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O-Zone: Solid case

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Pete from Queensbury, NY:
No question, John ... Just here to say Telvin's speech for Poz was ... Emotional, amazing. Words fail me ...
John: Agreed.
Ryan from Fremont, OH:
Hypothetically, let's assume the Jags somehow acquired a first-round draft pick that was in the Top 5 but still finished the season in the AFC Championship Game. Who would you draft in that scenario?
John: If a quarterback I loved were available when they were selecting, I probably would go that direction – and by "love," I mean a player who looked like a potential franchise-changing, All-Pro player. If that player weren't there, I would take the best pass rusher.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
I wouldn't be super surprised if the Jaguars took a defensive lineman with the first-round pick. Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin is an old-school type who likes the philosophy of winning in the trenches. Jacksonville is very accustomed to seeing this philosophy. You can never have enough big guys. You take big guys early and often.
John: OK.
Bill from Hammock, FL:
Zone, I respect your opinions very much. However, I can't see our current regime taking a chance on signing Dez Bryant. It's not only the decline in his production but I can see him ranting every time Blake Bortles is off target to him or we run the ball "too much" in his opinion. Use the first-round pick on the best wide receiver.
John: I would be surprised if the Jaguars signed Dez Bryant. I wouldn't be surprised if they took a wide receiver in the first round, though I don't consider it their most likely first-round direction.
Ed from Austin, TX:
Hey, John: We already have a strong-side linebacker on the roster in Dante Fowler Jr. He can play strong side on first and second downs in base, then play his normal third-down rush end opposite Yannick Ngakoue. What do you think about that Sir John?
John: I think this is something a lot of fans want to see. It's not going to happen. The Jaguars see Fowler as a defensive end and that's what he's going to play.
Chris from Goodnight, TX:
Contrary to what everyone seems to think, this team does have one gaping hole: backup running back. I like Corey Grant – and T.J. Yeldon is serviceable in a third-down role. But this team is designed to be a power-running team; if Leonard Fournette gets hurt, they no longer have a running back who can fill that role, forcing them to throw the ball much more than they would want. I really hope this team acquires another power running back (e.g., the recently released C.J. Anderson) or spends an early draft pick on someone like Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny or Royce Freeman. What do you think the Jaguars will do – and if the Jaguars go into next season with Fournette as the only power running back, how will this team adjust if Fournette misses a significant amount of time due to injury?
John: I absolutely think the Jaguars will acquire a second every-down running back this offseason – most likely in Rounds 3-7 of the draft. I don't think your final question will be an issue because I think the Jaguars will acquire another running back; if they don't, I think they would probably try to use Yeldon in the role.
Sabrina from Jacksonville:
What the new uniform look like.
John: Football jerseys. And helmet.
Mike from Eagen, MN:
John, question about players on injured reserve: Do they still come to all of the weekly meetings and strategy sessions with their position coaches, and then just spend the physical practice time in rehab? Or are they not allowed to be with the team while they're on injured reserve?
John: Players are absolutely allowed to be with the team while on injured reserve. They obviously can't practice or play, but they can be in meetings and travel with the team. Different coaches and teams have different policies on this, and different players' rehabilitation requirements cause them to approach it differently.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ:
O-man, after holding back for a while out of fear, I finally let my wife know that the Jaguars are changing their uniforms on Thursday. As she looked at me in disbelief, or complete unawareness that I was talking to her, I slipped in that I will need to get a new jersey on Friday. I survived!
John: Cool.
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
I figure I am about as likely to accurately predict the Jags' first three picks as any 'pundit', so here you go: Round 1, Isiah Wynn, guard, Georgia; Round 2, Mike Gesicki, tight end, Penn State; Round 3, Duke Dawson, cornerback, Florida. What would you think if the first three rounds worked out that way?
John: Cool.
Neil from Gloucester:
Mr. O. It is considered extremely bad form NOT to put ketchup on a hot dog in the UK. Just saying. At No. 29, we have linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (Boise State), tight end Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State) and guard Will Hernandez (Texas-El Paso) still on the board. Your choice. Thank you.
John: I would choose Hernandez because I believe the Jaguars are focused on being dominant on the offensive front, and because my odds of getting a very good player on the interior offensive line are pretty good selecting late in the first round. I also believe the chances the Jaguars will be able to circle back and get a good tight end late in the second round are pretty good as well. I would go Hernandez over Vander Esch because an offensive lineman is going to play more than a linebacker.
Steve from Denver, CO:
O No, D Si, Senor. We need depth at linebacker. We are putting too much faith in Blair Brown with his limited non-special teams play. I say try for Rashaan Evans from Alabama. Plan B would be grab " Mini Poz" – Josey Jewell – in the third round. Is anyone in the front office worried about linebacker depth? Blair's lack of experience? (Although he seemed to play well as a later round pick in his rookie year).
John: It's correct to say the Jaguars almost certainly will address linebacker in the draft. It's not correct to say it must be addressed in the first or second round.
Tucker from Nashville, TN:
Do you see the Jags trading Fowler during the draft? You don't spend a Top 5 pick for a backup. A lot of teams were interested in him when the Jags drafted him.
John: As is the case with so many declarative statements, yours – "You don't spend a Top 5 pick for a backup – is bolder than it is accurate. While Fowler technically is a backup, he also is a player who registered 10 sacks last season and accounted for a slew of big plays last season. I doubt the Jaguars would trade Fowler because I doubt they would get enough value to make up for what they lose by losing him.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
I really think the Jaguars should pursue Dez Bryant. I mean if there was ever a team that needed a legit number 1 wide receiver threat, it's us. He could be that missing piece. Lure him in with the talk of rings.
John: I would have no problem with the Jaguars pursuing Bryant. If they were to do so, it would be important to remember that they almost certainly would not be pursuing a "No. 1 wide receiver threat" if your definition is an elite, dictate-to-defenses receiver. Such players are not released and available in mid-April. That doesn't mean Bryant wouldn't be valuable. It is to say people should understand what they're getting if it happens.
Rob from Jacksonville:
I've read that the uniforms will be revealed on the 19th. I've also seen there will be a "uniform launch" on the 26th. Which day will it first be revealed? I want to make sure I'm able to see it at first chance.
John: The uniforms will be revealed on the 19th. This was hidden pretty cleverly in what you apparently read about the matter. The key hint in the clue is the word "revealed."
Alex from Wausau, WI:
Hey John, I really hope we don't take a wide receiver in the first round. What is the point of drafting a No. 1 wide receiver for a team that plans on throwing the ball less than 50 percent of the time? Not to mention the fact that we have four capable wide receivers already. Did we lose in New England because we were missing a studly No. 1 target or because we couldn't pound the ball when we had the lead? I rest my case. Draft a big boy.
John: A case could be made that the Jaguars lost the AFC Championship Game for both of those reasons, but I agree that the bigger reason was the inability to run. That case is why I think there's a decent chance the Jaguars will draft an offensive lineman in the first round.

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