JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
This Pro Bowl-criteria-for-Hall-of-Fame consideration is a joke. Given that the voting is majorly influenced by fan voting it skews the outcome way too much. The Pro Bowl selection should come down to your colleagues, performance and production. Period. The way the NFL handles the fan portion of the Pro Bowl voting, it makes the results far too favorable for the larger-market teams and bigger-name players regardless of the year they have stat-wise. One example is Jimmy Smith. You will NEVER hear his name go in HOF consideration even though his stats warrant it.
John: Your statement weaves back and forth a bit between being upset about the Pro Bowl-selection process and being upset about the Hall of Fame-selection process. That's understandable, because neither process is remotely perfect. I will say this, though: I respect the HOF process more than the Pro Bowl process, because I believe the people in the HOF process put more effort and consideration into it than the people in the Pro Bowl process. The Hall of Fame is the game's highest individual honor, and the people who I know who are involved in the voting absolutely treat it as such. One issue I have with the HOF process that has arisen in recent years is this idea of slotting by position. By that I mean there is a school of thought among some voters that you only put in one receiver, one quarterback, one INSERT POSITION HERE a year. That has caused some players to get pushed back, and that's not right. Vote for the guys who are deserving and let the timeline play out as it may. The HOF process isn't broken, but that part of it could be fixed.
Andrew from Windsor, Ontario, Canada:
John, I have watched some film on draftbreakdown.com on Dante Fowler Jr. and I am worried he may actually have bust potential. I then hear what Mike Mayock has to say about him and out of respect for his analysis I am very lost on what to think about Fowler. What are your thoughts on what Mayock said?
John: It's my experience that very, very few prospects are bust-proof. I was absolutely certain Andrew Luck would be good, and I really liked A.J. Green, but for pass rushers, offensive linemen, etc. … I don't want to say you're flipping a coin on whether a player will make it, but you're holding your breath. The professional and college games are different and are becoming more so. I was intrigued by what Mayock said about Fowler and Williams being very close, and it verified what I saw at the combine from Fowler: that is, that he's an impressive prospect who has all of the tools to rush the passer. Is he bust-proof? No. But I don't expect that very often.
Matt from Orlando, FL:
Do you see Breshad Perriman as a potential second-round target? Seems he has the potential to become a true No. 1 receiver and he already has a history with Bortles.
John: I don't doubt that a bunch of teams including the Jaguars would feel good about taking Perriman at the top of the second round. I do doubt that he will be available for a team to select him there.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, why is the owner of an NFL team worth billions citing cost as a reason end-zone cameras cannot be placed in stadiums? This is the owner of a team in a league that raked in more than $12 billion last year. Does the NFL really expect fans of teams that have calls go against them end zone cameras could have corrected to believe that cost is really an issue?
John: The league does earn a lot of money. At the same time, teams spend a lot of money on player salaries, etc., etc. As strange as it sounds, the NFL's 32 teams aren't just rolling around with open check books giddily looking around for ways to spend their extra millions. Still, the idea of end-zone cameras is being researched, and it reportedly is at least a possibility for next season. So apparently, the league is rethinking the issue.
Alex from Chapin:
Who should be the top draft pick?
John: If you're talking about the top selection in the entire 2015 NFL Draft, then I'd say it's pretty clear that it's Jameis Winston. If you're talking about the Jaguars at No. 3 and Winston and Leonard Williams are gone, then I'm saying Dante Fowler, Jr.
Jim from Jacksonville:
I would love to see Nick O'Leary in a Jags uniform. (Assuming Caldwell uses his first pick elsewhere.) Do you think O'Leary will be around in the second round and do you think Caldwell would pick him up? The league seems to be going to a hybrid FB/TE system. Wouldn't O'Leary be perfect for that role?
John: I'm going to assume that I'm misreading your question, because it sorta seemed like sorta maybe you're thinking there's a chance of Florida State tight end Nick O'Leary in the Top 10. That's not going to happen, and he's not going to go in the first round, either. He will be around when the Jaguars select in the second round, but he's not going that early, either. Maybe fourth round. Maybe.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
With this talk of the Jaguars and the Hall of Fame, the 1995-1999 Jaguars are a piece of history the Hall should recognize. Wouldn't the NFL want to show respect for ALL of its teams? Can you see a time the league recognizes how special the 1996-99 Jaguars were even with missing the Super Bowl: going to the AFC championship game two years into their existence, the 62-17 playoff game, going 14-2 our fourth year as a team. At minimum Boselli, Freddie and Smith deserve to be in on their own accord. That said, when Coughlin goes in, will Boselli, Smith, McCardell, Freddie and possibly Brunell have a good chance then as well? Would there be a better chance if the Jaguars start being a playoff caliber team and even win a Super Bowl between then and now?
John: I'm afraid you're overthinking this bit. The NFL doesn't really determine who's recognized or "respected" by the Hall of Fame; it's really just a matter of the writers on the committee voting in or not voting in players. There's respect involved with that, but it's not like a group is going to sit around in a conference room and say, "Gee, we're not respecting this team or that team enough." Yes, I think Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith are all worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. The Indianapolis Colts teams I covered from 2001-2010 will put multiple players in the Hall of Fame, and I think of Boselli, Taylor and Smith in the same vein I do Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, Edgerrin James, etc. I don't know that those players will get in, but they merit various degrees of serious discussion and the same is true of Boselli, Smith and Taylor. But no, Coughlin getting in or the Jaguars winning a Super Bowl wouldn't sway voters; it would happen on its own merit.
April from Pooler, GA:
Do you know what gets my goat? When the team you root for trades up. It's a sign of desperation. Trying to force things rather than let the draft come to you. Sacrificing draft picks in the process. I can only wonder how many overanxious general managers have traded up needlessly through the years. Trading up for Gabbert, Harvey, and Groves were crippling moves. Successful teams like the Patriots and 49ers trade back. This is why I toss and turn at night, in my month of April. What's your opinion?
John: As a general rule, I'd agree with you: trade back rather than up. There are exceptions, of course. The New York Giants traded up for Eli Manning and I think they're happy with the decision. But for the most part, sure: trade back, gather draft selections and increase your odds.
Eddie from Atlanta, GA:
I know this is big-time speculation, but do you think it's possible that Dave Caldwell doesn't want to sign one of the remaining free-agent receivers until after the draft, so that his first round pick is harder to guess?
John: I think it's possible David Caldwell doesn't want to sign veterans at a few positions until after the draft because he'll have a lot better idea after the draft where the roster could still use tweaking.
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
John, did you seriously print a comment from a guy who went to Georgia Southern and is more loyal to the Jaguars than to his college as proof that fans tend to be more committed to their NFL teams than they are to their college teams?!?! Georgia Southern?!?! That's embarrassing. By the way, I love the Jaguars. But I LOVE the Gators.
John: Maybe he was thinking about the last time Georgia Southern and Florida played, then after he thought about that, maybe he wasn't really embarrassed after all. And who knows? Maybe considering that he didn't think the comparison was quite so silly.
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville: