JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Dave from Duval:
Hey, Johnny O., I've seen folks writing in hoping the Jags snag Noah Spence by trading up into the bottom of the first round or actually drafting him in the second round. He may actually be the No. 5 pick based on talent alone. Weekly negative drug tests for a year, the Senior Bowl and a face-to-face meeting that included Shad Khan at the combine has me convinced! Give me odds, Johnny.
John: I would love to be able to give odds because Noah Spence has the feel of a player destined to be a major topic in the coming months. It seems more and more people believe Spence may be the best pass rusher in the draft. He is absolutely a first-round talent, and he may be a Top 5 talent. He also may be an impact pass rusher on the level the Jaguars haven't had since Tony Brackens. That's the most enticing thing a draft prospect can be if the prospect isn't a can't-miss franchise quarterback. If Spence's off-field resume was clean he might well be the No. 1 selection in the draft and he absolutely would be a major consideration for the Jaguars. BUT … it's not clean. It's particularly unclean, in fact, with failed drug tests leading to him leaving Ohio State and finishing his collegiate career at Eastern Kentucky. If that was all there was to the off-field stuff that might automatically prevent the Jaguars from selecting him. BUT … as you say, Spence has had negative drug tests for a year and appears to have handled himself very, very well in meetings at the combine – and in every sense at the Senior Bowl. SO … the decision is anything but easy. What are the odds? That will be anyone's guess because no way is Caldwell going to tip his hand on this one. He has nothing to gain by doing so. The best answer I can give is I think Spence will be a serious consideration at No. 5, and if the Jaguars believe his off-field issues indeed are behind him, he almost certainly is a very good possibility.
Hugo from Albuquerque, NM:
I have a crazy idea, but bear with me: I remember that dastardly Bill Bellichik doing a drop kick for an extra point a few years back. With Jason Myers showing improvement with field goals and struggling with the extra points, could this be a wild and crazy strategy in the future?
John: No, of course not.
Aaron from Chehalis, WA:
With the combine in the rear-view mirror, how much did we really learn? I'm sure the bottom half of the Jaguars' draft board had some players shift around, but do you think there was any change at the top? The talk thus far has been Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey, DeForest Buckner, or Myles Jack if we stay put at No. 5. Do you think the combine had any influence on the top of the Jaguars' draft board?
John: I honestly doubt either the bottom or the top of the Jaguars' draft board will shift dramatically in the days following the combine -- at least not based on the on-field goings on at Lucas Oil Stadium. While there's little question negative medical examinations hurt some players' statuses, the on-field events mostly are seen as part of an overall picture rather than something that will have a major impact on whether a player rises and falls.
Dan from Cary, NC:
Hey 'Zone: thanks for keeping us engaged throughout the slow season. I'm not worried about who David Caldwell picks this year. The Jags have a high enough draft number to pick from a big range of players who can make the team better. What will be interesting is how well Caldwell can draft once we are doing better and drafting later and later in each round. I am encouraged by the quality of his picks in later rounds and even hits on UDFA. It should be a very interesting year. I believe this is the year of fulfilled expectations! #DTWD
Don from Austin, TX:
When talking about plans to improve our pass rush, the team will mention a lot of scenarios. Seldom do they mention the return of defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks. Is there a reason for this? I would think his return would be a bigger deal than anything Fowler can do next year. (If healthy).
John: Marks isn't mentioned as much as Fowler by people following the Jaguars because he's an interior player and because he wasn't a recent first-round draft choice. People may also assume they know what Marks will bring because he has done it before. But believe me: Jaguars coaches and personnel people know that Marks is critical to improving the pass rush. Is he as big a deal next year as Fowler? Yeah, probably.
Ray from Jacksonville:
John: Wow, with Dave Caldwell being so smart to know when to concentrate on offense in a draft and when to go with defense, it is a shame he is the general manager of such a bad team. Three years to go from two wins to five. Wow. In 2027, he will have the Jags on top of the league. Oh, that's right. He picked the guys who can't block, who throw the most interceptions in the league, who convert the fewest interceptions in the league. He is too young to run a major corporation.
John: Time will tell, Ray. Time will tell.
Quinton from Fernandina Beach, FL:
O-Zone, help me understand something. I've watch tape on Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Jalen Ramsey and Noah Spence; out of the four of those guys, only one jumped off of my iPad screen and that's Spence. I mean, this guy is scary explosive coming off the edge with that speed. If it was up to me and he's there at No. 5, I'm running to the podium to turn that card in. Please tell me Dave and Gus are seeing the same thing.
John: I have no doubt Caldwell and Bradley are seeing the same thing. I have no doubt they are as enticed as you. Pass-rush talent is rare and it's hard to pass up. Considering how much Caldwell values it, it's really hard to pass up.
Mario from Stuttgart, Germany:
So, my favorite soccer team's best striker just came back after a really bad injury – just to tear his ACL in a friendly right away. PLEASE tell Fowler to be careful. I'm scared of that happening, to be honest.
John: Fowler can't be careful, and can't play to protect himself. What he can do is rehabilitate, train and prepare as best as possible. Injuries happen, unfortunate and frightening though they may be.
Ivan from Hollywood, FL:
If Derrick Henry is available in the third round, do you think his immense popularity in North Florida would be something Caldwell would consider in making a draft pick, especially if they filled a couple of defensive needs in free agency.
John: I don't think Henry will be available in the third round, and I don't believe his popularity would influence Caldwell either way. I do think Henry playing for the Jaguars would be a great story. I would love to see it because from everything I've been told he's a good person, and one for whom it is very ease to root. The reality is Henry probably will be gone by the time it makes sense for the Jaguars to draft a running back.
Armando from Vacaville, CA:
Do you think, John, that Jalen Ramsey could be our next Donovin Darius? Better than?
John: If the Jaguars indeed took Ramsey at No. 5 overall in the draft the expectation would be that he would be much better than Darius.
Cory from Frankfort:
If the Jags where to draft Jaylon Smith like we did Aaron Colvin what would be the earliest round you think Caldwell would be willing to invest, oh great O. And thanks for all your coverage.
John: This is purely a guess: fourth. And I don't think Smith would be available then.
Mike from Albany, NY:
Jalen Ramsey, Robert Ndemkiche and Jaylon Smith in Rounds 1, 2 and 3. As crazy as that sounded two months ago, all of a sudden it is a real possibility. Is it worth the gamble?
John: It's possible, but as is the case whenever you try to project multiple rounds for one team in an NFL Draft it's unlikely. I doubt Ramsey is there are No. 5 and I doubt Ndemkiche will be there when the Jaguars select in the second round. Could Smith be there in Round 3? Maybe, but at this early juncture, it's difficult to know how the Smith story will play out.
KD from McAlester, OK:
So, what was your impression of Joey Bosa? I wasn't all that impressed with the kid. He kinda of reminded me of Matt Jones, kinda/sorta. Although he may have been tired, but then again, he seemed as though he was whining a little. Enlighten me, Big O... just enlighten me.
John: I thought Joey Bosa was cool. I liked him.
O-Zone: So, so cool
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Dave from Duval: