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O-Zone: Right on time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Doug from Jacksonville:
If someone asked me – and they didn't – my guess for the Jags' first-round pick would be ... the safest one. That's lineman. Someone who has a better chance to contribute without a spotlight. Some tight end from Northeast Timbuktu or a wide receiver on a team designed to run doesn't make sense. Risk versus reward. There will be a tight end in Round 2. Linebacker Round 3. Unsigned free-agent wide receiver. Personally, I'd take the Iowa kid at running back in Round 5 or 6. Shifty and quick feet, a nice counterpunch to what we have now.
John: Tight end actually does make sense for the Jaguars relatively early in the 2018 NFL Draft, because a player who can stretch the middle of the field at that position makes a lot of sense if you're trying to be a good running team. And if there were an elite tight end available who was a good receiver and blocker, I think the Jaguars would seriously consider taking that player in Round 1. As it stands, I don't think they'll take one from any of the Timbuktu schools – and I agree that second round is more of a possibility. This is considered a good tight end class, but perhaps not a great one, and it feels as if the value and need at tight end has a chance to match up well for the Jaguars at the end of Round 2.
T.J. from Orlando, FL:
If I'm lucky, I get to go to one game per season. This schedule has me torn. Do I go release all of last year's frustration in a voice-losing kind of day against the Patriots? Or do I go see my current team play the team I rooted for pre-'95 in prime time, which should almost guarantee a fun night of great football? First-world problems ...
John: Go to the preseason opener. 'Gonna be lit.
Nick from Palatka, FL:
Mr. Zone, I enjoy reading the different opinions on the new unis. Personally, I couldn't care less about this or that color (what's intimidating or traditional or cutting edge). Intealligent people know that it's not the uniform but who's inside it that counts. As long as Blake Borteals and company wear the same design the same game all is good. I don't know the iteal color scheme but I can teal you that they'll all look beautiful with a football cradled against them ... in the opponent's end zone. Well, unteal next time. #dTwd
John: It seems you have a preferred color for the Jaguars' new uniforms. I appreciate you expressing your point in genteal fashion.
Andy from St. Augustine, FL:
So, with all of the uncertainty regarding Dante Fowler Jr., his contract and if we should pick up his option, why wouldn't we look to trade him prior to or during the draft? Since drafting edge rushers is pretty hit or miss, any team that has a need there could be better served trading for a known quantity - eight sacks in the regular season and another couple in the playoffs, including looking almost un-blockable at times against the Patriots. A team with a mid-to late first-round pick would get an immediate starter who has proven he can get to the quarterback and we would get another first round pick - win/win.
John: If the Jaguars could be assured of getting a first-round selection in exchange for Fowler, they probably would seriously consider it. That's unlikely – not because Fowler isn't a good player, but because a team trading for him would be acquiring a player with one year remaining on his contact. The team therefore would need to decide whether to pay Fowler big money relatively soon after the trade, making a first-round pick a high price for a team to pay for one season. Remember, too: the Jaguars benefit from having Fowler on the roster next season. He's a valuable member of the defense. There's not necessarily any hurry to trade him.
Steve from Denver, CO:
JO, after watching replays of the playoff games, T.J. Yeldon deserved more playing time during the regular season. What were the coaches thinking giving carries to Chris Ivory not T.J.? T.J. can also block and catch passes better than the released Ivory, right JO?
John: Sure.
Robert from Amelia Island, FL:
I understand the emphasis on the first-round draft selections in mock drafts but there are about 250 draftees comprising the entire draft. Very few of the mock drafts include all 250 selections and this does a big disservice to the 220 or so that will not be Round One picks. Mike Mayock does a great job of evaluating the Top 10 in each position group but even he should include rankings for the players 11-20 in each group. It would take more time for the draft gurus to evaluate these potential draftees, but it would certainly be more entertaining for the average fan, don't you think?
John: I honestly don't know that the average fan is delving into Round 7 of your average mock draft – and I don't know how much he's entertained if he is doing so. There are analysts who post seven-round mock drafts, and there absolutely are analysts who do a good, detailed job analyzing prospects deep into the later rounds. They can be pretty easily googled. Remember: people who analyze and project the draft are not doing so to do a "service" to the players involved; they're usually doing so to service the readers of their website or publication. The earlier rounds, particularly the first, generate the most interest and therefore are the most studied. Remember also: any mock draft and draft analysis is projection and guesswork. That's true of Round 1, and it's more true the deeper in the draft you go. By the time you're mocking Rounds 6 or 7 you're deep into the weeds.
David from Chuluota, FL:
O-man: In 2016, the following players were starters on the Jaguars, but are no longer on the roster. The list includes wide receiver Allen Robinson, wide receiver Allen Hurns, tight end Marcedes Lewis, offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum, defensive end Tyson Alualu, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, cornerback Prince Amukamara, safety Johnathan Cyprien and kicker Jason Myers. That's a large turnover over a short period of time. What this tells me is every player is expendable, as long as you keep the core intact. Who are the Jaguars Top 5 core players?
John: Turnover actually is the NFL norm, and there are several definitions of core players. If you define them as drafted players who earn or will earn long-term second contracts with the team then here's one possible Jaguars list: cornerback Jalen Ramsey, end Yannick Ngakoue, linebacker Telvin Smith, linebacker Myles Jack, quarterback Blake Bortles and center Brandon Linder – and possibly wide receiver Marqise Lee. Tackle Cam Robinson and running back Leonard Fournette could be such players. The Jaguars in their current incarnation have a lot of free agents who you could define as core players. That's a little unusual in this NFL landscape. But the aforementioned list isn't a bad start.
Don from Ponte Vedra, FL:
The way the NFL is going I would guess that the tight end the Jaguars are looking for will not be there when they pick. If that happens what do you do? Maybe Ohio State lineman Billy Price would be a good pick then. Who knows? Maybe if their guy is not there they draft a quarterback who drops.
John: If you're talking about the first round, you're talking about a different first round than I'm expecting. I'm expecting all tight ends to be available at the end of Round 1, with that being a reason the Jaguars will select offensive line there and wait until Round 2 to select a tight end. As far as the Jaguars taking a quarterback in Round 1 … no. No, no, no.
Sid from Sidsonville:
The NFL shares the profit from the television contract equally. What are the overall financial benefits of a team being featured in more nationally televised games? Is it just merch sales and exposure?
John: Yes.
Tucker from Nashville, TN:
I know you're in the minority. The idea of trading Fowler was in case a quarterback fell in the draft. He looks like a great bargaining chip if the Jags want to trade up.
John: If you're going into this week's draft excited about the Jaguars trading up for a quarterback in Round 1 you're not going to be excited for long.
Jon from Ocala, FL:
Hi O! Why all the complaints about not having a Monday Night Football game? Does playing on MNF help us win? Asking for a friend ... O, and one fer the new uniforms?
John: One fer the unis – and one fer no Monday night games. Heck, while we're at it let's have one fer all 11 a.m. Sunday home games. I'm old and broken. For me, the earlier the better.

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