O-Zone: Of humble origins

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Big on Blake from Philly

I saw a recent question about how Allen Robinson would be the Jaguars’ elite WR1 had they resigned him. Let’s not forget his rookie season was injury-riddled and his second year was his breakout year. I see a similar story developing with a much bigger body and faster 40, who made highlight reel catches last offseason: DJ Chark Jr. There also is Dede Westbrook, who has game experience and proven playmaking skills – and Marqise Lee still holds a roster spot for a reliable crosser and third-down, sticking-moving option. I don’t see wide receiver as an issue, and I believe the front office feels the same way. Do you think Chark has the ability to fill the role as a true WR1 this year?

Your correct about how the Jaguars’ front office sees its current wide receivers, and the team did add big-time speed and athleticism this offseason when it signed Chris Conley as an unrestricted free agent. The Jaguars believe the wide receivers will improve with an added year of experience, and with improved quarterback play. As far as Chark being a “true” No. 1 receiver, it’s probably premature to think he will be that next season. The more realistic scenario is he takes a Year 2 jump and shows signs of being elite before fulfilling those expectations in the next few seasons. But the Jaguars did have a first-round grade on him when they drafted him in Round 2 last offseason, and he needs to develop into a reliable starting receiver. And yes … that needs to happen this season.

Jaginator from (formerly of) Section 124

Oh, The Stupid! IT BURNS! 4.7 is too slow to be an “offensive weapon” drafted in the first round? Please tell that to Rob Gronkowski (4.68), Jason Witten (4.7), Shannon Sharpe (4.67), Dallas Clark (4.65), Zach Ertz (4.76), Heath Miller (4.87), Frank Wycheck (4.94), Todd Heap (4.68), Owen Daniels (4.65) and the list could go on …

This statement refers to a rent question wondering if Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson at 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash was too slow to be a big-time tight end in the NFL. If Hockenson doesn’t succeed, his speed won’t be the reason.

Tom from London, UK

Late to the party, but wide receivers Matt Jones and Reggie Williams a tossup for second-worst draft picks? Both contributed in spots. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert, defensive end Derrick Harvey, offensive tackle Luke Joeckel and wide receiver Justin Blackmon simply didn't.

Fair.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

It’s almost OTA time. Fans want everyone to show up. Coaches would prefer everyone show up. But I understand that voluntary activities are, well … voluntary. My question is whether players who do show up are impacted in any negative way by those who choose not to.

This varies on position and experience. A quarterback missing organized team activities would have a major negative effect on the entire offense – particularly the tight ends, running backs and wide receivers – because of timing and chemistry in the passing game. In that same vein, skill players – particularly young skill players – benefit greatly from OTAs because of timing with quarterback. Beyond that …

Stephen from Jacksonville

“It’s not like I can just walk up to Coughlin and get him to change the draft board.” Well, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports probably could. Wasn’t Pete responsible for convincing Coughlin to draft Rob Johnson?

To a degree, yes. This happened when Prisco and I were covering the 1995 NFL Draft for the Florida Times-Union. We ran into Coughlin – then the Jaguars’ head coach and now the Jaguars’ Executive Vice President of Football Operations – when leaving the stadium following the first day of the draft, which then consisted of Rounds 1-3. The Jaguars had the first selection of Round 4 the following day. Prisco knew Coughlin had Johnson, a quarterback from Southern California, graded as a Day 1 selection. He asked Coughlin why he hadn’t taken Johnson in Round 3 – or perhaps in Round 4 the next day – if he had him graded so highly. Coughlin indeed selected Johnson with the first selection of Round 4 the following morning. Coughlin to my knowledge never credited Prisco with the selection. That, of course, doesn’t keep Prisco from taking credit for it.

Brian from Jacksonville

Are the Jags likely to stay at No. 7 and select Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor regardless (he's absolutely the right guy), or do the Jags think promoting a deal that would use the No. 7 pick that lands Hockenson and North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury – or Hock and a second-choice offensive tackle?

I’ve said for the last several months that the most likely scenario for the Jaguars at No. 7 overall is an offensive lineman with tight end in the second or third round. There are multiple trade scenarios that make sense.

Mark from Everybody’s Hometown

John, Mark's view is in accord with a local legend and icon – that is that Fournette is still a knucklehead. Nevertheless, I love his production and potential shown at LSU. Yeah, since becoming a Jaguar he hasn't been a manifestation of good judgment. However, he has not committed violent acts and it would seem he's an embarrassment more to himself than either his team or the city. Mark urges management (and quick judging fans) not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Your question references a recent column in which longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette not inaccurately called Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette a “knucklehead.” It’s a term that pretty aptly captures the nature of the incident involving Fournette this week. He was arrested for driving with a suspended license after a couple of speeding infractions. It wasn’t violent. It wasn’t malicious. It was knuckleheaded. As stated previously, he needs to grow up. But this week’s incident shouldn’t be a defining moment for Fournette with the Jaguars.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

How does one forget to pay a ticket? Everyone seems to think this is a difficult concept but it’s really easy. You just get busy with your other major responsibilities in life and work, and a minor traffic violation can easily slip your mind. It’s that simple. Fournette will start at running back and all these perfect humans are darn lucky to have such a good football player as their running back. I will proudly wear his Jersey and rejoice as he scores many touchdowns. Yay Fournette!!!

Fair.

Chris from Vienna, Austria

Four players arrested in London and now Leonard. Do you think about to rename Jacksonville into Jail'n'ville? Or are these five guys the Jacksonville Jailhouse gang?

C’mon.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Not a question, but I’ve never used injuries as a knock on Fred Taylor, considering he played in 161 NFL games.

The “injury knock” on former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor is ridiculous and inaccurate. He missed 14 games in 2001 because of a serious injury. Aside from that, he missed 22 games in 10 seasons. That’s not Iron Man stuff, but neither were injuries a defining element of his career. What defined his career? How about seven 1,000-yard seasons in his first 10 seasons and 4.6-yards-per-carry career average?

Eric from Treasure Valley, ID

Oehser, *Please* post this to show your appreciation for the 460 questions and comments (over nearly 8 yrs., a lot of NON-football) u answered. I'm D-O-N-E; Thank you!

OK.

Doug from Jacksonville

We can go back and forth concerning draft picks and why we the readers think we know best. Controlling the line on both sides is critical and protecting a quarterback that hasn't played a 16-game season yet is important. Equally important is having playmakers and athletes that are just a little more athletic than every other all-world athlete on that NFL field. Linemen can be found anywhere in the draft ... or undrafted free agent ... look at our biggest free agent last year as an example. You'll find a diamond every now and then deeper in the draft, but this draft, the seventh pick needs to be a play maker. An athlete the opposing team needs to consider and game plan for. Here's hoping the Jags go playmaker in the first round.

Sure, linemen can be found anywhere in the draft, but – like most premium positions – good ones are best found earlier in the draft.

 Jeff from Wake Forest, NC

Good day, O! I've seen a lot of "professionals" say that Andre Dillard is the premier offensive tackle in this draft especially in pass protection but then almost everyone has us picking Jawaan Taylor before him. Is it strictly because Taylor is the better run blocker? Curious minds want to know.

Some analysts have Dillard as the No. 1 (left) tackle and others have Taylor as the No. 1 (right) tackle. It’s a preference and fit thing more than anything.

Dave from Dallas, TX

Hey, Mr. O: Josh from Fernandina Beach asked for your humble opinion yesterday. He obviously doesn’t know you.

Unhumbly fair.

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