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O-Zone: Spreading out

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bill from Jacksonville

Now is the perfect time for hypotheticals! So, if you knew Kyle Hamilton would have Ed Reed's career, knowing nothing else about the other players in the draft, would you take him No. 1 overall?

A hypothetical question isn't necessarily a pertinent one. You can't accurately say whether you would select a player – regardless of position – No. 1 overall in an NFL Draft "knowing nothing else about the other players in the draft." That's because how you feel about other players dictates whether you will select a player. The Jaguars selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. It was an easy selection. Had Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck been in the same draft, it wouldn't have been as easy. Reed, a Hall of Fame safety for the Baltimore Ravens, is one of the great players in NFL history at his position. He obviously would have been worthy of the No. 1 overall selection in the 2002 NFL Draft. But defensive ends Julius Peppers and Dwight Freeney were also available in that draft – and were selected before Reed. Any team would have been pleased with Reed. Given the opportunity, would the Carolina Panthers (Peppers) and Indianapolis Colts (Freeney) have changed their selections to select Reed? I don't know. Pass rush is very, very valuable – valuable enough to trump Hall-of-Fame talent elsewhere. If Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton had Reed's career and a player such as Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson had Peppers' career, I doubt the team selecting Hutchinson would regret the selection.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, Brooks had an interesting point: "With the No. 1 overall pick, the defense could select the pick of the litter from a deep and talented collection of pass rushers in the 2022 draft class. The depth of the class could also encourage Head Coach Doug Pederson and General Manager Trent Baalke to double-dip and add another disruptive edge player with a Day 2 pick." If you agree with this, do you think the depth in this year's draft could lessen the possibility of selecting Hutchinson given talent there could be found later in the draft?

You're referencing recent analysis from Jaguars/NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks – and as usual, Brooks is right: Positional depth and talent certainly influence draft decisions. It shouldn't be the only factor, though – and if the Jaguars believe strongly in a particular player at No. 1 overall, they must take that player. The top of the draft is percentage-wise the best chance to get premium talent, and the difference between a premium talent and a capable one can be huge. Take a great player there at a position of value and trust he will be a difference-maker. Worry about getting good players at other positions later.

Nicholas from Fort Hood, Texas

KOAF: Maybe if you actually mowed your lawn people would know "to stay off your lawn." When I saw a messy, overgrown yard as a child I would always run on it and pretend I was in Jurassic Park evading dinosaurs.

It sounds as if you maybe were a big part of the problem. Perhaps you still are.

Rich from Dacula, GA

I think the free agents have given us about three more wins this year, but if we draft well, it could add an additional two-to-four wins. I think the strategy should be to take best available (Hutchinson with the first pick) and then if all is close to same on additional picks, we should lean towards building a great "D." Defense wins championships. Also: By having a great D, the offense can be on the field more. Can you buy into this?

Somewhat, but I lean more to the adage that you build a great offense through the draft and it's a bit easier to build a defense quickly through free agency. The reality for the Jaguars is Lawrence is the key for the foreseeable future. The offense must be able to function, and you need quality young players to develop around him. Bottom line: The Jaguars have enough "needs" they don't need to focus on a particular side of the ball. They must make sure they select good players.

Iicia from Philadelphia, PA

Can I play for Jacksonville Jaguars?

Can you make plays?

Justin from NYC

Now that Cam has signed his tender, are the odds the Jags go offensive tackle basically nil? My dream of the jags having an elite O line are crushed. Yay for balance I guess?

Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson indeed signed his franchise-tag tender Wednesday, meaning he is committed to at least playing for the Jaguars next season on a one-year contract. There also remains a good chance Robinson and the Jaguars will agree to a long-term contract extension. I haven't expected the Jaguars to select an offensive lineman No. 1 overall this month for a while now. It appears they like their starting offensive line much more than many observers do. How that affects your dreams is up to you, I suppose.

David from Orlando, FL

KOAF – If Jalen Ramsey was coming out in this year's draft would you consider drafting him at No. 1?

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the No. 5 overall selection by the Jaguars in the 2016 NFL Draft now with the Los Angeles Rams, is a special talent and was considered a special talent entering that draft. He probably would be considered for No. 1 overall. I expect the positional value of pass rusher/offensive line would mean those positions being selected over Ramsey, but it would be a heck of a discussion.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL


It's just that way.

Tim from Oklahoma City, OK

From what I can tell, a highly successful pass rusher can increase the value of the cornerbacks and safeties playing behind them. If the quarterback is hurried, he can make bad throws into coverage. The wide receivers have less time to get separation. An elite pass rusher will make good defensive backs look great. The inverse seems to be true with wide receiver and offensive line. An elite wide receiver that can get separation early means that the offensive line is engaged with pass rushers for less time, giving the quarterback options earlier, and taking fewer sacks. Am I off base here?

Quality players at any position help all positions for the reasons you cite. Pass rusher and left tackle historically have been valued just behind quarterback because pass rushers have potential to disrupt a game every play, and left tackles historically were responsible for preventing that. That's a generality, but that was the theory. Wide receiver historically has been valued a bit less because defenses can theoretically take away an elite receiver with double coverage, etc. The value of wide receivers – particularly elite ones – appears to be increasing. I'm curious how that will play out over the next few drafts.

Andrew from Halifax

Would a one for one trade where the Jags trade the No. 1 for Metcalf be equitable in this WR economy?

If you believe Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf a true No. 1 receiver, yes. There are those who consider him a big-time weapon and deep threat more than a "true WR1," so that's the debate.

Josh from Yulee, FL

Do you think Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. will regain 100 percent of his burst and speed after the injury being that he is young? And if he loses a step, do you think he can still be effective given his size?

Etienne sustained a Lisfranc injury last August, an injury that kept him out the rest of the season. It's a serious injury for a running back. I don't know if he will regain his burst and speed– and don't know that he won't. He said Tuesday he is 85-to-90 percent recovered. He seems optimistic and that's a good thing. I doubt he would be as effective if he loses a step because his game is based on speed, quickness and athleticism. We'll see.

Michael from Athens, GA

Light a candle, light a motive, step down, step down.

Watch your heel crush, crush. Uh oh.

Emo from the beach

Should you consider four picks in the first two rounds of the draft better than 12 picks overall (as the Jags have)? Granted, the draft may produce three-to-four starters and the rest are for depth and depth players could be signed as collegiate free agents.

Two selections in the first two rounds – say, the first and fifteenth selections of each of those rounds – would generally be considered to have more value than 12 selections spread over the draft with just two selections in those rounds. You wouldn't necessarily want to have just four selections in the first two rounds every draft, because you like having draft depth for special teams and roster development. But if you hit on those four early selections every draft you would be in good shape.