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O-Zone: Play on

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

You stated recently that you expect the Jaguars to select an offensive lineman or a cornerback in the NFL Draft. You didn't mention tight end or pass rusher? What gives, Zone?

I indeed wrote recently that I expect the Jaguars to either select offensive line or cornerback with the No. 24 overall selection of the 2023 NFL Draft Thursday. I have thought at times in recent weeks the Jaguars' Round 1 selection might be pass rusher, and I considered tight end a possibility throughout the pre-draft process. I have thought all along pass rusher was the most unlikely of this group because of where the Jaguars are selecting – and because of what it appears could be available there. I also more and more think signing a veteran pass rusher after the draft might be possible. As for tight end, it feels more and more the Jaguars like their current tight-end room and will wait until after Round 1 to address it. Cornerback makes sense because the player can play nickel – a clear need – immediately. Offensive line makes sense because they can add a left guard and/or swing tackle and fortify a position where they lost a major free agent earlier this offseason (right tackle Jawaan Taylor). That's the thought now. It's theory. A lot can change once the draft begins. It's Monday. We'll see what the week brings.

Ed from Jax by Lionel Playworld

What league-wide resources or tools does the NFL provide franchises to help manage their drafts? The league provides and regulates game film for teams. The NFL provides Microsoft Surface tablets and the backend IT for playbooks. Wouldn't it be great if all the teams used the same system to set up their draft boards? Then after, let's say, 15 years the league's draft boards can be made public for the fans. I can imagine the euphoria among sports journalists.

I don't think this would be great, and I'm not sure they would be any benefit. There's enough sameness in the world already. Would fans and journalists get a charge out of seeing teams' draft boards 10 or 15 years after a certain draft? Maybe. But that thrill wouldn't be enough to make me think the league should force all teams to prepare and run drafts the same way. It's OK for there to be a little free thinking in this world.

Don from Marshall, NC

For that first pick in the draft wouldn't another defensive lineman improve the team overall the most? If it's a top defensive player that drops because of all the quarterbacks drafted. If the right guy is there, then Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson mentioned improving the pass rush. The Jaguars are building a defense. The offense looks to be set as is with depth coming from later round picks. It will be fun to see what they do and whatever they decide. Go Jaguars!

Don is "all in" on pass rush. I doubt that will happen in Round 1. It's Monday. We'll see what the week brings.

Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA

Travon Walker lining up on the ground with linebacker Chad Muma, Foye Oluokun, and Devin Lloyd on the field at the same time sounds like an exciting package. That's what I love about these versatile defenses. You get a lot of athletic front seven players and you can move them around and build packages based on situations and matchups. This is a dominant strategy over rigidly running the same defensive packages and schemes. Which leads me to my question. Last year before the season in my effort to prognosticate I asked what it would mean if the Jaguars had a top 15 offense and a top 5 defense. They called me a madman. Although the offense clearly played better, the defense in the last quarter of the season played like one of the leagues better units. I see an athletic, versatile front with playmakers at every level. Now that they've had a season to gel (or jell?) do we think they're a Top 5 or Top 10 defense? I think they'll give up long drives at times and probably a lot of yards in the end but will produce turnovers in key moments and get the opposing offense off the field without giving up too many points.

A versatile defense with players moving around is great – if you have the personnel to run it. I expect the Jaguars to be good defensively in 2023 – particularly forcing turnovers. I don't expect them to be a Top 5 defense – in part because it's hard for a team with an explosive offense to be a Top 5 defense because their opponent is going to have a lot of possessions. I do expect the Jaguars' defense to be good enough this season to complement a very explosive offense and to be a playoff team with the potential to push deep into the postseason.

Boomgrounder from Moundsville, WV

Hey John, I trust my board is valued to fit my culture. See you on Draft Day!

Not if I see you first.

Ed from Jax by Lionel Playworld

Suggestion. The Jaguars should host an O-Zone day where readers of the column can socialize with you, staff and each other. While I wouldn't like to meet him, I bet Gary from St. Augustine would be popular. Maybe we could have it at the old Chi-Chi's on Arlington Expressway.

That sounds "awesome." I say we do it provided we can find a way to do this without the part about socializing with the readers.

Louis from Palm Coast, FL

I agree with Gary from St. Augustine. I don't like you very much.

Do you think I like being this way? Would anyone?

Boxcutter Bill from Massachusetts

OK. I haven't really cared about the draft analysis this year, but it's getting close and I really need to know. Who we drafting? Any possibility of moving up? Who would you draft?

I don't expect the Jaguars to trade up early. That's because Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke during the team's pre-draft luncheon seemed relatively confident that one of the two-to-four players the team really likes in Round 1 will be available at No. 24 overall. Another reason I don't expect them to trade up is I think they would like to get a tight end, offensive lineman and cornerback with ability to play immediately. They theoretically could do that with the Nos. 24, 56 and 88 selections. Trading one of those selections to trade up in Round 1 would make that task more difficult. One thing that might be interesting is how the Jaguars use their Round 4 selections – No. 121 and 127 overall. Using one of those selections to move up in Rounds 2-4 seems possible.

Vince from Farmington NM

Mr. O. Earlier this week a reader asked about Marcedes Lewis as a possibility for the Jaguars to pursue. Most of us fans really like Marcedes and the thought of a return just brings a smile to my face. But the more I think about it, the more it feels like a good move. It would most likely be an inexpensive addition for a veteran with the type of character and ethic Jacksonville covets and requires. The depth at this position can use some shoring and allow for other premium positions to be addressed in the draft. I'm not sure what type of money would be needed to make this happen, but I would think it may be fairly close to what a rookie contract might be, or at least close enough to make sense. Has the thought of Marcedes Lewis re-joining the Jaguars piqued your interest at all?

I like the idea of re-signing Lewis. I get no feel that there has been any interest on the part of the Jaguars. Remember: This is a new regime since Lewis left with no attachment there. Also: Don't assume Lewis would sign for near the rookie contract. He's a proud veteran. I'm sure he wants to play. I'm not sure he necessarily wants to play for the league minimum.

Fred from Naples, FL

Baalke knew that the 2023 draft was going to be a bad year for quality linebackers so he drafted both Lloyd and Muma last year. Great move by our GM as this is what good general managers do. How about one more fer Baalke?

Another fer Baalke.

Al from Fruit Cove

OK, Zone. Through a totally unexpected turn of events, the first 23 teams all draft punters. So, you have your choice of everyone in the draft. No trades allowed. For this Jags team, who is your No. 1 choice?

I would select outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. from Alabama because he's considered the best player not a quarterback. You can find a place for best players in drafts to play if they're not quarterbacks.

Joliet Jake Blues Calumet City, IL

JO- Who da bears gonna draft this year ?

We're putting the band back together.