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O-Zone: Not with a mouse

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Sam from Jacksonville

Peter King's weekly column quotes Coach Meyer as all but announcing the first pick. Not a surprise, but unless I missed it, it's the first word from inside the organization. Any idea why he gave the "scoop" to a national guy instead of local media?

Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer recently spoke to Peter King of Football Morning in America, making news by saying of Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence: "That's certainly the direction we're headed." That indeed marked Meyer's most specific comment to date regarding what most observers long have assumed – that the Jaguars will select Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. As for why Meyer told King instead of someone local … sometimes timing is everything. It's late March, so the Jaguars have had time to study tape and conduct due diligence on the draft's top prospects. This is about the time when "leaning heavily" in a certain direction about the draft would give way to "certainly the direction we're headed." Meyer is in high demand from national media and was a guest on King's podcast last week. During that interview, King asked Meyer about Lawrence. Meyer gave an honest answer at a time when he had a newsworthy answer to a high-profile question. He said what he said when he was ready to say it. I don't know that it's fair to assume an agenda beyond that.

Matt from Houston, TX

Who would you take at No. 25 and No. 33? I would want Najee Harris or Toney at 25, and Freiermuth at 33. What grade would those selections earn me?

You're asking about the Jaguars possibly selecting Alabama running back Najee Harris or Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney at No. 25 overall in next month's draft, and you're asking about them circling back and selecting Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth with the first selection of Round 2 – the No. 33 overall selection. Those selections almost certainly would earn you high grades from draft analysts because all three are high-profile players from big schools who have been projected by many analysts to be selected in Round 1. Analysts love guys with whom they're familiar, and teams that select such players receive correspondingly good "grades." What matters, of course, is how the players perform – which often realistically has nothing to do with grade. Either way, I could see the Jaguars going in directions similar to what you suggest. I personally am intrigued by Texas Christian safety Trevon Moehrig or a corner there, but impact skill guy and tight end? I believe the Jaguars will take one of each early. There's nothing wrong with taking them where you project.

Jason from North Pole, AK

I count about 15 teams ahead of the Jaguars at No. 25 in the NFL Draft that have a need for a playmaking tight end in the passing game. Can we stop talking about Pitts now?

I don't think anything's going to stop fans from talking about the Jaguars moving up from No. 25 to select University of Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. This doesn't mean they will be able to do it. I don't think they will. But that won't stop the talk.

Marlin from Newberry, FL

Hi John, I love following your draft tracker, it is nice to have them all compiled into one place. Since we have the first pick in the second round, why don't you add it to the tracker? That would be great...

Stay in your lane, Marlin.

Scott from Wichita, KS

Everyone bashing on Tyson for backing out evidently hasn't moved around a whole lot. As a military veteran, moving all the time gets old. I read Tyson built a nice house and has kids in school. I don't know how old his kids are, but as they get older, they don't make friends easily. And are often shunned! I'm sure he probably wanted to be here but chose his family over money. Good on him. And now we know why doesn't officially report on signings until they actually happen.

It seems you characterized this pretty well. Tyson Alualu, a defensive tackle who spent 2010-2016 with the Jaguars before spending 2017-2020 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, earlier this month agreed to terms to sign with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent. He then reportedly contracted COVID-19 and therefore couldn't travel to Jacksonville to officially sign with the Jaguars. At that point, he had a change of heart and now has re-signed with the Steelers. I'm disappointed because I like Alualu very much and looked forward to covering him again. I also thought it would make a cool story – a former No. 10 overall selection getting a chance to finish his career with his original team and getting a chance to do so while perhaps being more appreciated than in his first stint. But all indications are Alualu indeed made the decision based largely on family and not about money. I'm sure some fans are bashing him for it. Whatever, I guess.

Micah from Chicago, IL

I know he did what was best for his family, but it still hurts to Alu-a-lose him once again.


Josh from Atlanta, GA

We definitely added talent in free agency at the position, but how early do you think the best safety in the draft could go? I love Trevon Moehrig and think he would be a great value pick at 25. I just wonder how early a team could value the position, and how early is too early for a safety?

All indications are Moehrig would be very good value at No. 25. There are some analysts who would say you never take a safety in, say, the Top 5 – but outside of that, it depends on the talent of the specific player in question.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

Noticed there seems to be a lot more short-term deals being done this year as opposed to others. Think that is because of the unique cap situation or are teams learning their lesson finally and not investing long-term money without testing merchandise first? Former Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette got only a one-year deal in Tampa after going completely monster mode late last year. (Still wish he showed some of that passion and talent on THIS TEAM). So, is this just a phase or you think teams are finally wising up to not investing in lots of long term free-agent deals? Oh, and how does Alualu's decision impact our draft approach? This mean there is a defensive tackle or defensive end possible at 25 or 33? Likely even?

There absolutely are more short-term deals this offseason than usual. The increase certainly can be attributed to the lower salary cap, though there certainly players who sign one-year deals in a "normal" offseason. Remember: Teams usually would prefer shorter-term, pay-as-you-go deals; it's the cap situation that's forcing players to "settle" for them. As for how Alualu's decision will affect the draft … perhaps it will a little. But the guess here is the Jaguars will still lean more toward value than need late in the first round and early in the second round.

Seamus from Vancouver, BC

So, did I miss something all these years? What is the Jaguars' fanbase's fascination-to-the-point-of-obsession with 3-4 versus 4-3? I do not honestly know whether one is better than the other, but with multiple regimes with multiple seasons of top 10 defenses, I still don't get the fascination. Any way to clear this up for my football dopey-ness?

Jaguars fans' obsession with a 3-4 defense starts with the fact that former defensive coordinator Todd Wash ran a 4-3. The guess here is it ends there for more than a few fans, too.

Don from Marshall, NC

Owners who let their general managers or coaches sell out the future and roll the dice on a hunch. What do they have to worry about? They will get fired if they don't win, so why not. Watch what happens ten years down the road in Miami and see who wins. You have to dig; the gold is not going to jump in the pan for you. Go Jaguars!

"Clete, you tell him. Sectionals of '33, one point down. Five, four, three, two, one, let 'er fly... in and out. Yeah, well, I was fouled..." – Wilbur "Shooter" Flatch

Mark from Gainesville, FL

O-Zone I think about the "godfather" offers a team would need to propose for the Jags to move from Lawrence and the only team I could imagine are the Jets. Do you think the Jags would move if the Jets offered picks: two (1st), 23 (1st), 34 (2nd), and their 2022 1st (likely a top 15 pick)? If not that, then what do think it would take?

I do not think the Jaguars would take that trade. I do not think they would take any trade. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I Am.