JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Bill from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
I know Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson has hinted that he wants an offensive lineman drafted No. 1 overall. I disagree, for these reasons: (1) Edge rushers are harder to find than offensive tackles; (2) Jacksonville was near-last in sacks in 2021 but had decent figures in sacks allowed; (3) left tackle Cam Robinson is a decent player, and Walker Little has potential; and (4), most important, we need to force more turnovers, and a good pass rusher can cause them by strip sacks and hurrying the quarterback. So, draft edge defender Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan or edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux or Oregon, not offensive tackle Evan Neal of Alabama.
A few thoughts on your thoughts. One is that while I may have missed it, I haven't seen or heard Pederson hinting about offensive line at No 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft; he has discussed needing to build around quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but that can mean drafting good players anywhere on the team and doesn't have to be specific to offensive line or even offense. I also don't know that edge rushers are that much harder to find than offensive tackles, though I do know elite players at either position are a premium. Either way, I agree the Jaguars must be more disruptive on defense – and I always like the idea of drafting players that affect the quarterback. If Hutchinson or Thibodeaux are elite, I like a pass rusher there. Bottom line: The Jaguars must select a player No. 1 overall they believe will be elite. Draft the player, not the position.
Nathan from Utah, US
Zone, who was the best rookie this year? Did the Jags miss with the number one pick?
I would go with wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals as the NFL's best rookie last season. He, along with the development of quarterback Joe Burrow, changed the Bengals' offensive dynamic and the two were perhaps the main reason for the team's Super Bowl appearance. I don't believe the Jaguars missed by making Lawrence the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, and the reality is no one yet knows if they did or not. Just as no one knows the best selection of that draft. We'll know that in a few years, but not before.
Lexan from Parker
I can be the next Tom Brady.
Cameron from Orange Park, FL
With the versatility of Evan Neal, what do you think of re-signing Robinson and left guard Andrew Norwell, and moving Little to right tackle? Robinson, Norwell, center Linder, Neal, and Little sounds like a potentially strong line.
A couple of thoughts here. One is it would be a little unusual to draft a player No. 1 overall to play guard; this is not to say it can't happen, but you would expect him to move to left or right tackle in the foreseeable future. Also: your plan would be more moving pieces around than overhauling the line. The pieces of this line have been good in spots and not great overall for the past three or four seasons. More personnel changes could be needed to jump from good to great. How the decision-makers see this will be a major storyline over the next month or so.
Scott from Jacksonville
Has it really only been two weeks since an EVP for the Jags was discussed publicly? It feels like a lot longer than that ... a
Scott? Scott? SCOTT!?!!!
Scott from Jacksonville
I hate this form submission thing here. Do you realize how easy it is to bump the enter key when going for shift??
So I've heard.
Jason from North Pole, AK
I would draft Evan Neal No. 1 overall and move Cam Robinson to left guard with Walker Little at left tackle. My question is, if the Jaguars place the franchise tag on Robinson, can they tag him as a guard in that scenario? I assume the average salary of guards in less than that of tackles? How does it work if he ends up beating Walker Little out at left tackle or playing there due to injury?
The NFL's franchise tender is the same for all offensive linemen – with no distinction between guards, centers and tackles. This doesn't feel quite right, but it has been this way since the franchise/transition rules were put into place.
Richard from Irvine, CA
Do you think the front office will be restructured before the combine?
I think there's a chance the Jaguars' executive vice president of football operations could be announced before or shortly after the Scouting Combine, which begins March 1.
Kevin from Jacksonville Beach, Fl
Hey John. You know, sometimes it's just best to wait and see what the product on the field looks like and give the new coaching staff a chance. It must get tiring hearing all the different scenarios from the hundreds of general managers that have no experience of putting a team together. These coaches and GMs are in these positions for a reason. Let them do their job and then judge the product on the field. How well do you think General Manager Trent Baalke and Pederson will work together building this team?
I have no reason to expect they will have issues. I also think the EVP of football operations will have major say in how coaching and personnel work together, and I expect that to be a positive influence.
Rob from PV
We only have about 23 more days to sign our pending free agents. I'm concerned that we are not hearing any news on this front. How are negotiations going with wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. and Robinson? Do you get the sense that we are anywhere near reaching an agreement with either player? Do you think we keep linebacker Damien Wilson?
News on these issues has been quiet, which is neither a cause of optimism nor pessimism. Such offseason renegotiations in February are typically very quiet except for the highest-profile players – and even with high-profile players, actually. The Jaguars just finished hiring the coaching staff, which means the organization – personnel and coaching – is now in the process of determining how personnel fits, determining offseason needs and prioritizing offseason moves. Intensity – and news – around could pick up next week at the combine and certainly will pick up significantly as March 16 approaches.
James from Jacksonville
After all your years writing for the Jaguars and making incorrect hype for the team year after year losing season after losing season, do you still feel like you have a good feeling for how the team will look in the years to come?
I always am amazed at the difference between what is read and what is written. I wrote often in the last two offseasons that I thought the Jaguars had a chance if all went right to six or seven games. I have written in recent weeks that I believe the Jaguars have a lot of work to do this offseason and that I would be surprised if they were able to get above .500 or push for the postseason. I very much hope I am wrong about that, but it just seems a lot of young players must develop quickly and a lot of offseason moves must go right. But hey … I guess I'll keep hyping things up. It's just what I do.
Donald from Jacksonville
Yes, former General Manager David Caldwell failed to evaluate properly at the game's most important position, but trading Calais Campbell is the move I most resent. Caldwell traded the reigning NFL Man of the Year for a lousy fifth-round pick because he felt he had lost a step? When an All-Pro loses a step, he's still one of the better players in the league! What bothered me most about dumping Campbell is that if he had played here for even a couple of years longer, he would have likely been a shoe-in for the Ring of Honor. By trading Campbell, Caldwell robbed this team, this city and its fans of the chance to add a bit to Jaguars lore and create a bit of history during a time when we have sorely lacked for anything positive. That move hurts me still.
Hey, one fer Campbell…
Scott from Jacksonville
What the hell is Orange Tree? I don't think they are there any longer, and haven't been for a long time. Been a while since you've been to Regency Mall, I take it?
I confess I haven't been to Regency in a while, either. The Orange Tree is not there anymore. The fact that it's no longer there was part of the "subtle fabric" of the joke. I could have gone with Mr. Dunderbak's. Or Record Bar. Or Chess King. Those also may have been subtly funny. May Cohens also might have worked. Sears didn't feel as funny. It's a feel thing, for the most part.