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O-Zone: People are people

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Thomas from Blacksburg, VA

The Jags sure do seem to be trying to push this character angle hard, aren't they? As someone who endured the Gene Smith "Character" all-stars, let me be the first to shrug.

Shrug if you shall, but there's nothing wrong with factoring character into personnel decisions. The Jaguars during the 2020 NFL Draft clearly tried to select good players who want to work hard and who want to focus on football. That's not in itself a bad thing, and there was nothing to indicate the players selected weren't good players in addition to being good people with a professional approach. I personally don't get hung up much on character or how a guy is off the field, but there's nothing wrong with coaches and general managers wanting "their types of guys." If you're going to do down, go down with guys you want to be around.

Jaginator from formerly of) Section 124

The Jags' brass may like our offensive line, but let me tell you what's not up for debate. Last year, our o-line led the league in holding penalties. You know when an o-lineman is most likely to hold?? When he's getting beat. And guess which three players led the team last year in total penalties?? Right tackle Jawaan Taylor, center Brandon Linder and left tackle Cam Robinson. In fact, they were three of the 13-most penalized players in the entire league last year. That's not my amateur assessment of our o-line. Those are plain ol' basic facts.


Jeff from Wake Forest, NC

So, are they done? Think any more free-agent signings or is this the group they roll with?

The Jaguars will continue monitoring free agency, and could acquire a veteran or two before training camp or preseason. But I wouldn't expect that to be a larger number, and I wouldn't expect high-profile players involved.

Brian from Jacksonville

I count five defensive contributors, three of which will probably start, in the Jaguars' rookie class. That's good, right? Five rookies on defense? Go Jags!

It's a concern. No doubt about it. But can they play?

Ien from Harrisburg

John: How did you feel about the draft on team speed. Everyone in our division is increasing team speed. Example: Houston with three receivers under 4.40 seconds; Indy as well. I hope we can keep up ... good players, but slow team ...

Speed is important. Something else important: Can they play?

Dallas from Cotter, AR

KOAF, with COVID-19 restrictions starting to loosen, if some states start allowing more access and some don't, will the teams in states with lower restrictions be allowed to start practicing or will they be required to wait until all states allow it?

NFL facilities will open and football activities will start for all 32 teams when all 32 teams are able to operate in equal capacities.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Great Draft, IMO! Loved the first four picks, liked the remaining picks. Dave did what I would have done: drafted 12 players with 12 picks all very cost effective and under control for 4-5 years, and the first 3 have the ability to be home runs. Keep it up. Oh, by the way we have a boat load of picks next year as well.

I feel so dirty right now.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

If Yannick plays for the Jags this season do you think he will be a cancer in the locker room?

I don't know if defensive end Yannick Ngakoue will play for the Jaguars in 2020. If he does, I don't believe he will be a cancer in the locker room. He was upset about his contract last season and played effectively with no ill-effects in the locker room. I believe he genuinely cares about being good and cares about his teammates/coaches enough to behave the same way this season.

Craig from Jacksonville

John do you know of an NFL team that ever "tanked" to get an individual player?

Of course not.

Sam from Sacramento, CA

Meh ... are you as optimistic about the draft class as the coaching staff? Too many picks with a few reaches. C grade.

Most – if not all – observers haven't the foggiest idea if a draft selection is a reach. They might think a player is a reach, and they might hear an analyst say a player is a reach. But they don't know. This is not meant to insult, but to point out that teams spend years researching a player's potential, his background and medical history and observers … well, don't.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

The more I study former St. John's offensive tackle Ben Bartch the more I'm liking the pick in the fourth round. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say he's going to contribute immediately and become one of our best linemen. He went against some of the best at Senior Bowl practice and more than held his own. Could be a real steal in the fourth round.

Josh likes Ben Bartch.

Dwight from Naples, FL

So, the Jags have a great season and have a home playoff game, wanna bet it's in London!

I would bet my house, life savings and the assets of everybody I know that wouldn't happen. The logistics of planning and executing a home game in London on such short notice would preclude it. Cute question, though. #Edgy

Hasson from Irving, TX

Reading up on C.J. Henderson and watching his highlights. The kid looks good, but he is not Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey was a generational talent. It feels like we drafted Henderson to replace the production of A.J. Bouye, not Ramsey's. Would you agree?

The Jaguars didn't draft Henderson to "technically" replace either player. But know this: The Jaguars selected him No. 9 overall and the expectation is he will be a player who can take away the opponent's best receiver. No. 9 is early for a cornerback. You don't take one there unless you believe he's special.

Eric from Duval

I am as a big fan of Minshew as most, but the kid missed some wide open receivers last year and panicked in the pocket quite a bit during stretches. Potential is there for Gardner to become the "guy", but it would be foolish not to consider the most important position during the draft if value and player makes sense. The mustache is only cool if its winning ball games.


Brian from Pensacola, FL

With the offseason moves and them bypassing a defensive tackle in the first round, is it possible the Jaguars' defense is moving to a pure 3-4 defense?

I doubt the Jaguars will refer to their defense as a "pure 3-4" next season, and I doubt that will be their base look all the time. The defensive that they run always has had hybrid element, and therefore always has been capable of playing like a 3-4. And it absolutely appears they will use a lot of those elements much more than they have in the past. The personnel is in place for it.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Pretty easy solution to keeping all the players happy all the time. Ask them how much they are worth and then pay them that amount. Ask them which players shouldn't be cut or traded because they are good friends. Then keep them on the roster. Then ask them who they've been hanging with from other teams and sign them, too. If the owner has a problem, he can just print some more money. Finally, encourage players to vent their frustrations on public media platforms – especially when they have been disrespected by anyone for any reason. Oh: and, by all means, allow input into when a coach should and should NOT throw a challenge flag. I feel strongly that if the clowns in the front office followed these simple steps the players will be successful but more importantly happy and respected.

Shad Khan … hire this man!!!

Chris from Delray Beach, FL

There's talk that we drafted a lot of "character" guys and an effort has been made to clear the roster of malcontents. The issue I have with that is, "good" character today is not a predictor of what will happen two-or-three years from now. Yann was touted as a good character guy, even Jalen, for his dedication to his young family and work in the community. Fournette was praised for the work he did at his former high school and how he elevated himself out of poverty and life challenges. How has that character worked out? These young men will mature and grow with all the influences that money and fame can bring; we can be sitting here two years from now lamenting how Josh Allen is refusing to play because he feels disrespected. There is no crystal ball and no guarantees that these "good characters" will remain that way.

Well, yes … players are human beings and human beings change. There's only so much in life you can control, but you can still try.