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O-Zone: Serious stuff

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Fred from Naples, FL

Dave Caldwell stated that because of Covid-19 and the subsequent lack of being able to bring prospects in for physicals that some players drifted down the board. If that is the case, why did he take two wide receivers with lengthy injury issues in Collin Johnson and Laviska Shenault Jr?

The "lengthy" part is key here. The medical issues entering this year's draft that concerned most NFL types – Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell, included – were generally those that were ongoing and lingering late in the pre-draft process. Teams perform detailed physicals at the NFL Scouting Combine, and teams typically strive to answer questions about past issues there. The combine was held as usual in February this year, so presumably many such answers were obtained as normal. Teams generally bring players with lingering issues and unanswered medical questions to either a second medical combine or to their own facility closer to the draft to address such issues. Those physicals weren't possible this year because of the restrictions caused by the pandemic. If a team was satisfied with its research on a player earlier in the process, that final round of medicals presumably wasn't as big of a concern.

Bill from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

It seems most good teams in the NFL have a good-if-not-great tight end. Evidence: Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, George Kittle. So, what accounts for the lack of interest in that position in the draft?

The NFL rarely drafts tight ends in the Top 10 because it's hard to find prototype tight ends who can do all things well enough to merit the selection. The league stayed away from the position early in this draft because it was a particularly down draft class for tight ends. The Jaguars didn't select a tight end until late in the draft – Tyler Davis from Georgia Tech in Round 6 – because they like their top tight ends: Tyler Eifert, James O'Shaughnessy and Josh Oliver.

Scott from New York City

Can you share anything about the reports on former Jaguars weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith?

Not beyond what's being reported by other media outlets.

Larry from Duncan, OK

Hey Mr. O, I am going out on a limb with a wild prediction, but here goes - Telvin Smith will not play another snap for the Jaguars. What say you?

This is what I've said and written for nearly a year, so …

Garrett from Jesup, GA

What's the negative on Quarterman that brought him down to the fourth? He was a four-year starter at a pretty good school and had lots of production.

Jaguars rookie linebacker Shaq Quarterman is a prototype, old-school inside linebacker – big, physical – from the University of Miami without the pure speed and athleticism that allows teams to generally project him as a three-down player. Also: Fourth round is actually relatively early for a good interior linebacker.

Scott from Casuarina, NSW, Australia

Bleacher Report did a way too early W/L prediction for next year with the Jags going 2-14. Your thoughts, or way too early prediction? I feel we are better than that.

I think the Jaguars will be much better than that. I also don't know why people predict this team to be the worst team in the NFL. I've seen some people compare this roster to the 2013 Jaguars roster, arguably the team's weakest in recent memory. This roster is so much better than that one at every position that it's laughable. Is it a playoff roster? Perhaps not. Can it be competitive? I believe so.

Brian from Jacksonville

The Jaguars' short-lived success in 2017 obscured the extremely toxic make-up of that locker room. This was a rotten core of players. Sadly, some came from nearby universities. Hopefully the culture of this Jaguars locker room will bring a fresh meaning to loving your team. But, can they play?

That's certainly the hope.

Julio from Southern California

O, Would you sign former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton if the contract was reasonable?

Yes, and there are various reasons – the presence of former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden in the same position for the Jaguars chief among them – that it could happen.

David from Oviedo, FL

O – Yes, the Jags have a lot of bodies on the defensive line now, but I submit that we re-sign Marcell Dareus because he is better than all of them.

Your submissions notwithstanding, I would be surprised at this point if the Jaguars re-sign defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.

Chris from Jacksonville

So, am I the only one that doesn't like all the turnover in the NFL these days? I get it: It's probably good for the teams, lets them move on from dead weight, or change where their salary cap is spent. It's probably good for the players by giving them a chance to get paid as much as possible in a short career. I still feel like it's not best for the fans. It must have been amazing to be a New England Patriots fan and have at least one face you could root for for so long. I miss the days of people being a (long-lasting) face of the franchise. I'm probably just old and grumpy, but ... I can't be the only one that feels this way, right? How about you 'Zone? Do you wish it was fiscally feasible for more players to spend their career in one team?

I do. And in a very real sense, the NFL – and all professional sports – lost something when free agency caused more and more players to change teams more often. At the same time, the benefits of giving more teams – and more fans – hope each offseason probably counters that pretty evenly.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi John. Regarding "Tank for Trevor," I'm not sure how that would work. Would quarterback Gardner Minshew II would be in on it, or would there be a Players Except Gardner Only Meeting, and they just wouldn't tell him?

This is just one of the many, many reasons the idea of an NFL team tanking for a specific player is absurd.

Johnny from Jacksonville

Zone, while I feel the word "tanking" is absurd for an NFL team, sometimes they simply try their hardest day after day and lose often. Perhaps the better phrase would be "Losing for Lawrence" rather than the ...

You can use whatever word or term you like. Either way, I don't see it applying to the Jaguars in the 2020 season.

Sean from Tampa, FL

It's been great watching running back Leonard Fournette grow as an individual and football player since joining the Jaguars. What is the probability of the team picking up his fifth-year option?


Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, you say the front office believes they have more playmakers than observers tend to believe. Can you get into that a little more? We all know Chark is the real deal. Fournette is at least a high-volume guy. Wide receiver Chris Conley didn't exactly wow, but neither did he disappoint. Otherwise, what else is there for dynamic offensive weapons? Some of these other alleged weapons would barely make some other teams.

The Jaguars believe rookie wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. will be a weapon, and they believe the same of free-agent signee Tyler Eifert. They also like James O'Shaughnessy and Josh Oliver at tight end.

Mike from Jacksonville

Fantastic job by the whole media team on all the content provided throughout the weekend; given the circumstances I think it gave everyone a little break from the challenges we all have been facing. When your team is drafting in the top of the second round, would you see value in using a late round pick to move up in the bottom of the first to secure the fifth-year option for your second-highest (third-highest in our case) selection in the draft? If so, do you know if teams try and do this and do you know if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement maintain the fifth-year option rule for first-rounders.

Yes, it was a fantastic job – especially by me. Yes, there is value to moving into the first round from early in the second to secure the fifth-year option. Yes, teams have tried to do this – although teams sometimes are reluctant to move out of the first round for the same reason teams want to move into it. Yes, the new CBA has the same rule.

Art from Drexel Hill, PA

Who'd they low ball? Wide receiver Allen Robinson. An ACL tear in 2017 is no different than one in 2020. Routine.

That's probably the closest thing in recent memory to the Jaguars low-balling a player they should have re-signed, though to be honest the Jaguars' offer wasn't dramatically different than that of the Chicago Bears.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

I only jumped onto the app and found the hidden gem of the O-Zone when quarterback Gardner Minshew II started winning games this year. What did y'all talk about between the draft and the season last year?