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O-Zone: Prepping for a long week

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Jeremy from Wise, VA:
Would trading the No. 33 pick for a player already in the league be considered building through the draft? I think there could be some action for that pick at the top of the second round, either for more picks or players.
John: It wouldn't be surprising at all for the Jaguars to trade the No. 33 selection. That's a pick that could have value, partly because it's essentially a first-round selection and partly because teams will have time Thursday night and Friday morning/afternoon to reset their draft board and consider potential moves. I'd be surprised, though, if the Jaguars traded that selection for a player or players already in the league. Building through the draft almost always means drafted players who enter the league in your system and learn/develop that way. The No. 33 spot seems perfect to trade back and add more players in that vein.
Sage from Orlando, FL:
The Jaguars probably won't draft a right tackle (instead focusing on defense), so how about signing Eric Winston? If they sign only one guy in free agency . . .
John: It makes some sense if the price is right. I'd be surprised if that's the case.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
I understand you can't allow fans to dictate your drafting approach. At the same time, given we are selecting No. 2, I believe it would be in the best interest of fan relations to at least take a known asset. You really can't go wrong with Werner, Jones or any number of other names out there. It would be very disappointing if the Jags selected another "He got potential" player instead of the sure thing.
John: Greg, I stopped reading at "in the best interest of fan relations . . ." You can't sit in the draft room and worry about whether fans have heard of a player. You must draft with the idea of building the best roster possible. To do anything else is to weaken the team, and anyone who drafts with any idea except building the strongest roster possible won't be drafting very long.
Ahmahd from Jacksonville:
John, the next time you interview Dave Caldwell can you ask him what he believes is the best way to build a roster?
John: Actually, that's on me. I should have asked him already.
Phil from Fort Collins, CO:
Why are player salaries such a shell game? What's the purpose of signing a guy to big contract with only a percent being guaranteed? The owner, the agent, the player and the fans all know the player will never see the end of that contract without it being restructuring or the player being let go. What's the actual purpose of the way contracts are written these days in the NFL?
John: A lot of it is ego. A player – and more specifically, an agent – wants to have a deal at a certain level because if he doesn't get that deal, it makes him look bad. If he looks bad, his chances of signing other players goes down. There also is sometimes at least a bit of protection for the player. If a player performs at a high level and the team wants to keep him, then the team must pay the salary as written in the contract. If the team decides not to pay him they can release him and the player can go sign somewhere else. Either way, as long as a player is performing and some team wants him, he gets paid. But to answer what seems to be your ultimate question, "Is it a weird system?" Yeah, it could be a lot clearer.
Mark from High Springs, FL:
The more I look at this year's draft, the more depressed I get. It looks like Joeckel may be available at No. 2, but we won't take him because of Monroe. We either need to come to terms with the fact that we don't have a functioning quarterback (something I'm not willing to admit) or that our offensive line was one of the most porous in the NFL last season. I haven't seen why Monroe is elite, tell me why. I hear we need a pass rush, and we should look to Jarvis Jones; a player who's already showing signs of injury for a team with one of the highest number of injured players two years in a row. Not to mention the fact that we've looked to improve our pass rush in the draft every year for the past five years with no avail. Finally, we've got a new general manager taking the wheel for the first time in an NFL draft, backed by another new coach also taking the wheel for the first time under an owner who has a sole record of giving us the worst season in the history of the franchise. Give me something to be excited about.
John: The River Run's coming up. A lot of people are excited about that.
Joe from Jacksonville:
Big-O Daddy, I loved your mock one draft and the Jags selection. Keep stylin and just remember haters gonna hate.
John: I am indeed styling. That's often said about me. As far as the selection, Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, he's as good a selection right now as any at No. 2. The draft is nearly two months away, and there still seem to be five, six seven or more players who could be selected at the spot It's quite likely – even probable – that mock version 2.0 (stay tuned) will have another selection, and just as likely that the real selection will be someone else. It's going to be an interesting few weeks.
Chris from Jacksonville:
Would you trade Maurice Jones-Drew for Revis Island?
John: Sure, so long as Revis is 100 percent. That much, I don't know if we'll know for a while, but if he is, a true shutdown corner is a more valued position than elite running back. This trade won't happen, by the way, but that answers your question.
Keisha from Virginia Beach, VA and Section 238:
How often does GM Caldwell call up Todd McShay and Mel Kiper to discuss what he should be doing with his draft board?
John: Precisely as often as he should.
Trace from Jacksonville:
I'm really concerned about us giving up on Derek Cox in addition to cutting Rashean Mathis. I know Cox was injury prone, but when he was on form, he was great. The chance of having Cox is better than locking in Harris and Middleton at the corners (with Molden as nickel corner), since I don't see Caldwell going for any of the good corners on the free-agent market (not to mention that, unless we use our first pick on Milliner, which would probably be a little high for him and we have other needs). What do you see the Jags doing at cornerback?
John: Cornerback has become a focal point for people analyzing the Jaguars' roster, and with reason. With the players expected to not return – Mathis and Cox foremost among them – it indeed is a position that will need to be restocked. However, it's probably time to rethink the approach a bit. From Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley's point of view, the slate is clean and it's not really a matter of what players have been, but what they will be. Mathis is entering his 11th year and from Caldwell's perspective, it's easy to see why it's time to move on. Cox has had injuries, and if he is seeking elite-corner money, it's equally easy to see why he doesn't fit. Now, the question is, "Who plays corner next season?" Mike Harris would seem to be an option – perhaps as a starter and perhaps more likely as a nickel corner – but beyond that, it's likely the team would have two or three new players playing significant and even starting roles next season. There are parts of this roster that will be entirely new next season, and corner appears to be a position where that's likely the case.
Duran from Rapid City, SD:
I'm a little confused on the decision to let Derek Cox hit free agency. Maybe there is more to it than we are being told (injury-related). Seemed not too long ago that we gave some draft picks for him and he turned into a good investment for the defense. What are your thoughts on the decision not to (apparently) re-sign him?
John: There does seem to remain confusion. Let's see if I can clear it up. He wants more money than the Jaguars believe he's worth. The Jaguars didn't want to spend $10 million to franchise him. They believe he has been injured too much to be worth a long-term deal. There are new decision-makers in the building. The team is moving forward and building through the draft. And so on.
John from Jacksonville:
John, can you ask David if we can pick up RT Eric Winston? I don't know anything about him. I know we need a RT and that he is a RT. He is familiar with zone blocking and that is what we are going to do. People say he is good, so now I want him. Please send this directly to Mr. Caldwell. Make sure the subject line has an exclamation point so he knows it is important.
John: Forwarded. Thanks for writing.
Alan from Vernon, CT:
What round pick did the Jags get for Mike Thomas? How many picks do they have in each round?
John: The Jaguars received a 2014 fourth-round selection for Mike Thomas this past season. As of now, they have one selection in each of the seven rounds in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Jared from Wisconsin:
John, how close are we to resigning Derek Cox and Daryl Smith cause those guys are THE team.
John: I'm going to have a long week next week.

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