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O-Zone: Reasonable expectations

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Richard from Orange Park, FL:
What do you place the odds at that the Jaguars would have sent Paul P. the way of Marcedes Lewis and Allen Hurns if he had not retired?
John: You're asking if the Jaguars would have – rather unceremoniously – parted ways with middle linebacker Paul Posluszny in the manner they did with tight end Marcedes Lewis and wide receiver Allen Hurns had Posluszny not announced his retirement last month. It's an understandable question because all three players were experienced veterans who appeared to be past their peak seasons with the franchise. Still, the situations are fundamentally different because the Jaguars released Lewis and Hurns; they were under contract for the 2018 season. That would not have happened to Posluszny because he was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. As for whether the Jaguars would have re-signed Posluszny, that would have come down to whether the sides could have agreed to a deal. I believe both sides would have wanted that – and I think there's a good chance it could have happened. So, no … I don't think the Jaguars would have parted ways with Posluszny in the way they did Lewis/Hurns.
Charlie from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Shall I compare thee to a lovely summer's day?
John: I'll google this.
Robert from Jacksonville:
I'll get this started … why haven't we signed Dez yet? Fire everyone.
John: I got many emails this week about the Jaguars possibly signing wide receiver Dez Bryant after the veteran's release from the Dallas Cowboys Friday. The idea makes sense. I don't know that he's the player he was four years ago, and it's hard to predict what it would take financially to make it happen. But if it works under the cap … maybe. Stay tuned.
Tim from Oklahoma City, OK:
I bet your inbox is chock-full of "I HOPE WE SIGN DEZ!!!!!" How miserable that must be.
John: No, it's great. Why wouldn't it be? Honestly, Tim, you need to cheer up. You can't go around miserable all the time. That's no way to live.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
Why wasn't Marcedes Lewis used more in the red zone, particularly in the playoffs? They had success with him on fade routes and jump balls in the red zone when they went to it. He is 6-feet-7 and difficult for most defenders to defend on jump balls. I thought I would see more of this during the playoffs. Mike Gesicki of Penn State seems like a fine choice at the bottom of Round 1 or top of Round 2. Production and nice athleticism shown at the combine. This offense needs more production from tight end.
John: The Jaguars schemed quite a bit for Lewis last season. Sometimes, when you scheme a lot toward a certain player defenses figure out you're scheming that way and the scheming therefore becomes less effective. As for the tight end, I agree the offense needs more production from the position and I believe you'll see the Jaguars try to get more next season.
Gabe from Washington, DC:
Given all the resources devoted to special teams - after all, a few million dollars here or there could have been used to retain cornerback Aaron Colvin or wide receiver Allen Robinson - is it fair to expect a Top 5 unit in 2018?
John: Sure. Why not?
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I think Poz will always be part of the Jaguars – and when the Jaguars win the Super Bowl, he will be a part of that, too. He also is a jar on the shelf in case he is needed this year. I say the guy is working out right now. His name will be in the stadium someday.
John: Posluszny undoubtedly means a great deal to the franchise and many of its fans. But you're implying that he could play next season if needed. I would be shocked if that happens – not because he couldn't do it, but because I doubt he would do it. Part of the makeup that made him the consummate professional was his work ethic and preparation. I can't see him playing if he hasn't prepared in the manner in which he is accustomed.
John from Jacksonville:
The best part of the upcoming draft for me is the day after it is over. Yes, there will be picks for our team and I'll get to read about them. Yes, we'll probably have a pick for the offensive line, a pick for a tight end and a pick for the defense. We might even have a pick for a punter and a quarterback. Yes, all kinds of picks because picking is fun. In the meantime, my biggest concern is my next meal. Thanks for all you do (and don't do). Looking forward to another great regular season once the noise leading up to it is behind us.
John: I'm the first to admit the draft is not my favorite part of the NFL calendar. I don't hate it, but there are other parts of the year I prefer. But John … if you don't like the noise, don't listen.
Bob from Sumter, SC:
I think if Dallas Goedert of South Dakota State or Mike Gesicki of Penn State are available, the Jags will use the first-round selection on a tight end. They would add a new dimension to the offense, loosen things up for the run and pass game, give defenses something else to deal with. Overall the biggest impact position, which is what a first-round selection is supposed to bring, right?
John: The closer we get to the draft the less I believe the Jaguars will use their first-round selection on a tight end. I particularly think this is the case if no tight ends have been selected when the Jaguars are on the clock at No. 29 overall. If that's the case, then it's entirely possible that one of top tight ends – a list that includes Geskicki, Goedert, Mark Andrews of Oklahoma and Hayden Hurst of South Carolina – will be available when the Jaguars select at the end of Round 2. As far as what a first-round selection is "supposed to bring," it's supposed to bring a really good player that will be around a long time and have a good chance of being a core, second-contract level player. If the player is that, he'll probably make an impact.
Moose from Shawshank, NY:
Have you seen the new uniforms? Are they cool? Do you like them?
John: Uniforms?
Ryan from Fremont, OH:
If the Jaguars had a Top 5 selection in this year's draft, who do you think they would select? I'd have a hard time passing up one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. Saquon Barkley paired with Leonard Fournette in the backfield would also be an intriguing idea.
John: If the Jaguars were selecting in the Top 5 this month, it would mean they had a disastrous season in 2017 – and that there possibly would be a different general manager, head coach and even senior vice president of football operations. And even if those people were in place under your scenario, they likely would be looking at massive changes. I would imagine the first such change would be the best quarterback available at the time of the selection because that's usually the first change teams make when making massive changes. I can't imagine in your scenario taking a running back.
Bruce from Jacksonville:
Happy Days ARE here again - on reruns. Oh, wait. No, they aren't. Now, I am even more unhappy. You're right. They never are.
John: I'm always right. Except when I'm not.
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, I've noticed of late that a fair number of fellow Zone enthusiasts have been suggesting that a good strategy for the Jaguars in this year's draft is to trade back because the starting line-ups are pretty well set. However, doesn't it seem that the best strategy when you have a good, established squad is to follow the age-old adage of just selecting the best available player? Don't worry about trading back. Don't mess around with taking flyers on guys to see if they're diamonds in the rough. Just select the BAP so the team has the best chance at continuing to draft, develop and stay good. It's not only the Patriots who have been successful at this.
John: You don't trade back because your lineup is "set." You trade back because you believe you can improve your team more with multiple players selected later than with one player selected earlier. You don't simply trade away early selections to take "flyers" on player. If you like a player and believe strongly in the player, take him. If he's good, it will be a good thing. It's amazing how teams find a way to use good players.
Austin from Atlanta, GA:
Yeah, John. Clearly, we should be expecting seven-to-eight Super Bowls in the next five years alone!!
John: I know.

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