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O-Zone: Rush the gate

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jason from Jacksonville and Section 140:
It's obvious the Jags have no interest in challenging Blake Bortles. They won't even bring someone in that could even have a chance to start. What a wasted pick.
John: You're apparently referencing the Jaguars selecting quarterback Tanner Lee from Nebraska in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. You seem angry and perhaps even a bit surprised. This saddens me, particularly the anger part. I never want to see anyone angry. It's why I'm so agreeable and giving to everyone I meet. Alas, I shall move on … except to say this: if you thought entering the draft that the Jaguars were interested in drafting a quarterback to challenge Bortles, I honestly wonder how closely you follow the Jaguars. Certainly not closely enough to read this column, or to listen to anything said on this website. Or to listen to most of the media who cover this team. Or … well, I guess your first sentence is correct: It is obvious the Jags have no interest in challenging Bortles. He's their starting quarterback. Certainly for 2018, and most likely for a while after that.
Billy from Jacksonville:
I know Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell talked to our new third-round draft pick (Ronnie Harrison) about playing both safety positions and I know D.J. Hayden was signed to big bucks to play nickel corner. However, as I understand it, Hayden is unproven as a nickel corner, which is a key position for the Jaguars' success this season. I'm skeptical Hayden will fill the bill. However, Harrison seems to possess the skills that make for a successful nickel position player. Any chance Harrison gets a chance to compete for the starting nickel spot this year?
John: Harrison indeed can play both safety positions, but he seems to lean more toward the strong-safety position. And while I continue to get questions about Hayden, he was brought in to play nickel corner –and the Jaguars believed he played well there with Detroit last season. Unless something very unforeseen happens, he will be the Jaguars' nickel corner.
Tony from Perryville, AR:
John, I love all our picks, but I think I'm most excited to see DJ Chark. Question though: how in the world did he fall that far in the draft? What am I missing?
John: There are a lot of players in every draft, and teams grade all players different. And different teams are looking for different positions. Sometimes, this causes players to slip further than would otherwise be the case. The Jaguars had a first-round grade on Chark. Not all teams did. If they're right, they got a bargain.
Matthew from Jacksonville:
Did Dr. "Candy Man" visit the Jaguars' stadium and pass out drugs to Caldwell and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin? That was an awful draft for the Jags. They didn't draft a running back to replace Chris Ivory or a tight end. The tackle they took in the fourth round will not make the team, and the sixth-round pick was awful. If the Jags wanted to draft a quarterback, they could have packaged their sixth- and one of their seventh-round picks to move up for Luke Falk. Falk has a decent chance to be good backup, if not a starter someday. Tanner Lee has zero chance of making the team. ZERO! He's terrible. If the Jags didn't want to select a player in the sixth round they should have asked Roger Goodell to skip their pick.
John: Thank you for your analysis on Falk – and on the Jaguars' draft for that matter. I'm also sorry you didn't agree with how the Jaguars approached the draft. I suppose you might take solace in the idea that Caldwell and Coughlin are capable football people with an intimate knowledge of the team's scouting information, strengths, weaknesses, contract situations, coaching philosophies, offensive and defensive schemes, needs, salary-cap health, style of play, roster and locker-room dynamics and trust that they might have at least a vague idea about the direction of the organization, but perhaps not. And I'll bet Will Richardson will make the team.
David from Orlando, FL:
O-man, tremendous draft coverage! I still don't know how one man could do it all on his own!
John: Thank you. I rock.
Scott from Jacksonville:
I'll feel more comfortable about the long-term future of the team in Jax when the Lot J/Shipyards project begins. Khan isn't going to pour a billion dollars or more into the city, only to move the main attraction.
John: You're going to get more comfortable very, very soon.
Patrick from Charleston, WV:
Big O, I think Yannick Ngakoue is the most valuable player on our roster, with that opinion would you buy the over or under of 20 sacks in 2018?
John: Under, but that's like saying I believe Leonard Fournette will rush for less than 2,000 yards next season. You're talking about all-time plateaus; 20 sacks is an ungodly amount. You can't predict that kind of number. You just savor when they happen, and respect those who make them happen. Here's the thing about Ngakoue. He doesn't need to have 20 sacks or even 15 to have an impact. He pressures consistently and he forces fumbles consistently when he reaches the quarterback. As long as he keeps doing those things, he will be what he became last season – one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.
David from Broward County:
O-Man, it was a good draft. I understand all the picks as they relate to the Jags' current roster and future. No reaches to fill needs, very best-available-player drafting. What concerns me is they passed on numerous, very talented offensive linemen and tight ends – especially the tight ends. They need a playmaker tight end and still do not have one after the draft. I hope they don't come to regret the decision to not draft one of the many talented tight ends in this draft.
John: The Jaguars feel differently about their current tight ends, particularly Austin Seferian-Jenkins, than you and many others. The Jaguars therefore did not consider tight end the glaring need many observers believed it to be entering the draft. They did want to get a tight end, though. They considered one at several spots throughout the draft. In most drafts, a team has a position they want to address somewhere along the way that doesn't quite work out. Either the value wasn't quite there when selecting or another player just makes more sense at every spot along the way. For the Jaguars during this draft, that was tight end.
Gamble from Jacksonville:
What is Mr. Caldwell's contract situation?
John: Caldwell, Head Coach Doug Marrone and Coughlin all signed contract extensions through the 2021 seasons earlier this offseason. Why … you offerin'?
Rhonda from Jacksonville:
This year's draft had the feel of a WWF event. Some moments were touching, like when Ryan Shazier took the stage. But, most of the time it was really bad. Honestly, it was so bad I think next year I'll just track it on my phone. It was truly bad entertainment. The NFL seems to be on the decline in many ways. Too many rule changes, too much officiating …
John: OK.
Duke from Jacksonville:
It feels like the Jaguars have a bunch of safeties. Is Jarrod Wilson the likely man out when it comes to the final roster?
John: It would appear that way on paper, because you figure Tashaun Gipson, Barry Church and Ronnie Harrison will make the 2018 roster – and it would appear that Cody Davis and Don Carey will make it as safeties and special teams guys after signing as unrestricted free agents. Marrone on Saturday stressed that no one is going to coast his way on this team. Knowing Marrone, that's true. Still, it won't be easy to make this team at safety.
Danny from Jacksonville:
John, why is it that the fans think they know so much more than the Jaguars brain trust? If this were true wouldn't Shad Khan hire them to make all the crucial decisions regarding player acquisition and implementation?
John: Because fans fan. Yes.
Damon from America's Finest City:
I'm sorry, but what is wrong with people? How dare anyone question the Godfather – a.k.a., Coughlin. I can't even believe that people are questioning our picks in this draft. We have been to three AFC Championship games with this man at the helm and who in their right mind would have thought we'd be five minutes from the Super Bowl last year? People are acting like this man doesn't know what he is doing. Hey, all you wannabe draftniks… sit down, shut up and chill the heck out. The Godfather knows how to build a championship caliber roster.
John: There's nothing wrong with questioning. That's what fans do, and it's OK. As for the emotional, leap-of-the-bridge, rush-the-gate-with-torches response to every little thing that they don't understand or believe is just that they wanted …. Yeah, I guess that's what fans do, too.

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