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O-Zone: Tick tock

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Chance from Windsor

Let's say we draft Alabama left tackle Evan Neal No. 1, which I believe to be a great choice. Do we give Walker Little the chance to start at left tackle and hope that Neal can go play right tackle? Assuming Linder is back, what do we do about left guard, right guard and right tackle Jawaan Taylor No 75?

These are all legitimate issues, and they pretty much make up perhaps the No. 1 question facing the Jaguars in the 2022 offseason – that is, how to best address the offensive line. It's a fascinating question because there are multiple answers with no obvious "right answer." Selecting an offensive tackle No. 1 overall absolutely is an option. That could be Neal or a few others. At the same time, Little – a second-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft – appears to be a very capable left tackle and played well enough late in the season to merit a look there moving forward. And there remains every chance the Jaguars could place the franchise tag on five-year veteran left tackle Cam Robinson, who had perhaps his best NFL season last season. I would assume veteran Brandon Linder indeed is back at center, and I would assume Ben Bartch will play right guard. I don't know that anything else should be assumed. Why isn't this a better answer? Because I also assume Head Coach Doug Pederson and offensive line coach Phil Rauscher will have a lot to say about the position. And Rauscher hasn't even been officially announced as part of the staff yet. A lot of decisions will be getting made in the coming weeks around this franchise, including a lot on the offensive line.

Abel from Westside

What happened to parity in the NFL? I don't see it!

Parity in the NFL usually is a bit of a myth. It's always true that pretty much any team can beat another on "any given Sunday." But it's equally true that there are usually dominant teams that are clearly better than the rest of the league. Over the course of several years, those are usually the teams with the best quarterback because it's so difficult to maintain continuity outside that position. There actually seemed to be a bit more parity than normal this past season – as evidenced by the competitive nature of the playoffs and by both Super Bowl teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals, being relatively low seeds in their conference. But that sort of balance typically has been the exception rather than the rule.

Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

No. 1 draft pick but no consensus about what player to pick. Doesn't that situation scream "Trade down!?"

Sure, but who's going to want a particular player in the 2022 NFL Draft enough to scream, "Trade up?"

Joe from Jacksonville

Understanding that the staff has been working on this draft for a year now, do the general manager and scouting staff know as of today which direction they are going in with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft?

Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke and the Jaguars' personnel officials undoubtedly have a good idea of the players who will be considered at No. 1 overall. The exact identity of that selection likely won't be determined until closer to the draft – with significant input from the head coach and perhaps the executive vice president.


How many rebuilds have we had since you returned to Jacksonville? I believe this is rebuild No. 10, right? Maybe it's the 11th? Forgive me, it's hard to keep up with the endless rebuilds. The Shad Khan era has been nothing but a rebuild. Stone-cold losers. What a pathetic, sorry franchise and owner. I hope that clown with his clown moustache sells the team. I'm sick of him. I want you to let him know that most of us fans are sick of him. Sorry I forgot my question.

Khan's not going to sell the team. So, one not fer Khan, I suppose …

Brian from Round Rock, TX

I'm worried we are going gut an already depleted roster and sink ourselves further in the talent gap hole. Shouldn't resigning our good players be top priority?

Yes, though such signings must be done within the context of building the roster – i.e., value and where the position stands. You don't necessarily want to make Robinson the highest-paid player on the offensive line if you believe Little can play the position at a higher level, for example. And you don't necessarily make wide receiver DJ Chark a $15 million receiver – for example – if you don't believe he can play the position at a No. 1 receiver level. I'd like to see the Jaguars re-sign Robinson and Chark, but the decisions aren't easy.

Ed from Danvers, MA

I have watched the Tee Higgins/Jalen Ramsey play over and over. Is it possible that Ramsey's past back injury could have caused an unexpected spasm in his neck causing his head to spin violently away from the ball?

I saw that, too. Good eye.

Marcus from Jacksonville

Shad Khan is always presented as an owner that is willing to spend money, and that has been true when it comes to facilities. But it seems like we are always near the top of the league in the amount of space we have under the salary cap. So, what comes first, spending or winning? Have we not spent because we didn't have the foundation in place to build upon, or have we not won because we haven't spent the money to get good players in here? Or is our lack of spending more related to the fact that we haven't kept our draft picks around for second contracts? If cornerback Jalen Ramsey, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and running back Leonard Fournette were still here we wouldn't be in the cap position we're in. The simple answer is, don't suck. Just don't suck and all the other stuff will work itself out. A good lesson for football and for life. Thanks for not sucking, John.

The Jaguars' "lack of spending" is a myth. They spent huge money under Khan's ownership in the 2012 offseason, then spent more frugally in 2013-2015 as they tried to build a foundation through the draft under General Manager David Caldwell. They spent major free-agent money in in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 on players such as defensive tackle Malik Jackson, defensive end Calais Campbell, cornerback A.J. Bouye, guard Andrew Norwell, quarterback Nick Foles and others – then didn't spend much in 2020 as they slashed the roster to get the cap back under control. They then spent conservatively last offseason with the idea that they were early in a long-term rebuild. Have they at times had cap space? Yes. But to say that the Jaguars haven't been willing to spend big under Khan is simply untrue.

Rob from San Antonio, TX

Super Bowl halftime shows sure have changed a lot over the years. Was curious so I looked up all the half time acts… was mostly marching bands and the like every year before 1990/1991. Any idea why it changed so suddenly?


Bradley from Sparks, NV

With linebacker/defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson nearing bust status and the draft being extremely deep for offensive line talent, is it prudent to go pass rusher first and offensive line second – or is receiver too important not to address early?

The prudent move for any team in any draft with any selection is to take the best player. I say this not to avoid the question, but to make the point that you can't just say, "I'm going to take a pass rusher No. 1 overall and an offensive lineman No. 2 – and a wide receiver sometime later." You have to take into account the quality of the player. Again: It does no good to get positional value if the player you're taking can't play.

Josh from Jagsonville

I don't see how there is any debate the next running back put in the Hall of Fame should be Fred Taylor. I can see Adrian Peterson or possibly Frank Gore going in there before but since they have a while before they are eligible do you think we just won't have running back in until AP makes first ballot or do you think Taylor gets in before that?

I would be surprised if any running back other than Taylor made the Hall before Gore or Peterson. But I would not be surprised if no back was elected before Gore/Peterson. The league is producing fewer superstar running backs these days because the game has changed, and the Hall voting likely will reflect that. I do think Taylor will get into the final 15 Hall finalists sometime in the next season or two. That should help his case. We'll see how much. He's deserving. He needs to be in. I think will take some time.