one fer Baalke?

One fer Jones and one fer Baalke.

Dan from Munich, Germany

Hi, Zone. Two questions following some of the answers you provided in a recent column. 1. Are multiple forward passes allowed if they are behind the line of scrimmage? 2. What happens with Snoop Connor after the running back signing last week, will he make the roster? Thanks

A team may complete only one pass per play no matter where the pass is thrown or caught. Conner, a fifth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, will compete for a role in the backfield behind starter Travis Etienne Jr. and with players such as JaMycal Hasty and newly-signed D'Ernest Johnson. I expect Conner to be with the Jaguars next season. Remember: With expanded practice squads, not every player who contributes is on the 53-player roster every week. Could a second-year player such as Conner be in just off the 53 but still active and available for depth and injury? That's a possibility.

Donny from Heathrow, FL, Section 37, Day 2

This debate on whether former Jaguars Head Coach Tom Coughlin should be in the Pride of the Jaguars is disappointingly laughable. I get that we have third-generation fans now that just don't, or don't want to, understand the Jags' early success under Coughlin, but come on, people … educate yourselves! He is the most successful head coach of an expansion team over the first five years ever in the NFL, took the team to the AFC Championship game twice, and coached the team to the best regular-season record in the NFL (14-2) in 1999 (also the best in team history). How his second tenure with the Jags ended is irrelevant to this topic. The idea that Coughlin should be held out to hold a place for Pederson … WHAT?? If the Jags win the Super Bowl in 2023 because Lawrence, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and running back Travis Etienne Jr. have All-Pro/Pro Bowl seasons, do we have to remove quarterback Mark Brunell, wide receiver Jimmy Smith and running back Fred Taylor from the Pride to make room for those players??? I know you say fans gonna fan but that concept is completely ignorant (and I AM being nice).

(You're not wrong, but you're not really being nice).