O-Zone: Onward ho!

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Amit from Jacksonville

I can't decide if it’s gutsy or a stupid lack of self-preservation skills. A losing season is likely to see a lot of seats getting hot and drafting a kid nobody has ever heard of – even with a famous brother – looks very risky on a job-security level. Fair or not, if you draft a well-known player and he tanks – everyone forgets. If you stick your neck out for someone nobody has heard of and he tanks, people remember. Bryan Anger, anyone?

The Jaguars drafting Murray State linebacker Quincy Williams – I assume that’s what this question references – had nothing to do with his brother being well-known. And it was neither gutsy, nor stupid – at least not any more than any other draft selection. You’re looking at the draft in a way the people drafting don’t see it. When NFL teams scout and draft, they don’t say “Hey, has Daniel Jeremiah heard of Player X? Gee, I hope so because then all of the media and our fans will praise us on Twitter and we’ll get a good draft grade!!” That’s the world of the fans and the observer, but the personnel people must live in a different world. They scout the player during the season, then have multiple people within the organization study the player. If the player is good enough, he goes on the draft board along with a few hundred other players the process had deemed good enough. If a player is a value selection at some point in the process, you take him. And when you do, you aren’t worrying what @NFLDraftGuru123456789 is saying about it. You better not be worrying about that, anyway. If that’s your concern, you won’t be drafting very long. Also, you made the point that people forget it if a well-known player tanks. Hmmmm …

Unhipcat from Palm Desert and it’s hot

John, gotta say I’m not impressed with some of the UDFAs we’ve signed. I think we could have signed them later.

I laughed at this.

John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell has drafted a number of players from small schools such as Ohio, Florida International, Montana, Monmouth, Appalachian State and Central Arkansas. Absolutely none of them are on the team. Why should fans have any confidence that his latest small-school venture will turn out any differently? His draft mistakes are starting to pile up. Time to move on …

Teams draft players from small schools every year. Some work out. Some don’t. Teams draft players from big schools all the time. Some work out. Some don’t. Have confidence in whatever you want. Or don’t. It really won’t have anything to do with whether Williams is good.

Jeremy from Bellevue, NE

I have liked Telvin Smith but he’s just another guy. A replaceable player. He has continued to miss tackles and plays in every season so far. He’s just a guy who doesn’t have the decency to communicate with his employer.

One not really fer Telvin ...

Roger from London, UK

Hi, John. Appreciating that your focus is on covering Jaguars news, I'm wondering what your view is of the AFC South for the upcoming season? Most divisions have one team (at least) that stands out as the weak link, but to me all four teams in the AFC South look strong and equal. I can see all four finishing in the range 9-7 to 7-9, which will be one very tight division.

The AFC South could be the NFL’s most competitive division next season, and none of the four teams winning the division would be a shock. I doubt all will finish in the range from 9-7 to 7-9 – but only because that’s a statistical rarity in the NFL.

Dave from Jacksonville

Well, Zone the Jags sure check a lot of "boxes" in the 2019 NFL Draft. Do you really think it's that easy: just check some boxes and it's off to the playoffs? They were terrible last season.

Of course it’s not that easy. Quarterback Nick Foles must be what the Jaguars believe he will be, they must stay healthy and they must show an ability to make plays in the clutch and win close games. It’s the National Football League. It’s never easy. Every team wants to win.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Don’t sleep on Space City University. The Argonauts have a redshirt senior pass rusher who didn’t even start playing football until he was a senior in high school. Definitely has traits that translate to the next level. #SCU

DontsleeponSCU

Steve Sunroom Couch

Dear, John: Help me understand draft capital. So, I'm to assume Smoot was a better selection than, say Elflein or Feeney? As long as the Jaguars got an Illinois alum rather than a solid O-line pick, that makes it prudent?

Wow. You do need some help. When I say “draft capital,” I’m talking about the ability to select a player or use the selection to trade up and get another player – thereby using that “capital.” Selecting Dawuane Smoot over Feeney had nothing to do with “draft capital.” It was a choice of one player over another.

Nathan from St. Augustine, FL

Love the Josh Allen pick! The Jags’ third-and-long defensive line should bring back the plus-turnover ratio from 2017 with an improved offense. My question, though, is wouldn’t Taven Bryan be the rush defensive tackle instead of Marcell? Go Jags!

Eventually, yes. But while Marcell Dareus indeed is the nose tackle, he is a very good pass rusher when that’s his focus. And until Bryan shows he’s the better option, Dareus figures to get a lot of plays in passing situations.

Jagninator from (formerly of) Section 124

Lemme tell you about “draft capital.” Since 2011, the Jags have traded UP 9 times and traded DOWN 2 times. Now you can tell me all day about “getting the player you want,” but empirical evidence says that NFL execs aren’t as prescient as they think they are. This draft thing is a best-guess kinda scenario. And in that scenario, I want more lottery tickets – not fewer. The Jags’ record since 2011 would seem to back that up.

Now, here’s someone with a decent grasp of “draft capital.” It is about moving up and moving down. And if your point is that the draft is an inexact science, you’re right. It’s best described as a percentage game. You do everything you can to increase your percentages by just a little bit, but you do so realizing you’re depending on human beings – which means depending on a lot of factors outside your control. And it means your percentage is not going to be 100. Or 90. Or 80. The best general managers “miss” on multiple selections every year. That’s just how it is, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to use their draft capital as best they can.

Sam from Orange Park, FL

If some people think finding an edge rusher is easy should go back and look at some of the talent we were trotting out onto the field from 2010-2014. Good Lord.

Fair.

Rick from Franconia, VA

O, I knew Josh Allen could rush the passer but had no idea he was also so accomplished as a linebacker in coverage and against the run. Seems like a guy you want on the field as much as possible. Do you think he’s a three-down player - SAM on running downs and edge rusher on passing downs?

Allen has the skill set to play linebacker, but I don’t anticipate that happening soon. He’s a rookie. Let him figure out how to find his locker first.

Mike from Jacksonville

Several teams traded out of low first-round round picks this year. I would think the benefit of keeping a player in their rookie contract for an additional and optional fifth year would be a value I wouldn't want to part with. Do teams factor that fifth year when determining value of a late first-round round pick?

Yes.

Bob from Ocala, FL

John, will there ever be another Culligan cheerleader or was she a once in a lifetime talent?

I would say we might be talking about a once-in-generational talent as opposed to a once-in-a-lifetime talent, but I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Bob from Sumter, SC

With the dust settling from the draft the truth is coming out. Insiders report the Jaguars chose a Power 5 “beast” wide receiver with the second third-round pick, but Gene Smith changed the pick on the way from the draft room. Caldwell’s a joke. Reliable sources say he could have traded Telvin Smith for a first rounder and then traded down and gotten five picks. Videos have surfaced clearly showing a rocking chair in the draft room. Eye witnesses report Coughlin is so old he had to nap in between picks and then be woken up for interviews. When will you stop being a shill for this team and start reporting what’s REALLY going on? You probably don’t even have a mock draft yet for 2020.

On to OTAs!

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