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O-Zone: Oh, happy day

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Alex from Fredericksburg, VA:
O-Man, do you think we would look into trading down to Philly? We know they want Mariota and they will trade the world to get to No. 3. Your thoughts ...
John: I don't doubt the Eagles want Marcus Mariota. Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly coached Mariota at the University of Oregon and there isn't a more perfect NFL fit for Mariota than Kelly's offense. That much is obvious, though it's merely speculation at this point whether or not the Eagles indeed would trade the world. Can the Jaguars realistically benefit from the situation? That's a huge question that may not have a good answer for the Jaguars. First, while Mariota entered the offseason atop many draft boards, more and more analysts and NFL personnel types are concerned that Mariota's style may not translate well to most pro-style offenses. That doesn't concern Kelly or the Eagles, but it does limit the market for Mariota, which would in turn hurt the chances of Mariota going in the Top 3. It also would limit the number of teams interested in trading up for Mariota, and that would limit the Jaguars' options in trading for a team wanting him. As for the Eagles specifically, they currently hold the No. 20 overall selection. Trading up to No. 3 from 20 would require them to give up a great deal, including – most likely – a second-round selection this season and an early selection next season. That's assuming they even deem it necessary to go up to No. 3 to get Mariota. Bottom line as of February 16: an Eagles trade with the Jaguars could happen, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
Bill from Green Cove Springs, FL:
Interesting how people want to know why some of our rookies did't make all rookie team. thats easy rookies on other teams steped up(cowboys all pro -guard, wr on 4 or 5 teams stepping up, free agent steps up to win super bowl. Our rookies did't do hardly anything.
John: #hottakes
Andrew from Crawfordville, FL:
Will the Jaguars be eligible for any compensatory draft picks? #MOODACHAY
John: Compensatory selections are awarded by the NFL based on the previous offseason's free-agency gains and losses. The Jaguars lost Maurice Jones-Drew as an unrestricted free agent last offseason and signed several UFAs, including Zane Beadles, Toby Gerhart, Dekoda Watson and Ziggy Hood. You need to lose more than you gain to receive compensatory selections the following offseason, so it's unlikely the Jaguars will receive any for the 2015 NFL Draft.
Kyle from Valley City:
All you need to know about Tyson Alualu is he is an average player on a very bad football team. Defending his play shows a real lack of football sense.
John: Speaking of which …
Nick from Jacksonville Beach:
I'm surprised we haven't discussed Greg Hardy yet. He's only a year removed (rested) from an elite season and is now almost certainly going to be a free agent in a possibly very deep pool of talented pass rushers. Do you think he's the type of guy the Jags pursue? He's young, proven, and plays with a nastiness we all love in our linemen.
John: Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell has made it clear he's not averse to pursuing players with off-field issues. Pursuing Hardy certainly would prove his point and would be very, very tempting. Caldwell's not going to give many hints before free agency, nor should he. We'll see.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
How realistic is it that coaches and players really don't communicate during these dead periods? I'm not suggesting that all teams cheat, or that they should cheat, but it seems so simple that I can't imagine that most teams aren't doing it. I mean really, how hard would it be for Greg Olson to register for and send the playbook to Bortles? Does the NFL actually police these things enough to prevent such activity?
John: It wouldn't be hard for Olson to send a playbook to Bortles, just as it wouldn't technically be difficult for the two to talk on the phone daily or even for Bortles to walk into Olson's office at EverBank Field and watch film on a daily basis. Any team, coach or player could do this – and it's quite possible or even likely that at some teams the rules get broken or bent from time to time or even often. But as far as blatant, regular circumvention of the rules to the point where a coach is on the field working with a player or even providing significant coaching … it's just doubtful. Players and coaches changes teams routinely and it would be too easy – and too likely – for word to get out after the fact if there were significant transgressions.
Matt from Stroudsburg, PA:
Regarding Julius Thomas as a possible free-agent signing (if available), is he really the top-tier pass-receiving tight end as his stats indicate? I'm no expert on evaluating tight ends, but Peyton Manning's track record of making average tight ends look like Pro Bowlers makes me wonder about how good Thomas actually is, and if he would be worth the money to sign. Your thoughts?
John: Manning certainly makes players and receivers better – as do most top-tier quarterbacks. But I don't know that Manning has had that much of a magic touch with tight ends. Dallas Clark was his best tight end in Indianapolis, and though Clark was helped by Manning's presence it's not fair to say Manning made Clark. Beyond that, Thomas might be the best tight end to play with Manning. It's reasonable to assume he wouldn't have the same numbers in Jacksonville were he to sign with the Jaguars as he did with Denver. That's because the Jaguars wouldn't have a quarterback of the same caliber as Manning. But you're not realistically looking for a free agent to necessarily match past productivity; you're looking for him to improve your team and Thomas certainly is capable of doing that.
Mike from White Plains, GA:
What is with the draft-wide-receivers-in-the-Top-5 craze, O-Man? Just last year Sammy Watkins was taken by the Bills in the Top 4 after being a "gamechanger," but can you honestly say he was better than the other four wide receivers taken in the first round last year? Or how about the Julio Jones pick a few years before that. Is Amari Cooper in your opinion really heads and shoulders above all the other potential 1 round wide receivers (not to mention the other positions) or is this more of a SEC colored glasses push?
John: The wide receiver craze has come about because players such as A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson have shown teams the impact a true No. 1 receiver can make. And in this era of professional football, a true No. 1 wide receiver indeed can change games – and seasons. Even outside of their statistical production, they forced defenses to defend offenses differently, and that's critical to game planning. As far as Watkins … no, right now he doesn't look significantly better than Odell Beckham, Jr. or Mike Evans, but Watkins certainly has the speed and play-making ability to justify his draft status. You can't judge this after one season. As far as Cooper, this is a topic that's going to get beaten to death and maybe that already has happened. I don't know that he is head and shoulders above the other first-rounders, and I don't know that he's going to be a Top 5 selection. That's true whatever color lenses you happen to wear.
Terry from Jacksonville:
With the combine coming up, I have a question about the level of medical scrutiny. Last year, Jadeveon Clowney didn't perform some of the drills, which surprised me. After being drafted, he was found to have micro-fractures that may have existed at combine time. Why wasn't this picked up in the medical exams taken at the combine? Are the medical conditions tested at the combine standard tests? Can a team ask for specific tests at the combine or in private? Jadeveon Clowney seemed to have medical red flags. Any thoughts?
John: I'm not a doctor, nor have I seen Clowney's medical reports from the combine. For that reason, I have no idea what doctors from any franchise did or didn't see when examining Clowney there last February. What I can tell you is teams consider the medical evaluations perhaps the most valuable aspect of the combine because it's the best chance for teams to get their own assessment of the health of the top college players. Why did Clowney raise no red flags? Again, anyone who didn't have access to Clowney's reports at the combine couldn't answer that question.
Alan from Jacksonville:
Another Valentine's Day come and gone and I was just wondering what great treats you got for the better half. My wife loves chocolate with caramel and I always get a great homemade meal. Hope your wife did the same for you after you showered her with flowers and candy. You did get her flowers, I hope?
John: Oops.

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