JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . .
Beau from Jacksonville:
Maybe you can shine some light on this Johnny: we brought in a lot of players and our general manager gave them a chance to stay in Jacksonville through a "prove-it" system. That said, our season is over and we have only signed one player to a four-year deal. Are the rest of the players we brought in failures or did they just not meet expectations?
John: I wouldn't call linebacker Geno Hayes, defensive tackle Roy Miller or cornerback Alan Ball failures by any stretch. Whereas defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks signed a one-year contract, Miller, Ball and Hayes signed two-year deals. That doesn't mean those players are necessarily long-term solutions, but them not yet signing long-term deals doesn't mean they're failures.
Mike from White Plains, GA:
Steven Jackson got paid premium money by Atlanta … how'd that work out? I believe Greg Jones left us for similar money to go to Houston, a team that was a contender. How'd that work out as well? I bet if the money is equal Maurice Jones-Drew stays and there will be plenty of other backs in front of him to get money thrown at next year.
John: It could well work out that way.
Mike from East Moline, IL:
Did anyone see Geno Smith play this year? That's the perfect example of why you don't take a quarterback just because you need one. That is a pick we used for Jonathan Cyprien. I agree that if there is a quarterback that can be a franchise-type quarterback then, yes, we need him. If you just take quarterbacks because you need one, you end up not drafting players like Cyprien for players like Geno Smith.
John: That's the entire dilemma facing a general manager with a team in need of a quarterback. It's fine to project, talk and rank quarterbacks in the offseason. It's fine to draft one. And it's also fine to parade that player in front of fans and media after he is drafted. But soon enough, the player has to play, and if he can't play well, then you're tied to a guy who can't play and you're tied at the expense of having not drafted another player who could have helped. How do you know for sure a guy can play? Well, you don't. Welcome to the life of a general manager.
Josiah from Jacksonville:
There is nothing to discuss. Johnny Jaguar at No. 3 – please, please, please, please, please, Ozone … bring us Johnny Jaguar!!! Manziel is so amazing. Him being a Jaguar would just be fate. It is meant to be. By the way, why do people say he doesn't fit our style of offense? Our offense has changed for every quarterback we have, so I don't see that as a logical con of Manziel. His size is fine. And he will get bigger as he grows up … he's only 20!!! Hop on the Johnny Jaguar train, Ozone … you know you love him.
John: One fer Johnny.
Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL:
For those saying to just take a quarterback over any pass rusher, Gabbert was taken one pick before Watt. Who would you rather have?
John: Watt, obviously. At the same time, the Texans did have Watt this season and finished 2-14, so there's more to the argument than just one player. You need a quarterback.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
Talk me down, John. I'm falling in love with free agents and draft picks … lots of good young guards and pass-rushers in free agency and some exciting young passers who will be available at pick No. 3. I just need to take a deep breath and trust the team and office.
John: No, no, no … I shall not talk you down. For love is a good thing, Brian … nay, a glorious thing. Love passionately and give your heart. Enjoy the pre-draft and free agency process … but yeah, breathe and trust the front office. It's OK. You can do both.
Ross from Jacksonville:
Any plans to change the helmets before next season? Gold or black, lets pick one!
John: No. There are no plans to change the helmets.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
Who do you think rebounds better next season, the Falcons or Texans?
John: The Falcons. They have an established quarterback.
Donna from Tazmania:
What's going on with Stanzi? Can we expect to hear of a cut? I wouldn't think anyone would want to trade for him. He has taken a roster spot all year and never played a down. I do admit that I wish we would have seen him play, even if it would have been once. Have you heard anything on him?
John: I wouldn't think you'll hear of Stanzi being released immediately. He's entering the second year of a two-year contract, and the Jaguars gain nothing by releasing him now. As the team goes through free agency and the draft, that could change – and there's a good chance it will. As for Stanzi "taking a roster spot," he was the No. 3 quarterback. No. 3 quarterbacks rarely play, so his situation this season in Jacksonville wasn't unusual.
Christian from La Habana, Cuba:
One vote fer trading down. I believe the staff will have extra insight after coaching the Senior Bowl.
John: This is a draft in which trading down could be possible and could make sense. If the Jaguars don't love a quarterback at No. 3 – and if some other team does love one – then a trade could happen. But again, let's not overemphasize the Senior Bowl. The Jaguars will get a chance to coach one team of players in that game. Their first-round selection probably won't play in the game, and most Top 10 selections won't, either. The Senior Bowl will help the Jaguars get to know a lot of the players, but it won't necessarily define the draft.
Alex from Jacksonville:
When I was watching the Patriots/Colts game Saturday, I kept thinking how much Ace Sanders reminds me of Julian Edelman. Is that a reasonable comparison, and do you think that Sanders can have that kind of impact on the offense next season?
John: Edelman gets a lot done in the middle of the field using quickness and an ability to get open from the slot to be effective. Sanders showed significant signs of being able to do that as a rookie, particularly in the second half of the season. The Jaguars' offense overall must develop in order to be able to maximize his skills, but yes, that's the sort of wrinkle Sanders can provide.
Chad from Jacksonville:
What's the update on Justin Blackmon? And do you think he will be active and playing Week 1 next season?
John: There's no update beyond what Gus Bradley and David Caldwell said immediately after the season – that's that they haven't had contact with Blackmon and likely won't until the suspension is resolved. This is very much a league matter at this point, so the team won't know as much as quickly as many people might think. I wouldn't be shocked if Blackmon plays Week 1 of next season, but I wouldn't be shocked if he's not playing either. There's so much unknown that it's hard to predict either way.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
If the Jags lose Justin Blackmon for whatever reason(s), do we get a compensatory pick for him?
John: No. Compensatory selections are only awarded for losses in unrestricted free agency.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
It is probably hard to overstate how depleted our receiving corps was at the end of the season.
John: You're right. When following and covering a team through the course of a season, it's easy to get numb to injuries and forget what a team has lost. Once a player is on injured reserve or out for the season, people tend to stop talking or writing about that player. But by the end of the season, the Jaguars didn't have Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III, and were playing with four receivers – Mike Brown, Ace Sanders, Lamaar Thomas and Kerry Taylor – who hadn't caught an NFL pass before the 2013 season. Considering the receiver position is one where it can take years to reach a player's full potential, that's a phenomenally inexperienced group.
Ryan from Gainesville, FL:
How often do NFL kickers /punters practice the other position in case of an injury midgame?
John: They work at it occasionally, but it's usually in the form of doing it a few times in warm-ups or on the side. You wouldn't see, for example, Bryan Anger taking a whole lot of repetitions in kickoff-coverage or field-goal drills in training camp or regular-season practice. A player getting hurt at one of those positions is so rare that the benefit of practice doesn't merit the time it would take.
Garrison from the Future:
Why isn't anybody talking about Todman becoming the starter? I see a lot of mock drafts talking about us drafting a running back in the second or third rounds. I do think we should let MJD walk and let Todman start. In his first start he had 109 yards, playing with the 3rd string left guard in against an elite defensive line in the Buffalo Bills.
John: Todman indeed proved capable this season. The worry with having him start is that he hasn't yet shown he is a between-the-tackle, grind-out-the-tough-yards back you'd like to have as a starter. He also hasn't done it over the course of a long season, which Jones-Drew absolutely has shown. That's no knock on Todman and his value, but that's what he hasn't shown yet.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Are you keeping tally of the "one fer's" and the "one not fer's?" Here's hoping for a number the day before the draft.
John: I'm not fer doing that.
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . .
Beau from Jacksonville: