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O-Zone: Reaching for the check

INDIANAPOLIS – We're at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Usually, that would mean a series of all-combine, all-the-time O-Zones. Usually.

This is not a usual week because Tuesday's State of the Franchise presentation was not usual in any sense. People are still buzzing about the Shipyards presentation, so we'll talk that some this morning – and probably for a few days more. Of course, we'll talk combine, too.

Let's get to it … Alex from Jacksonville – the one and only:
For the first time in my life, I'm extraordinarily proud to be from Jacksonville, Florida. #DTWD
John: I've been proud to be from Jacksonville for a while, but yeah … be proud. Stick your chest out. Walk tall. Do all of those things proud people do, whatever those things may be. #DTWD
Rob from Jacksonville:
If we sign a bunch of high-priced "experience," we will be unable to re-sign our young talent when it becomes experienced? I have a feeling that if these picks pan out the way Dave/Gus plan we will be real close to the cap number in years to come. Then, everyone will be happy.
John: Just because the Jaguars are going to spend more this offseason doesn't mean they have to spend to the point that they give themselves future cap problems. One reason the team has signed free agents the past two offseasons to more pay-as-you-go deals is to keep themselves in a positive cap situation. The Jaguars won't be able to stay quite so positive in that area when pursuing higher-profile players, but spending doesn't have to mean mortgaging everything about your future. But whatever happens, everyone won't be happy. Bliss is more elusive than that.
Christopher from Philadelphia, PA:
Randall Cobb for $9 million per year!?! Receiver isn't the Jaguars' biggest need, but I hope Caldwell offers $10 million within five minutes of the beginning of free agency.
John: Who knows? Maybe he will.
Levi from Bloomington, IN:
For the people questioning whether or not Julius Thomas is actually good or just benefiting from playing with Peyton, I watched him line up at wide receiver one game and made a cornerback look like a stick in the mud on a slant route. I think he really is that good.
John: He's a very good pass-receiving tight end. He's far from the league's greatest run-blocking tight end, but to listen to most readers of this site and a whole lot of Jaguars fans, run-blocking means nothing when evaluating tight ends and receiving means EVERYTHING! So, yeah … sign him!!!
Sam from Kelowna, Canada:
Hey, John …. Albert Breer had some very interesting things to say about Justin Blackmon in his article about wide receiver prospect Dorial Green-Beckham. He stated that people inside the Jaguars organization have come to find out that Blackmon's issues have become significantly worse. First, I'd love to hear why I heard it from an NFL Analyst before anyone from the Jaguars, whether the statement is true or not … but is it? Because it's heartbreaking if so.
John: Breer may or may not have had interesting things to say about Blackmon; whatever they were, it appears you may have misinterpreted them. Breer was writing about Green-Beckham's off-field issues in college and how teams handle the issue of drafting a player with such problems. While doing so, he brought up a point that people inside the Jaguars' organization believed Blackmon's problems became worse after they drafted him. From reading the article, it does not appear that Breer was reporting that Blackmon's problems have become worse recently. I don't know what Blackmon's situation is, and the reason you don't hear anything from anyone from the Jaguars about Blackmon is that there are strict rules limiting any sort of contact between a suspended player and the franchise. They are rules that are enforced and therefore followed pretty closely.
Jakob from Colorado:
Can Jacksonville try to sign Justin Houston if he does hit the market? We need him.
John: I'd be stunned if Houston hits the market.
Trent from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Why does Indianapolis get to host the combine every year? Seems unfair.
John: Indianapolis hosts the NFL Scouting Combine every year because there is adequate hotel space in downtown Indianapolis and because those hotels are within walking distance of Lucas Oil Stadium. There also is adequate convention space around Lucas Oil to hold the many meetings that surround the combine. Remember, the combine at its core is a scouting event that has significant logistical challenges because of the number of teams and players involved. Having the event run smoothly is more important than being fair to different cities or shuffling it around for fan or other purposes. For now.
James from Jacksonville:
Yo, Zone. The Shipyards upgrades are very impressive. But … where's the money coming from to build this concept? And do they really think tourism is going to keep it going? I mean, Jacksonville is a great place but we aren't exactly a "have-to-visit" destination. Besides that, we don't have the population or the economy to support it if tourism can't. There are lots of question marks here.
John: There are, and those questions likely will be discussed and answered in the coming months. I don't yet have all the answers. I do know that Shad Khan doesn't have too, too many massive fails that I know of, and until that changes I won't bet against a vision of this happening – and happening successfully.
Paul from Jacksonville:
John, some time ago I wrote in saying that Shad Khan might just end up "writing the book" on how to turn around a franchise. I'm starting to think I'm wrong, not because I think he's failing, but because I don't think we're going to see another place in the NFL where an owner does so much to change a city in the process of turning around a franchise.
John: I can't say you're wrong. #DTWD
Kyle from Ohio:
Why are so many people quick to say that Caldwell, and Bradley should be fired and that Bortles is a bust? Did people think that Bradley and Caldwell would turn us into Super Bowl contenders in a year or two?
John: The answer to your second question is, "Yes, apparently some did." That also answers your first question.
Stephen from Parsippany, NJ:
Who do you think the Jaguars will draft?
John: I think they will take Leonard Williams if they stay at No. 3 and if he is available; if he's not, I think they will take Randy Gregory or Dante Fowler, Jr.
Ross from Mechanicsville, VA:
O3, I lived in Jacksonville when the Jags started but can't remember where the Shipyards are. Are they just north of the stadium? Sorry, but it has been almost 20 years since I lived there. Thanks and can I call you, O3?
John: They are basically on the riverfront between the Main Street Bridge/Landing and EverBank Field – and no, you may not.
Trevor from Jville:
Hey John, do you feel like picking at the top of the draft limits the choices in a negative way? What I mean is with the expectation that only left tackle, defensive line and quarterback being worthy of a Top 3 pick we miss out on home runs at other positions and settle for OK because they play one of those big 3?
John: There is an element of that and you do have to be careful to balance the desire to lock down a premium position versus the chance to draft a premium player at another spot. I'd say for the most part picking early and being able to draft a player of that talent level outweighs the negative.
Jim from Meridian:
Wow is right. One word to describe Khan and Lamping: Transparent. What a great vision. Anyone still feel the London conspiracy?
John: Not anyone who's paying attention.
Mike from Jacksonville:
With all these renovations to the shipyards, when can we expect them to be complete?
John: They must be approved first, then they have to get started. It's obviously not a one-year turnaround time, but the idea that it will take decades – an idea I've heard more than once – is way, way off. My understanding is the vast majority of the project could be complete in a few years. But it's probably way too early for any sort of a timetable.
Bruce from Gotham:
I think one of the biggest items that was missed during The Shipyards presentation was that if these plans go will mean the return of the KHANSTRUCTION CAM!!!
John: The KHANSTRUCTION CAM!!! was cool. I liked it.
Dan from Wichita, KS:
I was speaking with the uncle of Blake Bell. The man told me that he has sought out the best sprint coach in the country. Could the Jags draft him to replace Lewis?
John: Unless that sprint coach can run and catch, too, probably not. Teaching players to run fast is cool, but it doesn't mean you should play tight end for the Jaguars.
Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL:
John, who's footing the bill for the Shipyards project?
John: Wait. What?

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