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O-Zone: Pleased with the pick

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jordan from Joplin:
Your thoughts on the pick?
John: I trust you mean the Jaguars' selection Thursday of University of Florida edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. with the No. 3 selection of the 2015 NFL Draft. Yes? Good. First off, there's not much that can go wrong when you're picking third and you have no interest in the two players who are going off the board at No. 1 and 2. That was the Jaguars' situation Thursday; because they took quarterback Blake Bortles last year they didn't want Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston this year. That left them with their choice of any player they wanted this year. They decided to go with what they believed was the best edge rusher in the draft. If there had been a clearer difference between Southern California defensive tackle Leonard Williams and Fowler, the decision might have been tougher. They believed the players were similar, so it was relatively easy to select Fowler. I thought heading into the draft that they would take Williams if available because I thought he was the best player. But to take an edge rusher? To fill the glaring need that also is premium, hard-to-find position? It's hard to find much fault in that.
Kyle from Ohio:
Considering the importance of the LEO and OTTO positions in the Bradley defense, any chance they take a chance to get Gregory? One mans the Leo and the other the OTTO. They could be deadly together, assuming Gregory can get clean.
John: Nebraska edge rusher Randy Gregory is indeed available entering Round 2. That's mind-boggling for a guy considered a Top 10 lock in January. So, your theory indeed is intriguing. Your theory is not absurd. Your theory could happen, theoretically. Realistically, I don't think it will because the Jaguars see Fowler as pretty much purely a Leo pass rusher. Gregory is absolutely not an Otto because he appears pretty limited against the run, so it would be hard to find a place for him in this defense.
B-Man from Washington, DC:
I love the pick O-man, I really do. I'm just hoping to everything that we didn't pick him because he's a "homer." Williams was the consensus BAP, so my heart wants to say we picked Fowler because we really saw him as that much better than Williams and not just because he could produce more ticket sales or marketing hype. Talk to me.
John: I'm either a lot smarter or a lot dumber (the latter is far more likely) than you because your email was honestly the first time I'd considered the possibility that Dante Fowler Jr. could be a selection about marketing or ticket sales. I get that he went to Florida and he's a dynamic kid, but while I say very few things with absolute confidence I am absolutely sure Fowler was a football decision that had nothing to do with popularity off the field.
Theo from Midwest:
Tell Dave that if London Collins is there, pick him!
John: Should I tell him about Landon Collins, too?
Scott from Aurora, IL:
I'm surprised. I would have picked both Williams and Cooper over Fowler. To be a top pick I'd say you need to be able to pass rush AND run stop. Fowler does just one of those.
John: First, Fowler is pretty good against the run for a pass-rusher. That's why he was considered a Top 5 selection; he brings more than one dimension. Second, if you can really, really rush the passer, you can justify yourself as a top selection pretty easily.
Glenn from Near-Canada, NY:
Did you write that article that quickly, or did you have a stash put together for each of the most likely top picks, just waiting and ready to go? Please tell me it was the former... my wife insists it was the latter but I won't let her tarnish the image of the great O-Man.
John: There are some questions best left unanswered. Are Jim Morrison and Tupac really dead? How many licks does it take to get to the middle of a Tootsie Pop? How do you change wiper blades; can humans really do it or is it a myth? Your question doesn't belong in this category, but if I can figure out the wiper blades thing I'd feel a lot less self-conscious down at the garage.
Leon from Austin, TX:
Great pick with Dante Fowler Jr. with the No. 3 overall pick. I feel this is the K. Mack of last year's draft. Your take?
John: That's not a bad comparison. Mack was a linebacker who transcended positions to a point last offseason, and Fowler transcends his position a little this offseason. He could probably play strong-side linebacker if needed, and he may even get some time there. But Fowler also is more of a pure edge rusher than Mack. That's why the Jaguars selected him and that's where he'll be expected to excel.
Brooks from Dallas, TX:
John, I saw an ESPN article that said that Leonard Williams was the first defensive player selected at No. 6 by the Jets. Are they simply protesting the Jaguars' existence, or are the Jags converting Fowler to an offensive position? I'm pretty happy with the Fowler selection though. #DTWD
John: Writing on deadline can lead to errors. I've made more than a few in that situation in my day. I probably made a few Thursday night. I can confirm that the Jaguars selected Dante Fowler Jr. at No. 3, though. That's not an error. And they're not moving him to offense. I don't think.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Six-threeish and two sixtyish, but moves like that, well done.
John: The Jaguars sure think so.
Adam from Sachse, TX: can't go wrong there. I honestly thought they would go with Williams, but Fowler is certainly a fine choice. Now the question turns to Rounds 2 and 3. I was hoping Damarious Randall was going to fall all the way to the second but Green Bay got him. Where do you think the Jags might go from here?
John: Randall might have been an intriguing decision at No. 36. He fit what the Jaguars needed at the safety position. I thought he would be available in the second round. I thought wrong. As far as where the Jaguars go in the second round, I expect them to take a running back sometime on Day Two. Then again, I thought they would take Leonard Williams at No. 3. I thought wrong there, too. That's a pattern apparently.
Matt from Stroudsburg, PA:
If you could make a team out of everyone in the draft this year and pair it with the best coach in football (i.e. Belichick), how good do you think that team would be this year, next year, and five years from now?
John: How quickly would the best quarterback in the draft become Tom Brady?
Nate from Visalia, CA:
Well, edge rusher-☑. We didn't get Melvin, but ill survive...barely. I wonder, what was being offered for our pick?
John: Nothing of any note, apparently. Dave Caldwell said last Friday he had received no calls about the No. 3 selection, and he said Thursday he got no realistic offers. Teams wanting to trade were contacting the Titans at No. 2. Once Tennessee chose Mariota there apparently was little interest in a trade one selection later.
Doug from Jacksonville :
John: To each his own.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
How much improvement do you see coming this year from Andre Branch and Ryan Davis? Do you think they will both be starters or part of the D line rotation? Thank you.
John: I think both have a chance to be part of the defensive line rotation, though adding another Leo to the mix will make it more difficult for each. I'd have been surprised before the draft if either were starters next season; now, I'd be shocked.
Fred from Naples, FL:
The best rock n roll line is...."I met her in a smoky room.....smell of wine and cheap perfume.."
John: Personally, I'll go with, "She was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean …"
Steve from Jacksonville:
Is nine years for a running back a short-lived career?
John: No.
Gator from the Couch in Gainesville:
'Bout time the Jags used their brains!! Great pick.
John: I thought you might like that one.

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