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O-Zone: Shhhh

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Justin from North Augusta, SC

O-Zone, today is the day! I definitely feel like we need to take a cornerback at No. 17. I really like Terrion Arnold from Alabama and Quinton Mitchell from Toledo. And I really love Nate Wiggins from Clemson. Let's grab one of those guys in Round 1 and hopefully wide receiver Keon Coleman from Florida State falls in our lap in the second round. After all the mocks you have seen, what is going to happen tonight with the Jags in Round 1?

Today indeed is the Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft. I don't know that the Jaguars absolutely, positively must select a cornerback with the No. 17 overall selection. Still, I have said and written for weeks – since free agency began and "ended" in mid-to-late March – that I believe corner will be the selection there. It feels as if that's where need and value will intersect. That has been my thought and I'm sticking with that thought. I expect the selection will either be Mitchell or Arnold. We'll see what tonight brings. Boy Howdy.

Eric from Jacksonville Beach, FL

I know I'm not alone but I'm calling right now that the Houston Texans are not back-to-back division champions. I think we showed last year how heavy the crown is and I expect the Texans will feel the new expectations this year with teams gunning for them. There's also a sophomore slump that could be waiting for quarterback C.J. Stroud and I honestly believe, even though he's incredibly talented, that wide receiver Stefon Diggs' attitude is a net negative to the team. Jags back this year to take the division and the momentum in the AFC South!

The Texans deserve to be the preseason AFC South favorites entering the 2024 NFL season. They won the division in 2023 and there's no reason to think they won't be good next season. The Jaguars and Texans split the series last season, with each team winning on the opponent's field. The Jaguars held control of the division until the final six games, when quarterback Trevor Lawrence left three of those games with injuries and played through the effects of those injuries. These circumstances don't make the Jaguars overwhelming division favorites. But perhaps they might still have a puncher's chance.

Andrew from Hilton Head, SC

Picking 17th overall, roughly halfway through the first round, seems like an opportune time to take a commercial break from the broadcast as we're on the clock, wouldn't you agree? If we're able to trade up or back, I'm sure the NFL will make sure we can only trade into another spot primed for a commercial break! If you were a gambling man, what do you think the odds our commercial streak during draft coverage continues?!

Those broadcasting the NFL seemingly have taken commercial breaks during Jaguars selections in the past often enough that it is a "thing" among Jaguars fans. I say "seemingly" because this never has been something I've much noticed. It's not that I don't care. It's just that I'm busy preparing to write – or preparing to analyze, or talking, or analyzing – on draft night and pay little attention to commercial trends during the broadcasts. I don't for a minute believe the NFL will maneuver trades to ensure the Jaguars are in a particular spot. As for how the draft coverage will play out this weekend … I haven't the foggiest.

Zach from Jacksonville

Draft day is here!!! All the excitement and talk for the occasion of a bunch of kids having their dreams realized while we the fans sit at home and google a player's height, weight, age and college and come to hasty conclusions if our team drafted a "good" or "bad" player. I pray for Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke's sake he drafts the player I've taken a liking to reading his name many times and maybe seeing a few highlight plays of while casually watching college football.

I'm sure whatever selection the Jaguars make at No. 17 all Jaguars fans will be happy and content. That's typically the reaction.

Bo from Linwood, NC

I know the Jags' brass is short on sleep going over multiple scenarios prepping for the draft. I wouldn't mind seeing two corners being the Jaguars' first couple of picks. Or maybe a corner and a defensive tackle. Maybe even all defensive selections in general. What say you, O? What does your Jags mock draft look like?

I don't know that the Jaguars' decision-makers have lost much if any sleep in recent days. The pre-draft process has been going on for months and the draft board essentially should be set. I wouldn't be surprised if the team selects two cornerbacks in the first four rounds, though I would be surprised if all early-round selections are defensive players.

Eddie from Jaxonville

Hey O. I hear the Jags are participating in something called the draft this week. Is this a big deal and will it be on TV?

I don't know.

Don from Marshall, NC

Nobody really knows anything about anything about the draft. Everyone is just trying to make the best guess. You jave to have some luck. The most important thing when gambling is you have to feel lucky to be lucky. Go Jaguars!

When it comes to being lucky, and when it comes to having a feel for the realities of the NFL Draft, Don remains "all in."

Deane from Daytona Beach, FL

Yo, O-Zone! I'm from the old school train of thought: "Offense wins games but defense wins championships!" With that said, I agree with you about corner being taken in Round 1. Come round 2, I am hoping for what announcer Keith Jackson would refer to as the big uglies on either side, but I would prefer defensive line. Round 3 is where I would most likely look at wide receiver. Round 4 get the other big ugly that you didn't get in round 2. Then last few get a safety and kicker. Can I get a "one 'fer" the big uglies?!?! What says you O-Zone???

One fer the big uglies.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Is Don just you in disguise with an older computer and a tuxedo T-shirt on? I like to picture that Don likes to party. I don't know how to party without a tuxedo T-shirt.

I am not Don. He is not me. Tuxedo shirt or not, he parties. Oh, does he party.

Rich from Dacula, GA

Would it best to describe our first-round draft pick to be someone that we will start right away? Seems that is the norm, so looking at the roster, what position is in most need for a new starter?

I would expect the Jaguars' first-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft to start immediately, though that shouldn't be the only factor when selecting the player. If the selection is an offensive lineman, the player might not start immediately. If he's a defensive lineman or a receiver, he could be part of the rotation – and that would be OK. If he's a cornerback, I expect he will at minimum start when the team is in nickel packages. I see corner as the biggest pre-draft need.

John from Cape May Court House

Friendly yearly reminder; draft offense, buy defense. That is all, as you were.


Ed from Jax by Lionel Playworld

You and team officials commented on being prepared for different scenarios resulting from how teams ahead of us pick in the draft. Scouting and evaluating players gets discussed in depth. How does scouting the other GMs work? How do we draft-plan for the other teams? How do we get information for that draft planning? What kind of information is needed for that draft planning? Can teams hire private investigators to dig up this info? Are there rules governing what teams can do to get this info?

Teams scout other general managers a bit by their tendencies in previous drafts, a bit by perceived pre-draft needs and a bit by perusing mock drafts for hints about current-year possibilities. They also scour news reports, rumors and pre-draft media availabilities for clues. These clues are often smoke screens and blatant lies, with the whole process often taking on the feel of being a worthless and frustrating undertaking. Teams do hire security firms and conduct their own investigations into draft prospects' backgrounds. They do not privately investigate other teams. That would be wrong.

Zach from Jacksonville

I heard an interesting thought on the radio recently. If one of the big three wide receivers in the draft falls past 10 – that is Malik Nabers of Louisiana State, Rome Odunze of Washington and Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State – then Trent Baalke should trade up and go after them. If Trent Baalke fails to trade up in that scenario, it'd be looked at as a failure on draft night. Do you think the jags are secretly that high on getting a wide receiver?

If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore.