O-Zone: Song of choice

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Chris from Mandarin, FL

Cam Robinson was an early second-round pick and a Day One starter – at left tackle, a more premium position than right tackle, in a year when the tackle crop was sort of weak. This has me feeling even more like taking a right tackle in the Top 10 would be a waste of value. Take the best defensive lineman available. Coughlin is as Coughlin does.

You could be correct. While I have said often in recent weeks that I believe offensive line is the most likely Jaguars selection at No. 7 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, defense is a very real possibility. It’s a very good draft for defensive interior and edge rusher. With end Calais Campbell and tackle Marcell Dareus having high cap figures for 2020, drafting a quality defensive lineman and continuing to ensure the position can “play in waves” would fit Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin’s draft history. But I wouldn’t assume the Jaguars steer clear of University of Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor just because he projects as a right tackle. The position is increasingly important in the pass-oriented, modern NFL – and Taylor projects as an immediate starter. Selecting him would potentially give you a very strong starting offensive line for the foreseeable future – and desiring a strong offensive line is something “Coughlin does,” too.

Jonathan from Wherever the Wild Blows

I'd have no issue if the Jags selected offensive line and defensive line in the first round every year for eternity.

Fair.

David from Orlando, FL

O-man – Every year around this time, here in the O-Zone we throw around a handful of names we think the Jaguars will select in Round 1. Up to this point, I think most fans wouldn’t be surprised with the selection Taylor or tight end T.J. Hockenson, with a few additional candidates sprinkled in. I can’t speak for all fans, but one of the worst feelings on draft day is when a player fans want gets passed over for someone who hasn’t been in the conversation. For example, in 2010, defensive lineman Tyson Alualu was an out-of-left-field pick first round selection. In 2014, fans were penciling in edge rusher Khalil Mack, but from out of nowhere, we select quarterback Blake Bortles. Last year, at the end of the first round, many fans were excited that guard Will Hernandez was still available, but we selected someone (defensive lineman Taven Bryan) who wasn’t even in the conversation. My point: I don’t care who we draft, just no going rogue, no big surprises.

There’s every chance you won’t get what you want. While I believe the chances are good the Jaguars will select an offensive lineman in Round 1, the people making the decisions won’t have enough idea about who fans do or don’t want for to factor into the decision. They have no reason to know such things – and the less they know, the better. The Jaguars will draft based on their own scouting, not what’s being discussed in draft circles.

Mark from Archer, FL

O Man, people need to get off this whole idea that new Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles can only succeed with elite talent around him. When he led the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 2017, he did not have any elite level wide receivers or running backs. He had good, solid players around him, but I would not class any of the skill position players for the Eagles as being elite level. The offensive line of the Eagles might have been elite, but that is all. Everyone needs to chill. I think Foles can be very good for the Jags with who we have.

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is a special player who could be classified as elite. Other than that … fair.

Daniel from Urbandale, IA

Being from Iowa, I follow the Hawkeyes and Hockenson probably a little closer than most of the Jag fans. He's good and hopefully will be good in the NFL … but at No. 7? That seems a stretch even if you thought you were getting Antonio Gates or Rob Gronkowski. I don't think Hockenson will be as good as either of those players. I hope Jags go offensive line. Give Foles time to throw!

So, one not fer T.J. …

Dave from Duuvall

Dear O-Zone, I respectfully disagree with you that the Jags are more likely to select offensive line No. 7 as opposed to Hockenson for a couple of reasons. First: I think the Jaguars will select either a tight end or offensive tackle barring a top, top edge rusher falling in their lap. Having said that I think Will Richardson or our second-round pick will be our starting right tackle. I just don’t think Coughlin will value a right tackle in the Top 10. However, tight end in the Foles/Jags offense is obviously the most glaring need for this offensive run and pass game. Hockenson is a stud, zone! A future All Pro! This guy is a three-down down player!

… and one absolutely not fer T.J.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

It appears more and more likely Taylor will be at the top of the Jaguars’ board going into draft day. The six teams picking ahead of us seem to be targeting quarterbacks and defensive players, so the odds of getting Taylor seem pretty good. If that happens, what do you think is the next highest priority on offense? Tight end? Guard? Wide receiver? And, of course: the bigger question that even the great John O. can’t answer – will it be enough to give Foles a real chance at success this year?

If the Jaguars go offensive line in Round 1, I would expect tight end to be the next-highest priority on offense after that. Whatever the Jaguars’ first two draft selections, they won’t be enough by themselves for Foles to succeed. The receivers on the roster must step up, and the offensive line must stay healthy.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Last year was obviously a struggle. A lot of it was due to injuries, especially on offense. Now all the talk is about how good a supporting cast we can put around Foles. What can you tell us about the status of some of those injured players? Wide receiver Marqise Lee? Robinson? Center Brandon Linder? Left guard Andrew Norwell?

There has been no official update on most of the Jaguars’ injured players. As Head Coach Doug Marrone said this week, there’s really no rush when it comes to rehabilitation once the season ends; as a result, doctors and trainers plan rehabilitation schedules with the idea of having players as healthy as possible entering the following season’s training camp. Marrone did specify this week at the 2019 NFL Annual Meeting that Lee likely will return late in the preseason; that’s expected considering the nature of Lee’s injury. Marrone also sounded confident about Linder and Norwell; I would expect them in the offseason program that begins April 15. Robinson sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 3, so I would expect the team to be cautious with his return throughout the offseason and perhaps into training camp – but I would expect him to be ready for the start of the regular season.

Brandon from Duuuuvaaaalll

Sir O, isn't it becoming more and more difficult to find good offensive linemen in the draft than most other positions other than quarterback? Is that a major factor into why you keep thinking we take offensive tackle at No. 7? And since tight ends are so deep this year we can get one later where the pool isn't as deep at offensive line?

Yes.

Phunguy from Funland

Do you still do the Y.M.C.A. or Macarena?

I never did the Macarena, although I once blamed it on the Bossa Nova – and I recall once Twisting the Night Away. While I once considered myself quite good at Y.M.C.A., that ended when I saw longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette performing it in a half-shirt and jorts to close the final show of his 2008 “I am Clean, I am Mean, I Am Gene tour.” Knowing I couldn’t hope to match Gene’s energy, I never again did Y.M.C.A. I haven’t seen Gene do it since, either, although I hold out hope that someday we will be in a situation when the song is playing and the magic of the moment prompts him to perform it again.

Gabe from Jacksonville

Regarding the Jaguars upcoming draft, what’s the most surprising thing that wouldn’t surprise you (first round and/or otherwise)?

I wouldn’t be surprised to see running back in the second round.

Sean from Jacksonville

I'm deciding on the Jaguars’ theme song for 2019. So far, I have the Cars "Good Times Roll" for the highs and Jethro Tull's "Bungle in the Jungle" for when things aren't exactly motivating. What's your tune choice?

Y.M.C.A.

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