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O-Zone: The absurdity of it all

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Neil from Gloucester, UK:
Dear, Mr. O. Following the draft process for the first time in detail. Do mock drafts have any validity? Or are they for a bit of a lark? Do Dave Caldwell and Sir Tom of Coughlan pay any heed to them? Thank you as usual.
John: These are fair questions, particularly if you've never followed the draft process closely. Mock drafts do have a degree of validity in the sense of providing an idea of where player(s) project. As far as specific mock drafts, and as far as projecting exactly where specific players will be taken … yeah, mocks indeed are "for a bit of a lark" on those fronts. Teams often use mocks as guides and checkpoints when trying to project various scenarios on how the draft might play out, but NFL teams generally don't pay heed to specific mock drafts to determine who they will take – and Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin certainly don't.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
If a team were to trade for Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. before or during the draft, would they be able to attach the fifth-year option to his contract due to him being drafted in the first round ... or would the Jaguars have to use the option and then trade him? Personally, I think you should keep 10-sack guys, even if it's just for one more year.
John: Yes, an NFL team that trades for a first-round selection during the player's first contract acquires the player's fifth-year option. When you trade in the NFL, you trade for a player's contract – and the fifth-year option is part of a player's contract. And I think the Jaguars should keep Fowler for 2018, too – and I believe they will do so.
Glenn from Jacksonville and Section 216:
For anyone asking if we should keep Fowler, go watch his sack at the end of the home playoff game that took their quarterback out of the game. He gets flattened by the lineman, laid on for a second, still gets up and makes a very legal and very nasty sack. You don't just get rid of that just cause.
John: OK.
Inigo from Land of Confusion:
Could you see the Jaguars moving to London if the city of Jacksonville does not play ball on the Shipyards/Lot J/downtown updates?
John: No – and your question doesn't quite reflect the spirit of this situation. While teams and cities are often perceived as being in conflict when it comes to stadium and construction issues, in the case of the Lot J/downtown updates, the City of Jacksonville and Jaguars both will benefit. So, while there certainly will be situations that need to be approved by city/state/federal interests, the Jaguars and City of Jacksonville are enough on the same team in this situation that getting the city to "play ball" shouldn't be a major concern.
J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL:
Honestly, not having a Monday Night Football game doesn't bother me one bit. People are talking about lack of respect from ESPN, but I think Sunday Night Football has long since replaced the popularity of the other game. In my opinion, and statistically speaking, ratings are down for MNF.
John: NBC's Sunday Night Football has been the NFL's weekly prime-time showcase since it debuted in 2006. Still, Monday Night Football is cool for some fans. They like it. And many fans take it as a sign of respect when their team is on it. For what that's worth.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Do you think the Jags' brass was going for the practice-uniforms look when they were putting these uniforms together? Tom's age really shows in these uniforms. Old and bland.
John: Jerell still not fer. Shocking.
Justin from Virginia Beach, VA:
The new uniforms look very good. Definitely an upgrade from the previous two styles. John, do you think we'll have a throwback week? Those '95 uniforms are classic!
John: Another fer (no matter what Jerell thinks) … and while I'm not sure what "throwback" means, I do think you'll see teal used more in the future than in the recent past.
Connor from Dallas, TX:
As a native Floridian and franchise-long Jaguars fan, living in Dallas has been difficult, to say the least. But I've paid my dues as a fan, and as soon as those tickets went on sale after schedule release day, I got my Jaguars at Cowboys tickets as soon as I could muster. I'm thinking of painting my face gold with teal spots... or should I do teal with gold spots? What do you think, O man?
John: Teal with teal spots. (You'll know, and that's what matters).
John from Jacksonville:
I used to believe in what I call now more of a myth regarding heat being an advantage for the Jaguars at home games in September. I really think it affects both teams about equally and it mostly comes down to which team can sustain long drives and wear out the opposing defense. Have you ever discussed this with players/coaches to see if there is any truth to the heat advantage?
John: Players and coaches have discussed this over the years. Some believe it's a big edge for Florida teams when playing a team from cooler climates; others see it as more psychological. I've always thought the whole heat thing was more psychological in terms of advantage, but if players think it gives them an edge perhaps it does.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, knowing how much you like theoretical questions for you, I've got one. Which player in this year's draft would have the most immediate positive influence on our team? Even though we are at No. 29 now I would be interested in your answer.
John: It's the nature of selecting No. 29 overall that you won't have the chance to select a significant number of players who could have a positive influence. I'll therefore leave out of this answer players who realistically won't be available when the Jaguars select. Of the players who realistically could slip, let's go with Hernandez. His size and power could enable him to play immediately. Package that with free agent guard Andrew Norwell and the Jaguars' interior offensive line could look a lot different – and a lot more powerful – in 2018.
David from Maplewood, NJ:
John, I'll go eh on the unis. I actually liked the previous versions (except of course wanting more teal … we love the teal). I don't dislike the re-design and the team has certainly had worse. More importantly, I hope the powers that be would consider trading up, not for a quarterback but if only five-to-seven spots to get the kid from UTEP, that would be awesome.
John: Not really fer and not really not fer … and one fer giving up a lot to trade up for an offensive lineman. Hernandez (see previous answer) is good, but trading up seven spots? That's a big trade.
Josh from Harrisburg, PA:
John … do you know why the team did not advance past the conference championship?
John: No …
Josh from Harrisburg, PA:
#playoffbeards work. #playoffmustaches not so much I tempted with fate it's all my fault. And the Pats were wearing white jerseys – and coaching obviously coaching since its always coaching. But in all seriousness #playoffmustaches don't work.
John: … OK.
Marlin from Newberry, FL:
Dear O, having cut cable I will be following the NFL Draft online and via Twitter this Thursday. I am excited about who the Jaguars will draft, but unless they trade up into the Top Ten, by the time they are on the clock it will probably be past my bedtime. But I will be reading all about it on Friday morning on! Thank you and the staff for staying up late Thursday and putting together the reports and analysis. My question for you is this: How many quarterbacks do you think will be chosen in the first round this year and who do you think will take them?
John: Good news, Marlin: Fox will televise the draft, so you can view it relatively inexpensively with an antenna. Still, I wouldn't want you to lose sleep over it. As for your question, I believe five or six quarterbacks will be selected in the first round. I have no idea who will take them, but it won't be the Jaguars. In an event that is by its nature uncertain, I am as certain of that as you can be.
Scott from Medford, NJ:
Big O! What about Taven Bryan at No. 29 if he is still on the board? Scouts are comparing him to J.J. Watt and Fletcher Cox. I know defensive line is not a top priority, but he may be best available player in the late first round.
John: Defensive line perhaps isn't a short-term need for the Jaguars, but we don't yet know if it's a "priority." If the Jaguars are looking to 2019 and beyond – and looking to the future isn't an absurd thing to do in the draft – selecting a defensive lineman indeed makes a lot of sense at No. 29.

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