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O-Zone: Starting to feel good

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Sean from Jacksonville

This is what I see and hear about the draft picks that aren't popular: "Rabble, rabble, rabble … shakes fist … rabble, rabble, rabble …"

It's understandable many fans don't like certain selections in any draft – just as it's understandable there was rabble among many Jaguars fans following the 2022 NFL Draft. Why is it so understandable? Because all most of us who aren't in draft rooms can do is read/listen to experts writing/talking about the draft. Those experts have opinions that often get parroted repeatedly, therefore turning those opinions into consensuses about players. That's fine. It's how this thing works. People with forums shape opinions, and that never will change. The reality is the draft involves young human beings who are about to play an incredibly difficult sport at a level they haven't remotely experienced before. The draft therefore is about projecting if those human beings actually can do this or not. They often can. They just as often can't – and that's true even of players fans like very much. The rabble, rabble is to be expected when a team does something that goes against the consensus. How else are fans to react, particularly when the team going against the consensus – in this case, the Jaguars – has done nothing in recent years to inspire confidence? Time will tell if this draft is good, but it's not surprising there is angst about it from the fan base. It's not surprising there's angst about No. 1 overall selection Travon Walker considering all that has been written and said. The good thing is that angst dictates nothing about how the draft actually will turn out. Or how Walker will turn out. We'll see on that front in the next few years.

Chuck from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Pundits across the league have graded our draft low versus other teams. Our fan base isn't jumping for joy, either. Do you think there's a big splash move planned via trade or waiver that would turn the negative into a positive?

If the Jaguars make a "big splash" move in the coming weeks or days, it will be to improve the roster –not to "turn the negative into a positive" because the "fan base isn't jumping for joy."

Dan from Munich, Germany

Hi, Zone. I wish I have one of your readers as a financial advisor. They seem to know the future so well. They already know who will be a great pick (obviously by another team) and who will be a bust (essentially all Jaguars selections).

Yes, it's awesome.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

John, I genuinely appreciate what you do for us Jags fans, but to make it seem like we only bombed out on defensive tackle Taven Bryan in the first round is utterly false. Cornerback CJ Henderson is no longer on the team. That was a miss. Linebacker/defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson is still on the team. That is a miss. The list goes on and on and on from there. We have a history and you have to know that.

Of course I realize the Jaguars have a history of missing on their first-round selections. The question/answer you're referencing wasn't about first-round misses as much as it was about players who the Jaguars drafted more on upside than production – or "reaches." I suppose how you feel about this depends on what you mean by reaching. Henderson was a disappointment, but he was a productive college player and it didn't feel like a "reach." Chaisson has fit that category so far, and perhaps I missed another or two. I wasn't trying to make the point that the Jaguars never missed. Of course they have. I was more making the point that their missing in recent drafts didn't stem from "always reaching for project players." Many just didn't live up to their draft billing.

Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL

John, given free-agency signings and the draft, what type of defense do you see the Jags playing?

A 3-4 hybrid.

Nick from Virginia Beach, VA

In Jaguars Owner Shad Khan's tenure. we have picked in the top 10 for the past 11 years except one. Fans are right to be skeptical of Khan's choice in leadership. Why should the fans expect to win?

Jaguars fans have every right to be skeptical. How couldn't they be? They must win to inspire confidence. Few would argue this.

Tom from Mandarin

The Jags haven't had a draft this bad since the days of Shaq Harris. Tell me, is there really a war room or did Baalke just go into a broom closet close the door cut off the lights and throw darts at names on the wall?

So, one not fer the Jaguars' '22 draft …

D.J. from Conyers, GA

Just a statement. I'm very impressed with the offseason and the draft. This team had a lot of needs and deed a good job of addressing most of them. Can't address them all in one offseason, but I believe we got significantly better. General Manager Trent Baalke is growing on me. I can't wait to see Snoop Dogg run the ball.

… and one fer the Jaguars' '22 draft.

Al from Orange Park, FL

I don't remember the exact words, but Baalke's "BAP, and if the BAP and need dots connect, great" (or something like that), while not popular, is exactly how I believe it should be. Then, I'm driving down the highway on Saturday afternoon thinking, "I wish they'd take all of those sixth- and seventh-round picks and trade them for a third or fourth next year. And they did. TWO for Baalke!

Sometimes I get tired of all this positivity, but OK … two fer Baalke.

Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When will people learn that a class should be judged not three days, but three years after the draft?

Reality and rationality are cool. Some people like them. Many people prefer snap judgments and emotional reaction. The NFL Draft tends to promote people leaning to the latter because they read and see so much analysis, and they watch college football thinking it's the same game as the NFL. The reality is the draft is all about projection and therefore it's extremely difficult to know how a player will translate to the NFL. This will never stop people from believing they know, and that's OK. There's no harm in it. This is football and talking about it is fun. Really.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Specifically, which one of your coworkers likes you?

Hold, please.

Doug from Jacksonville, FL

As I discussed my disappointment in the first-round draft pick to a group of people who were excited about Taven Bryan – excuse me … Travon Walker – they said, "You must not be an SEC fan." My reply was, "I'm a Jaguars fan." Then, I thought about it. Other than Fred Taylor and MAYBE Reggie Nelson, I can't think why as a Jags fan I would be a fan of drafting the Southeastern Conference. Matt Jones, CJ Henderson, K'Lavon Chaisson, Taven Bryan, Ronnie Harrison, Derrick Harvey, Dante Fowler Jr., Leonard Fournette, T.J. Yeldon, etc., etc., etc. I understand the local fans get excited about the SEC picks, but I wanted to be excited for the Jaguar picks. I hope I am proven wrong, but Walker has all the potential to make the list.

And he has the potential to be an elite player, too. That's what makes the NFL Draft – and discussing it – so damned much fun.

Cole from Jacksonville

Sup, Zone! I heard Travon Walker arrived at the 'Bank wearing slides, but J.P. let him borrow those fresh Jordans. #Shadricksighting???

Good eye.

Brian from Atlanta, GA

So what are we looking at base front 7? Walker - Foley - RRH/Brown - Allen - Oluokun - Muma - Lloyd?

I would expect something along the lines of Travon Walker/Josh Allen at outside linebacker, Foye Oluokun/Devin Lloyd at linebacker, Roy Robertson-Harris/Dawuane Smoot/Malcom Brown at big ends defensive line and Foley Fatukasi at nose tackle. Give or take.

Blake from North Dakota

Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma gets you off the field on third down. Type of guy you can use in multiple blitz package looks with ability to rush from depth, or get depth in a drop. One fer Muma.

One fer Muma.

Craig from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

And how do the Jags think they're going to sell more tickets with a first-round selection like that? With another Taven Bryan style pick?

The consideration when selecting players in the NFL Draft is whether a player can help you win. If you win, you will sell tickets. General managers don't sit around tables in April talking with coaches, scouts – or even owners – about short-term ticket sales and they don't select players during the draft based on that. They just don't.

Andrew from Mattoon, IL

Please summarize the Jaguars' draft with the title of an 80s pop song.

"Walking on Sunshine."