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O-Zone: The great irony

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Nathan from Provo, UT:
Draft Zone, I like it! That is a statement pick. Trenches, baby, trenches! What can you tell us about how they will utilize our new addition? #defensewinschampionships
John: The Jaguars' selection of University of Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan with the No. 29 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft absolutely can be seen through the "statement" lens. The selection was about strengthening what already was a team strength, and deepening what already was a deep position. It's also about the future. Whereas many observers were focused on the Jaguars improving offensively for 2018, the Bryan selection showed that the team is focused on 2019 and beyond – when salary-cap decisions must be made on many of the team's front-line defensive lineman. Remember: Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin won two Super Bowls with a Giants team defined by a deep and talented defensive front. The Jaguars last season returned to the postseason with a team defined by talent and depth on the defensive front. Is it so surprising that the Jaguars would focus on continuing to be deep and talented on the defensive front? As far as how Bryan will be used, Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell estimated he could play 20-30 plays a game next season as part of the team's defensive-line rotation. He appears to be a natural three-technique player who is relatively similar to current Jaguars defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson, but it's early yet. Really early.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
You never have enough big guys. They won't have the cap space to keep everyone. With the depth they have this year, they won't have to force him into the lineup. They can let him play situationally and do what he does best while he learns how to play in the NFL. It makes a lot of sense.
John: So … pretty much one fer Bryan, then?
Charlie from the Candy Van:
I literally can't quit laughing. Lamar Jackson and Will Hernandez are there and we take Taven Bryan? This is great.
John: And one not fer, apparently.
TJ from Orlando, FL:
Not sexy, but I get it. Now let all the "Lamar was there!" craziness start.
John: Done.
Jennifer from Jacksonville:
It's all about the almighty dollar. Every one of us Jags fans know it. The purchase of Wembley is a sign that the Jags will be moving. The team and Mr. Khan can make loads of cash there playing games. This talk about building up the 'Bank and surrounding areas doesn't mean anything. Who's to say that Jacksonville won't become the town in which the London Jaguars comes to play one "home" in the future? The organization can make money with non-events here after everything is said and done while playing none other home games in London. It would be a shame, especially for us Jags fans that have come to every home game since Day One. We all know owners will let this team relocate because they all will get a bigger piece of the NFL pie. This Wembley acquisition will just be another thing this organization can say if attendance drops. It's all about the "m o n e y..."
John: We take a break discussing the draft for an obligatory nod to Thursday afternoon's Big Jaguars Story: the panic among Jaguars fans over Owner Shad Khan trying to purchase Wembley Stadium. It realistically will take far too long to outline every nuance to this story in this answer; that's something we did several times Thursday – and besides, this we have plenty of draft-related issues to discuss. And we'll have time to revisit London Panic in the coming weeks. But for the purposes of not ignoring your question, I'll answer by simply reminding the panicky among us that Khan and the Jaguars have been clear for some time now that being strong in London is critical to being strong in Jacksonville – and that their presence in London is for that reason. I also would remind the panicky that the Jaguars and the city are embarking on development downtown to the tune of $2.5 billion; that's not the action or intention of an owner looking to leave a city.
Jami from Wye Mills, MD:
John, I know there will be thousands of questions and comments about the first-round pick, Taven Bryan. I'd like to admonish the haters that came out with the announcement of Shad buying Wembley Stadium. The man and the organization has done nothing but improve the Jaguars and their financial stability. Not to move them, but to allow them to be the Jacksonville Jaguars for many years to come. Thanks.
John: Haters … considers yourself admonished.
Richard from Orange Park, FL:
Let me be the voice of reason, the Jaguars are not moving to London. Shad has created then tapped an NFL market. Brilliant. But I always assumed when the tarps came off and the stadium sold out after the current contract ended, we would not sign an exclusive contract to play there every year. If the tarps come off and we sell out I want my eighth home game back. Will we never get our eighth game back?
John: The landscape of NFL and high-profile sports changes fast enough that it's unwise to use words such as "ever" or "never." But the Jaguars see a game in London as an integral part of their stability; they have been up front about this, and the game accounted for 11 percent of their local revenue last year. One benefit for the Jaguars of Khan purchasing Wembley is the ability to protect the team's presence in London. Considering all of that, it would be surprising if the Jaguars don't play a home game in London every year for the foreseeable future.
Jim from Section 142:
Shad's announcement has everyone worried, and I fall into that category. No one is spending $700 million without an end goal of getting his NFL team there full time. It will start slow with an away game also announced, then the following year it will be two home games, then half the home schedule, etc., his work here in Jax with the Shipyards is nothing compared to London's potential. Not good, O-man.
John: I understand worry, believe me. I live in a perpetual state of extreme worry that dissipates only when the bliss of pain, grief or terror becomes so great as to dwarf it. Sometimes cookies and juice work, too. I say this not to inspire envy, but to make the point that I know I can't ease your worry if you're determined or genetically wired to worry. What I can tell you is the truth – and that's that Khan has not spent the last five years doing all he has done in support of Jacksonville as some grand ruse to reverse field and move the team to London. If he did, that would rank among the most expensive, elaborate ruses in the history of rusing. But that's not what this is. It's just not. And remember: Khan doesn't need to put an NFL team in Wembley Stadium for it to be a good investment. We in the United States sometimes tend to suffer from an illusion that the NFL is the end all. In the case of Wembley Stadium, the NFL isn't even close to that.
Jess from Castle Rock, CO:
After the last four drafts where I was happy to ecstatic with the Jaguars picks I was looking forward to see which position (offensive line, tight end or wide receiver) they would select at pick 29. Defensive tackle? Very disappointed. The value wasn't there for that pick and there were plenty of potential picks at the right value. The Jags could get a similar in the fourth or fifth round. Second-round pick will be tight end. Guaranteed. Wide receiver can be gotten on Saturday. Offensive line is most likely the pick in the third round, but the prospect compared to who was available at pick 29 won't be there. Teams are supposed to use the draft to improve their roster. Coughlin and Company in Round 1 - swing and a miss.
John: The great annual irony of the NFL Draft is that the one thing that must be remembered above all else – and the one thing that inevitably reveals itself every year – is the one thing almost no one remembers. Ever. What is that? That all of the pre-draft paralysis by analysis, all of the talk from experts, all of the mock drafts and all of the lists … it's all fun. And we all read it. And many of us (I won't mention names) come to believe it is gospel. And yet, almost all of it is done by people who are not working for NFL teams – and many NFL teams sees many of the players far differently than the "gospel." This invariably causes fans and observers to see some players having high value and others having low value when it is quite possible – and even probable – that their favorite team feels completely differently about that player. It also causes fans to become incredibly angry and disappointed when their team picks a player they don't like, or passes on a player they want. History tells us that many selections fans hate become great players. History also tells us the opposite is true. History tells us that becomes more true the later you get in Round 1 and on into the draft. So, breathe, everyone … breathe. We'll know on this one soon enough – provided, of course, that two or three years down the road is soon enough.

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