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O-Zone: Only one way

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Zach from Jacksonville

Trent Baalke has shown himself to move up and down the draft board with trades. Last year accumulating many picks with his trade backs and eventually selecting right tackle Anton Harrison. And two years ago jumping into the end of the first round to get linebacker Devin Lloyd on a four-year deal with team option for the fifth year. What are the chances we see a trade up or trade down do you think in the first round and what might be the position or player they go after in the event of a trade up back into the first round this year?

Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke indeed has been prone to trading in his time as the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers and now with the Jaguars. Is he more prone to trade than other general managers? I expect it's less of this and more a willingness to listen act as the draft board suggests is wise that defines Baalke's draft career. As for the chances of the Jaguars/Baalke trading up or down in/into Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft … there's no way to know. Baalke during his pre-draft media availability Thursday discussed both possibilities, saying the chance for a trade up likely will begin around Selections Nos. 12 or 13 – and that discussions about trading back likely would begin just before the Jaguars are scheduled to go "on the clock" at No. 17. I could see the Jaguars trading up for a cornerback in Round 1. If an elite receiver were there? I can't completely rule it out because teams do surprising things if they believe a player is special – but it would be really surprising to me if they trade up for the position. The possibilities of trading back are harder to project. If there are five-to-six players the Jaguars like relatively evenly when they are "on the clock," I expect they will try to trade back. If not, they will make the selection. Will they or won't they? We'll find out Thursday.

Rob from San Antonio, TX

KOAF, when will the people finally get what they want? In "the Mustache War of 2024," we need to find out who wore it better, our defensive coordinator or our owner?

Ryan Nielsen, hired as the Jaguars' defensive coordinator in January, indeed sports an impressive mustache. He doubtless would win many a Mustache War. But Nielsen also seems a wise sort – wise enough not to get into a battle such as this that simply cannot be won.

Crash from Glen Saint Mary, FL

OZ! When does the NFL schedule come out? Can't wait to get tickets to the three divisional games. Those are the best!

The 2024 NFL schedule is expected to be released in May, perhaps the second week of the month. I feel confident the Jaguars will assist you in acquiring tickets to the three games against teams in the AFC South – and whatever other games you desire to attend.

Larry from Wattsburg(h), PA

What about missing Mr. Meester? I know I always enjoyed him making sure his assignment didn't get away by laying on them! That'll do it!

One fer Meester?

Sal from Austin, TX

My kid who doesn't follow sports walked past me as I had my laptop open to the Jaguars' homepage, and noticing the logo asked me, " You like the Cheetahs?" True story.

Sounds like you need to reassess some things.

Don from Marshall NC

I only have one request of the Jaguars' draft team. Find a way to get Audric Estimé. The guy would be perfect for the Jaguars! Good luck on the draft this week! Go Jaguars!

When it comes to the Jaguars selecting Notre Dame running back Audric Estimé in the 2024 NFL Draft, Don in strikingly and passionately "all in."

Joe from Jacksonville

How important was the implementing of a rookie wage scale to saving this generation's salary cap? Do you think owners knew it was such an issue that even if nothing was agreed to in that CBA, some kind of mutiny or lockout would have had to occur?

It was incredibly important. The salaries of the top few selections each year – particularly if those players were quarterbacks – had ballooned to ridiculous, cap-killing sizes. It had reached the point that teams were trading out of premium draft positions to avoid selecting unproven players to whom they would be tied. I doubt there would have been a mutiny or strike because players weren't being negatively affected. Could the owners have felt it necessary to lockout players until a better system was agreed upon? Absolutely, and that was one reason for the 2011 lockout that indeed produced the current rookie wage scale.

Trevor from Jacksonville

This may sound foolish, but 'tis the season, so here it goes. I know general managers don't care about online draft rankings. But should they? I know general managers have far more information about players compared to any draft analyst. But why not use internet rankings as another tool in the pre-draft process? The Jaguars probably would have been better off using an aggregate of online rankings instead of former General Manager Dave Caldwell's big boards (with the exception of 2016). Last year, safety Antonio Johnson was consistently ranked as a second- or third-rounder, yet he fell to the fifth. So far, he seems to be outplaying his draft position. I know the draft is not an exact science, but I question the wholesale approach of general managers to completely "trust your process" and "ignore the outside noise." Information overload is inevitable, and all general managers are going to overthink their big boards (as they should). Why not accept that fact and give just a little consideration to outside opinions? Maybe doing that could slightly reduce the odds of over or undervaluing a player. Maybe just a smidge of self-doubt is wise when it comes to picking in the NFL draft.

NFL teams have personnel departments to scout, discuss, evaluate and grade every available prospect in every NFL Draft. Part of the process is making sure they haven't overlooked or aren't overlooking any prospect. Teams review online mock drafts and analysis, and many teams will conduct extensive mocks based on "analysts' mocks" and ratings just to have a feel for overall how all prospects are viewed – and for how players might come off the board. If a team has a prospect graded in, say, the sixth round and the consensus among many other analysts is that that player's a first- or second-round selection the team with the low grade on the player will go back and reevaluate the player to ensure they're not overlooking said player. But are most teams going to select a player early in a draft if they don't believe the player warrants the selection? Certainly not. If that happened, what would be the point in the team's process?

Bradley from Sparks, NV

I couldn't care less about uniforms, prime-time games, national media and things football players say that aren't about football, but I get upset when people equate Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence with New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones because they have similar career stats. I'm pretty certain every single head coach and general manager would choose Lawrence over Jones.

I suspect if Lawrence entered the 2024 NFL Draft most general managers would select him No. 1 overall. I don't know if that's true of Jones.

Zach from Jacksonville

That Matt Jones first round pick sure was crazy. Imagine we selected Jayden Daniels this year and moved him to wide receiver. I am relatively young and my lasting memory of Matt Jones is an end-of-the-game juggling drop touchdown pass that would have won the game against the Cleveland Browns. Ah the memories!

I confess I know comparatively little about the circumstances that led the Jaguars to select Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones in Round 1 of the 2005 NFL Draft and immediately turn him into a receiver. I wasn't covering the Jaguars at the time, and the move now seems of the faded past. My first thought is it would be surprising if a team made such a move in this era – as it was then – because there are more nuances and skills needed to play wide receiver than elite athleticism. I also don't know that Jayden Daniels belongs in the conversation because the Louisiana State quarterback is a more accomplished quarterback than was Jones. Would Jones' skillset as a quarterback have translated better to the current NFL? Possibly. But was it crazy? Sure. The NFL Draft is a weird, unpredictable event. Every era has its weirdness and this weekend's likely will be no exception.

Michael from Orange Park, FL

O-Zone. Every day, I look to you for knowledge. Every day, I am disappointed. Every day, I still look. I'm at my end. There must be a better way.

No. There's not. This is the way.