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O-Zone: The straight truth

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Azores

Hey John, as a season-ticket holder for the first ten years and an avid Jags fan since Day One, this has to be the most disappointing draft I've witnessed by a Jaguar GM! I thought the trades and pick in Round One were fine, although I would have selected one of the obvious defensive players available! But, after Round One it was a complete disaster! Other than the pick of safety Antonio Johnson, every pick was a reach – and half the picks were a reach and perplexing! I know you often say it takes until Year Two to see the value of a draft pick, but these guys from the fourth round on won't be around that long, except for defensive lineman Tyler Lacy and Johnson!

I'm sorry you didn't like the Jaguars' 2023 NFL draft. I admit I struggle to answer people's questions about drafts. This is because fans see drafts through a different lens than teams. Fans view value through media/internet/draft analysts lists, and therefore believe selections were good or bad based on such information. This isn't the information teams use, and their assessments typically differ from publicly accessible analysis. Also: Teams often aren't looking for big splashes in the draft – and the best general managers I have been around take the approach of hitting a lot of singles and doubles in drafts rather than swinging for home runs and risking strikeouts. I do understand why people don't like the Jaguars' draft this past weekend. I even understand why people call it a disaster. It didn't have name selections that lead to lofty draft grades. There was only one first-round selection and it was near the end of the round. It's hard to splash from there. But teams don't draft for grades. They draft to improve rosters and the Jaguars believe they did that this past weekend. Maybe you'll be right that it's a bad draft. Maybe it will be great. Time will tell.

Paul from LAKE CITY

With the potential cap savings, does this pick spell the beginning of the end for left tackle Cam Robinson in Jacksonville?

You're asking if the Jaguars selecting offensive Anton Harrison in Round 1 Thursday means that Robinson won't be with the Jaguars in 2023. It's not quite as simple as that. The nature of the extension Robinson signed in the 2022 offseason was that he definitely would be with the franchise in 2022 and 2023 with his 2024 salary-cap figure making his status with the team for that season far less certain. Harrison's selection certainly could give the Jaguars a logical option should Robinson not be with the team in 2024, but how this situation plays out isn't yet decided.

Tony from Johns Creek, GA

O, I sense Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson's master plan is to outscore their opponents. Brilliant!

Good eye.

Al from Fruit Cove, FL

Do we have enough cap space for 13 draft choices? Do we have enough locker room space for 13 draft choices?

The Jaguars have the cap space to sign their entire 2023 NFL Draft class. It's highly doubtful all 13 selections will be on the initial roster entering 2023.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - I keep hearing the term running back-by-committee. What does running back Tank Bigsby offer to complement Travis Etienne Jr. that the other three running backs we have do not?

Power, collegiate production, physicality, legitimate depth in the running-back room, a reliable short-yardage offense, etc.

Jimsure from DBS

I laugh a little at the fans who a week ago thought our general manager was doing a great job because of last year's draft picks and free agents who suddenly think he is horrible because he didn't pick who they wanted. He is our GM because he knows football. The fans think they know more about players than the group who does this for a living. Let's take a while and see how the draft class does.

Fans fan. It's what they do. Particularly when it involves the draft.

_Taylor from Columbia, MD                                     _

If we didn't make the playoffs last year (and beat the Los Angeles Chargers) this offseason would be a lot more concerning. That said, internal improvement is the real key. If you could choose two players to develop and play well next year who would you choose?

The first choice must be quarterback Trevor Lawrence. While he took major strides in the second half of last season and gave every indication of being a franchise quarterback, for the Jaguars to ascend to a perennial division title/Super Bowl contender, he must be more consistent – and even better – than he was last season. But I'll assume for the sake of this discussion that you meant someone other than Lawrence. In that case, give me linebackers Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd. The Jaguars selected the duo in Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. They played like rookies in 2022, which meant they flashed at times and struggled at others. If the Jaguars' defense is going to be consistently disruptive and move into the top half of the NFL, those two players must improve and be what they were drafted to be – i.e., playmakers who define the defensive front seven. If those three players – Lawrence, Lloyd and Walker – all improve and become some of the best young players at their positions, 2022 almost certainly will be special for this team.

Steve from Wallingford, CT

Hey, John. It really is disappointing to follow the website every day for anything tensing to Jaguars, and then getting surprise news during the draft that Cam Robinson is suspended for PEDs. How are we not getting breaking news on this team, from this team?

The reason is simple, and has been explained many times. We at report official transactions such as signings, suspensions, players being released, etc., when it is official. We discuss such reports and speculation on our shows – and here in the O-Zone – but we don't issue releases or write stories until those transactions are official. Robinson reportedly will be suspended for performance-enhancing drugs. When that news is official, we will report it. Until then, we will not.

Fred from Naples, FL

I am assuming now that we drafted a running back in the third round we can now officially label Snoop Connor a bust?

The Jaguars selecting Bigsby in Round 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft will make it tougher for all Jaguars running backs, and I can't say it bodes well for Conner. But the Jaguars selected Conner in Round 5 of the 2022 NFL Draft. I don't know that it's fair to label any player selected after Round 3 or so a bust. The expectations aren't high enough to merit the label.

Lenny from London, UK

O man, I don't pretend to know how good or bad our draft was, but what I do see after the draft is still a need for a good rotational pass rusher and maybe a cornerback. It appears as though we have enough cap space to sign a veteran to a one-year deal at one of these positions. Do you see the Jags going that route now that the draft is over?

Very possibly.

Daniel from Jacksonville

I know it takes two-to-three years to see if a draft class is good, but we already have some level of proof that this year's draft was a disappointment and that is in the fact that six of the 13 selections happened in the last two rounds. Having close to 50 percent of your draft picks in the last two rounds is not a recipe for success. That's the kind of draft a struggling team needs to fill bodies on a depleted roster, not a draft for a playoff team. At some point if you trade back too much without being able to trade up you actually end up losing value because the picks at the end of the draft likely won't make the team.


CaptBob from Jacksonville

My take on the Jags draft is 40 percent improve the roster and 60 percent or more save cap space by getting mostly all rookie special teams and third stringers. Why? In order to have the cap needed to sign TL next year. Be honest with your response. I'm originally from New York so the following is true, I get sarcasm (and get misunderstood like you do), we call it like we see it and it's hard to fool us. We also don't like being BS'd.

Having rookies on special teams and as reserves does save against the cap, and having a young roster could help a bit when structing Lawrence's second contract. But I don't sense the Jaguars had that in mind when they selected 13 players in the 2023 NFL Draft. My sense is they wanted to use many of their later selections Saturday to trade up and couldn't. No sarcasm needed here.