O-Zone: Right 'em boyo

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars selected University of Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen No. 7 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft Thursday.

Some fans loved the selection. Some hated it.

The selection caused much happiness here in the O-Zone. And it caused much angst.

You know … pretty much like any draft selection ever.

Let’s get to it …

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I am a bit on the worried side about the offensive line. New Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles needs time to throw – and if anyone gets injured on the offensive line, it suddenly doesn't look great. Is it going to be possible to get someone who can start at right tackle this year in the second round?

Few NFL teams enter seasons without some concerns in an area or two, and there’s a good chance the Jaguars will have some concerns at right tackle or tight end entering 2019 training camp. That was going to be the case no matter what they did in Round 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft, because going into training camp with rookies in key roles automatically means uncertainty. That’s what rookies are: uncertain. So, if you thought drafting a right tackle or tight end was going to solve all problems and ease all fears, that wasn’t going to happen. At least not immediately – and certainly not at both positions. Your question also expresses concern if the Jaguars are injured next season on the offensive line, which is also something basically every team faces because there’s no such thing as real offensive-line depth in the NFL; few teams even have five front-line starters. A far as getting a right tackle in Round 2 Friday night, it’s absolutely possible: University of Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor, long projected to the Jaguars at No. 7 overall in this draft, is still available. There was a lot of talk in the final days before the draft about injury and weight concerns pushing him down draft boards, and that apparently has happened. The Jaguars reportedly liked him. We’ll see if he’s the selection at No. 38 in Round 2. It’s possible.

Marc from Oceanway

Would be pretty nifty if we still manage to get Jawaan Taylor.

Stranger things have happened.

CD from Fleming Island, FL

Hey John, I can't be upset with the Josh Allen pick regardless of what our perceived needs are/were. One question: What about his game had so many in the media projecting him to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme? His size and skillset seem to fit a 4-3 end pretty well. And in many of the clips I watched he had his hand on the ground. Thanks!

Allen is versatile enough to play edge rusher/defensive end in a 4-3 scheme or outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme – and he’s also capable of playing at a high level in coverage if necessary. Remember: Edge rusher in a 4-3 scheme the way the Jaguars play it and 3-4 outside linebacker have a lot of similar skill sets, particularly in passing situations. Allen will begin his time with the Jaguars playing the role filled by former defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. – i.e., an edge rusher opposite Yannick Ngakoue in passing situations and rotating with Ngakoue in base situations. He’s well-suited for that role.

Brad from Orange Park, FL

How ironic when I went back to see who had been drafted after the Jags’ selection… After I swear thinking to myself when they did select, "Watch whoever picks next grab Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson." That's exactly what happened. If Allen isn't lights-out and Hockenson ends up being worth the pick that high ... jeez. Just seems like decent edge rushers are easier to come by than decent tight ends. Especially considering when the team picking has a good defensive end an above average defensive line, no threat at tight end and a suspect all-around offense outside of new-to-the-team quarterback. “This draft is deep in tight ends” sounds as far from drafting BAP as it gets.

A couple of thoughts on your thoughts. First, edge rushers are not easier to come by than tight ends; edge rushers are by far the more premium, valued position – yes, even with tight end gaining importance in recent seasons. Second, the Jaguars’ selection first-round Thursday was the very definition of drafting the best available player. There were greater perceived needs elsewhere, but Allen was clearly the best player on the board at a more valued position. As for your thoughts, “If Allen isn’t lights out …” yeah, that’s what has to happen. He’s a Top 10 selection. He has to be great. If he’s not, it’s disappointing.

Marlin from Newberry

John, I love this pick! Who doesn’t love this pick?! Who could imagine Josh Allen sliding to us, unbelievable! Other than the fact that we didn’t fill a need at tackle or tight end, is there a reason not to like this pick?

You would be surprised …

T.D. from Festus, MO

Hmmmm, is Josh Allen a three-down linebacker? If so, the pick makes some sense to me. However, I do not think he is that. I think he is a rush linebacker. Offensive tackle is on the field a lot more than a situational pass rusher. One not fer.

Allen initially will be a defensive end in the Jaguars’ scheme. While you call him a situational pass rusher, the reality is he likely will be on the field extensively in passing situations. That’s a pretty important situation in the NFL – and if you don’t have multiple guys who can do it well, you’re going to be weak in that important situation.

Mason from Palm Bay, FL

Love the Josh Allen pick. I imagine your inbox is mostly happy. How does this impact negotiations with Yannick Ngakoue? I know we both agree you can't have too many pass rushers, but does this impact his re-signing?

There’s no reason this has to have anything to do with contract negotiations between the Jaguars and Ngakoue. You can pay two high-impact pass rushers. In fact, if you have two high-impact pass rushers you want to pay them both.

Logan from Wichita, KS

Drafted best available 100 percent. Allen looks great, but how does a 3-4 LB/edge that primarily stood up every play to blitz or cover, fit in our 4-3, defensive-end-hand-in-the-dirt system? Or is this a sign Smith is out?

Allen’s selection has nothing to do with Jaguars weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith; that’s a separate story that will play itself out on its own. Allen primarily will rush the passer at the beginning of his Jaguars career. If his skill set merits it, they can figure a way for him to do more.

Dom from Austin, TX

Keep hoping for something different, but this group cannot help themselves. Do not want to hear any complaints about 2-0 games. BAP was not the case here. Can't even comprehend how frustrated i am with this team.

I’m sorry you’re frustrated. Frustration can be frustrating. What really must be frustrating is not having the foggiest notion what “BAP” means and being mad about the concept.

Alan from Jacksonville

Hey O-Bro, give me a BAP dap. It was the kind of pick good teams make.

Cool, bro … just try telling that to Dom.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

I sure hope Josh Allen can block or catch the ball; otherwise, that’s another stupid first round pick for a franchise that is really awesome at blowing first round picks.

Unless Allen is great at sacking quarterbacks, then it’s … you know … not stupid.

Rob from Pittsburgh, PA

Can they get Allen to play some edge?

If they can’t, something’s gone horribly awry.

Kyan from Le Mars, IA

What second-year player do you think needs to make the biggest improvement and contribute the most – defensive tackle Taven Bryan, safety Ronnie Harrison, wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. – or someone else?

All of the above. The Jaguars drafted all three players in 2018 with the idea they would be key contributors/starters in 2019. If they’re not, the team will be weaker for it.

Unhip Cat from Laughlin Yeah

So, on passing downs, Yannick, Josh, Calais and Marcel? I like the sound of that.

The selection of Allen does mean the Jaguars’ front likely will be Allen, defensive end/tackle Calais Campbell, nose tackle Marcell Dareus and Ngakoue in passing situations. Yes, it’s a formidable front.

Will from Jacksonville

When asked about the Jaguars taking a defensive lineman with their first pick, you said you didn't think it was likely. Do you ever get tired of being wrong?

I’m wrong a lot. I wasn’t in this case. It wasn’t likely the Jaguars would take a defensive lineman with their first selection in this draft because it wasn’t likely any of the elite defensive linemen – Allen, Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa or Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams – would fall to No. 7. When one did, they took him. I actually couldn’t have been more right. Yay for me.

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