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O-Zone: Soon enough

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

John from Jacksonville

I never thought the Jaguars should have picked running back Leonard Fournette No. 4 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. So, I was a little cool to the Travis Etienne pick, but I could understand the reasoning behind it. I heard a certain number No. 71 say you never take a running back in Round One because you can find them in later rounds. Do you think he forgot blocking for James Stewart and Fred Taylor? What's up with that, Bo?

I can't speak for what former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli did or didn't forget. I do know it was a different NFL era when he played in the late 1990s and blocked for Stewart and Taylor. I agree in principle you must use caution when drafting a running back early because you indeed can find effective ones in later rounds. But selecting one at No. 25 is dramatically different than selecting one No. 4 overall; No. 4 is an absolute premium position whereas No. 25 is far closer to a second-round selection than the Top 10. Still, the Etienne selection is a little different than a "regular running-back selection" because he likely won't be used as just a running back. I expect him to be split wide and used a lot more creatively than, say, running back James Robinson. The Etienne selection was about adding a big-play element to create strain on the defense by creating matchup issues. As the league continues evolving toward more wide-open offensive concepts, I expect you will see the value of those types of running backs ascend a bit – certainly into the back half of Round 1.

Ed from Jax

Trevor Lawrence has been studying the new offense with our coaches for weeks. This was allowed because he wasn't in the NFL yet. How much can this disadvantage our veteran quarterbacks? Well-established players are trying to eliminate offseason voluntary workouts at the expense of on-the-bubble players. How do you see these inequities playing out? Is it now impossible for Gardner Minshew II to get a fair shot at competing given how far behind he is? How can the NFLPA ensure that those bubble players get opportunity?

It sounds as if you're asking if it's impossible for Minshew to get a fair shot at the starting position because he's behind Lawrence in terms of knowing the playbook. I guess I could see how this could be a "thing" if you see things a certain way, but look: The Jaguars selected Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft to be the quarterback. I don't know if he'll start Week 1 in 2021, though I suspect he will. Either way, he will start soon thereafter. Will there be competition? Sure. Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer is big on everyone having to earn their positions and opportunities all the time. So, Lawrence indeed must earn his position and his opportunity. But he will. Absolutely he will.

Adrian from El Paso, TX

Jags for Hard Knocks? How likely is this?

Not particularly. Teams with first-year head coaches don't have to do Hard Knocks, which is why teams with first-year head coaches rarely do Hard Knocks.

Ryan from Pontiac, IL

Obviously, this draft is all about Trevor. As long as he works out, we can live with these others picks not being great players. To me, though, besides Trevor this draft is all about those second-round picks. I have a feeling that in three years we are going to look back and say, "We nailed those picks." One thing I will not question is Urban Meyer's choices in defensive backs. Look back at both Florida and Ohio State; the man has found and coached great defensive backs everywhere he has been.


Paul from Duval

Former Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders was a human missile. He left devastation and destruction in his wake – unfortunately sometimes it was his own. His situation reminds me of former Boselli. For a time they were elite at their positions, but injuries cut short their careers, and I think both should be in Canton, what are your thoughts O Man?

I think both Boselli and Sanders absolutely would have been Hall of Fame players had they played "full careers." They were as good as anyone I've ever seen play their respective positions. I think Boselli played long enough and well enough throughout his career that he eventually will be enshrined. I doubt the same is true of Sanders.

_Ryan from Orlando, FL _

Obviously, our tight end situation is less than ideal currently. Are there any wide receivers on the roster that could bulk up and fill into a pass catching tight end position?

It doesn't seem so. Meyer said following the draft the team considered the possibility with second-year wide receiver Collin Johnson, but it's thought he doesn't quite have the physical frame to do so.

Justin from Southside

Grading the 2021 NFL Draft now is a complete waste of time. Draft grading should be done six months, one year, two years and beyond after the draft to complete an actual evaluation based on performance and not how well teams executed on selecting pundit mock drafts. If the Kansas City Chiefs selected quarterback Patrick Mahomes first overall, would they have an immediate A+ draft grade for reaching on pundit evaluations? We will know soon enough how Urban (proven elite coaching) and the team performs. What say you, O?


Tom from Shanghai, China

Where is the harm in using one of our 90 preseason roster spots on a 33-year-old baseball player? I suppose on the basis that nearly half the 90 don't make the roster, it won't hurt too much to use a spot on a guy who almost certainly won't make the roster. On that basis, can I have a roster spot for a bit too or do you have to have been a close friend of Urban Meyer's from a decade ago?

I doubt you can have a roster spot. You probably must have proven yourself at minimum to be a high-level athlete and otherworldly competitor. Tebow has those attributes. I'm not saying those things will make Tebow a great tight end. But there are some things about him that at least make him worth considering.

Mike from Section 238

Can Travis Etienne be used like Marshall Faulk?

That can be the goal and there are elements of that when Meyer discusses Etienne. Faulk was a Hall of Fame running back and perhaps the best receiver/running back combination in NFL history, so there will be things that Faulk did that Etienne probably can't do.

Alon from Malibu, CA

It appears the Jaguars traditionally sign a lot of undrafted free agents and quite a few make the team every year. Did we sign an unusually low amount of UFAs this year? Do you see anyone likely sticking? I heard Dylan Moses is a highly probable player to stay on final roster.

The six undrafted free agents signed by the Jaguars were a lot fewer than usual. Remember a few factors. One, this is a new regime with a new general manager, and the philosophies on UDFAs sometimes differ from general manager to general manager. Two, the Jaguars have had 21 draft selections over the past two years – seven more than "normal" – so that cuts into the number of free agents who get signed after the draft. Three, this was considered a thinner draft than usual with many players having – and taking advantage of – the option of returning to college as allowed by COVID-19-related rules. That last factor meant a smaller pool of UDFAs than usual.

Rob from Jacksonville

Won't tight end be automatically improved just by being able to get whoever lines up there the ball?

Improved quarterback play helps everything, tight end included.

J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL

I just looked at the offseason program dates and what they're allowed to do. Talk about lame. What's the point besides conditioning? These guys aren't even allowed to play football! How are they supposed to get good at playing football at a pro level if they're not even allowed to play the damn game?

Teams are allowed four weeks of 11-on-11 work in the offseason. That's what is known as organized team activities and minicamp in late May and early June. But no … there's no contact for NFL players in the offseason. That starts in training camp.

Mario from Oviedo, FL

Hola, John. When does training camp start? I'm really getting tired and bored of reading all the hype, fairy tales and speculation that went around before the draft and now after the draft. And even though Etienne was picked kind of late in the first round I am hoping that a couple of years from now this pick won't feel like a waste of a first round pick as it does now.

Training camp is expected to start in late July.