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O-Zone: Still the one

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Tom from Jacksonville

John, I seem to remember before the draft that there were more than a few "experts" who stated that you could take a blanket and throw it over the Top 10 players in the draft and there would not be a definitive No. 1. Suddenly, the Jaguars screwed up royally taking Travon Walker with No. 1. I am more than a little confused. Help me, please!!!!

We're about ready to move on from the daily Travon Walker-Aidan Hutchinson debate here in the O-Zone, but I suppose this will linger in many circles at least until the regular season – and probably well beyond that. But your point is correct – that the consensus leading to the 2022 NFL Draft was there was no consensus about the No. 1 overall selection, and that one of any number of players could be the selection. There also was plenty of pre-draft angst surrounding Hutchinson, primarily because he had no sacks for Michigan in a nationally televised playoff loss to Georgia. When the Jaguars selected Walker – even before the selection, really – that angst suddenly switched to selecting a player who wasn't a big sack guy in college. I get it. Walker has some risk to him. And the consensus was that Hutchinson was the safest selection at No. 1. But remember: He was the safest selection from a group that all carried some real risk. The perception since the draft seems to be that the Jaguars passed on a rock-solid, can't miss player to take a player who carries significantly more risk than the other top players. That's simply not the case and is being waaaay overblown.

Levi from Bedford, IN

In response to a question about Jags' draft grades, you said many analysts didn't think the Jags filled many needs. Well, we used the three out of our first four picks on linebackers, so ... Yeah, I tend to agree we could have filled more spots. Very confusing. I also really, really don't like the fact that we drafted a guy No. 1 overall and we're not going to send him after the quarterback every play, citing "versatility." No. 1 overall picks need to sack the quarterback as much as possible, don't you agree?

A No. 1 overall selection needs to be a great player who makes your team a lot better. And yes … as an outside linebacker, ideally that player will be a huge sack guy. But if you're selecting No. 1, you take the player in whom you believe the most. The Jaguars believe Walker will be better than Hutchinson. They didn't want to take a player when they believed a better one was on the board, and yes … they believed Walker was better enough to merit the selection. To act otherwise is illogical.

Marcus from Jacksonville

Some say that the greatest addition to the Jaguars this year compared to last year is the subtraction of former Head Coach Urban Meyer. What do you say to that?

Such a scenario is not impossible.

Jason from North Pole, AK

At what point will you be able to watch Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. practice and report back on it? I am anxious to know if he still looks fast out there.

Monday, May 23. That's the first day the on-field portion of the Jaguars' offseason program is open to the media.

Jonathan from Jax

Not bashing the Travon Walker pic. I have no idea how it's going to work out but the thought or rumor that the Detroit Lions were gonna take him is laughable. Actually, I don't care which team it is. This is basically the same recycled group of decision makers, league wide, that allowed Russell Wilson to go to the third round, picked several quarterback ahead of Aaron Rodgers and let the greatest of all time slip to the sixth round. It's also the reason every year there are undrafted free agents that outperform almost the entire draft. Most of those guys are a bunch of idiots and would not be successful in other businesses either. The Jaguars have just had more than their fair share of the moron decision makers ... so have the Lions for that matter. Actually, other than the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers, the rest of the league is littered with repeat examples of bad scouting and decisions. I would have included the Seattle Seahawks of recent management, but they just lost their collective minds too. You always say it's a crapshoot in the draft.

The NFL Draft, like all player acquisition in the NFL, is a percentage and projection game. All teams make good decisions and all teams make bad ones. This is not unexpected considering the objective is to project how young men will fare against older men who are the best in the world at what they do – and considering the NFL and college football are in many ways very different games. Minimize the bad decisions and minimize the bad ones. Oh – and get quarterback right. It doesn't guarantee success. But it gives you a much better chance of attaining it and sustaining it.

Greg Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

Going through the list of the last ten years of No. 1 picks. There are only three names that actually have really "succeeded" in the NFL. Joe Burrow, Myles Garrett, Andrew Luck. The rest are good-to-OK players at best: Trevor Lawrence, Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff, Jameis Winston, Jadeveon Clowney. So the hit rate on this sample is about 40 percent, which may or may not be fair. I really hope Walker lives up to the pick. I really do. Trevor will be a beast eventually, but man given the data, it is hard to feel comfortable with this just because he is a number one pick. It really means nothing in terms of being a long-term good player.

See previous answer.

Marc from Oceanway

Zone, I'm curious if any of our lesser-known wide receivers might have inspired us further that we did not need to draft a wide receiver. Last offseason, there was discussion in the O-Zone about our glut of seemingly an excess of wide receivers. Could it be that General Manager Trent Baalke and Co. valued some of these receivers over those in the draft – i.e. Jeff Cotton Jr., Tim Jones, Josh Hammond, or Terry Godwin? Who of these would you guess might have the best chance to make the final 53, if any?

It's wrong to rule out any of the aforementioned players making the 53-man regular-season roster. They are capable young players who have shown flashes. But it's unlikely their presence had a major influence on what the Jaguars did at wide receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Jaguars figure to enter the season with some combination of Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Marvin Jones Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., Jamal Agnew and Laquon Treadwell at wide receiver. Anyone else likely will need to really impress and stand out in training camp.

_Bryan from Tampa, FL _

How likely is it we have two rookie linebackers starting on defense Week 1?


David from Oviedo, FL

_Ozone – Laviska Shenault Jr. and K'Lavon Chaisson are two really cool names for two really talented players. I hope the current regime values their potential and figures out a role for them to maximize their potential.  _

Wow. Those indeed are cool names. They are also potentially important players who to varying degrees have yet to play at a level expected when they entered the NFL. Shenault, a second-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, has flashed at times at wide receiver but struggled with drops last season and isn't yet a go-to-type receiver. Chaisson, an outside linebacker/defensive end and the No. 20 overall selection in the same draft, had one sack last season and hasn't found a prominent role in the defense. It's very possible one or both could thrive in a new system. Both seemingly have the talent to do so. The coming training camp and preseason could be key in that front. Stay tuned.

Cody from Hinesville

Zone, I've read so many questions involving the rotation of the defensive line but don't really hear about Hamilton. Is he buried too deep on the depth chart? I thought he showed some real promise.

Nose tackle Davon Hamilton in a sense is in a similar situation to Shenault and Chaisson. A third-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, Hamilton indeed has been a key part of the defensive line rotation at times in two seasons. He must play better moving forward than he did at times last season. With a new coaching staff and schemes, it's very possible he can do just that. The potential has been shown in the past.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I know this isn't the topic of the week, but do you still think Trevor is our man?