JACKSONVILE – Draft week.
Let's get to it …
Adam from Jacksonville:
John, if Jalen Ramsey and Joey Bosa are off the board, DeForest Buckner could be a strong possibility for the Jaguars at No. 5. However, I have heard he is best fit for a 3-4 defensive end or a hybrid defensive end/defensive tackle in a 4-3. It seems like we already have a logjam of those types of players with Jared Odrick, Sen'Derrick Marks, and Malik Jackson. Isn't the bigger need at this point for an outside edge rusher?
John: You have hit upon perhaps the central debate and dilemma for the Jaguars in this draft, and the reason there's debate and uncertainty is when it comes down to it, we just don't know exactly what the Jaguars see in these players, how they grade them and how they might eventually use them. We might think we know, and we might know what the pundits are saying. And the fans. And conventional wisdom. And the draftniks. And the senior writer. And Alfie. And yeah, even that Alan guy. But the Jaguars grade players, see players and plan to use players based on what they believe and not what the aforementioned people say and think. So, yes … Buckner according to conventional wisdom is a better fit for strong-side defensive end or 3-4 end or hybrid 4-3 defensive end/tackle – and yes, the Jaguars have some very good players there. And yes, it would be wonderful if there were a slew of edge rushers worth taking at No. 5 overall because then everyone's thoughts would be a little more in line with everyone else's thoughts. Then, fans and team could agree and the senior writer could sing hallelujah choruses driving 95-North to work next Monday. That's not going to be the scenario this year. That sets up the major draft week storylines: Does Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell love Bosa at No. 5? If he does and Bosa is gone, does he love another "pure edge rusher" such as Shaq Lawson enough to take him at No. 5? Does he love a player such as Lawson at lower than No. 5 if he can trade? Is Buckner so good – and some believe this is the case – that he's worth taking at No. 5 even with Marks, Jackson and Odrick on the roster? Are the Jaguars thinking of players at No. 5 that me, Alfie and Alan haven't considered? That's possible, and the end result is it's all a lot to digest. We've spent the last few months digesting it. We'll digest more in the coming days. Come Thursday we get a chance to throw it all up. At last.
Mike from Des Moines, IA:
I feel optimistic that Jalen Ramsey may be available when the Jags pick. Quarterbacks will go Nos. 1 and 2 overall. The Chargers will end the merry-go-round at left tackle by taking Laremy Tunsil. That leaves the Cowboys as the only team that may take Ramsey. I think they may take Myles Jack, Joey Bosa or DeForest Buckner. I'm looking forward to Thursday night.
Andrew from Section 410:
How does an NFL draft trade work? Is it a trade for the spot or is it pick for a specific player? Do both teams reveal the players they are targeting with an agreement both teams will not reveal players before or after trade?
John: If the trade is before both selections are made – as is usually the case – then it's for the selections. So, if the Jaguars and Cowboys, for example, swap the No. 4 and No. 5 selections on Thursday the Jaguars would use the No. 4 selection to take the player they wanted and the player never officially would have had anything to do with the Cowboys. There have been cases in the past where teams have selected players only to trade them later in the same draft. In that case, the team would have officially had the rights to the player -- at least for a very short time. As for your final question, teams will occasionally share the name of the player they're targeting with the other team, but they usually don't and they're certainly under no obligation to do so.
Dave from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I was glad to hear that Dave Caldwell passed on Josh Norman. Throwing a boatload of cash at an older player who is marginally better than what you have is silly. They have four picks in the Top 103 and should be able to get a quality guy to add depth to what they have. If you don't get Ramsey then trade up for Eli Apple if it is that big of a need. Cheers!
John: That actually wouldn't be a complete shock.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
If DeForest Buckner, Myles Jack and Laremy Tunsil are still on the board when we pick, who would be the best pick in your opinion – or who do you see the Jags taking?
John: If Jack's knee is not concern, Jack. If it's a concern, Buckner.
Steve from Hudson, FL and Section 106:
Do you feel there will eventually be a reset for wages for defensive backs – like the current wages for running backs – in the near future?
John: I'm assuming you mean that running backs have been devalued, which in some cases has been reflected in market demand and salaries. I don't see much evidence of defensive backs being devalued in a similar way. I sure don't think Josh Norman sees that.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
Do you think there is a huge difference between Myles Jack and Leonard Floyd – enough that it would be a stretch at No. 5 for the latter?
John: I think there's a difference and I think Floyd probably would be a reach, though I don't think it would be nearly as big a reach as I might have thought a month ago.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
As the Cowboys proved last year you just can't find many NFL-caliber quarterbacks on the street waiting for you to call them and suit up. In your opinion what is the easiest position to find players "off the street" that can contribute to the team in a time of need.
John: Hold on … I'm looking up Sexton's official title.
Colton from Emporia, KS:
Hey John! I love Allen Hurns and hope he's with us for a while. If Dave got a new deal done with him what do you suppose the contract would look like? Thanks, you da man!
John: I think the contract would be several pages of pretty standard size: 8.5x11 or so, with black-and-white-typewritten words and lines on the bottom of the last page for Hurns and someone from the Jaguars to sign. I imagine once the deal was done Hurns name would be there in ink – sort of scrawly not typewritten – and I imagine he would be smiling.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
In your opinion, how many pass rushers or LEOs do the Jaguars need to add in the upcoming draft? Would the Jaguars be comfortable having only Dan Skuta, Ryan Davis, and Chris Smith backing up one of the end positions? What kind of playing-time load is Dante Fowler Jr. expected to carry this year? Is the LEO position likely to be highly rotational this year between Fowler and a rookie addition?
John: I think they must add at least one. I think they will probably add two because Skuta may not really "back up" the Leo and I don't know how comfortable they are with only Davis/Smith in that role. I imagine Fowler will play extensively, though not solely at the Leo and ideally not nearly as much as Chris Clemons played, say, in 2014. I do think the Leo position will be highly rotational, but I think it may be more accurate to say that the entire line is going to be rotational. I don't think it will be as much about Fowler and say, Davis, splitting time at Leo and only Leo nearly as much as it will be about a lot of linemen playing a lot of different spots in different packages.
Adam from Jacksonville:
John, do team doctors perform their own medical checks on prospects? If so, have our docs looked at Myles Jack, and what do to they say about his knee?
John: Yes, team doctors perform their own medical checks on prospects. That's the reason team medical staffs go to the NFL Scouting Combine in February – and in fact, the medical examinations long have been the most important part of the event and many within the league believe that remains the case. Yes, the Jaguars' doctors have examined Jack. I do not know what they have said about his knee. That's not something I expect anyone to share until the draft and perhaps not even afterward.
Gary from High Springs, FL:
John, does Dave ever let you look at the draft board? Before or after the draft?
John: No, but sometimes he'll show me a funny text he just got. Or a meme. That Caldwell … boy, does he loves a good meme.