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JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brendan from Yulee

How do trades work on draft day – specifically, if one team receives multiple offers in their "window" to pick? Not a ton of time to sit on the phone with every interested team. I'm curious how it works, if you have any insight.

Draft-day trades usually work sort of as you might expect. If it's a Round 1 trade, the general managers involved might have spoken before the draft to get some parameters. If one or the other general manager decided during Round 1 to pursue the trade, the two would talk again shortly before one of the selections involved. It's quite likely that conversation would take place with one team or the other "on the clock." If another team were involved, it would be more chaotic – with a lot of hanging up and calling back. This gets a bit more clinical as the draft continues. Teams have less time "on the clock," but teams often trade a selection or two before a selection is made with a contingent that the player one team covets is there for the trade to be finalized. There's an element of chaos, but most people involved often have enough experience that it seems more chaotic to the observers than it feels to those involved.

Ed from Jax by Lionel Playworld

How thorough will our team evaluate the topmost prospects of this draft, such as Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams and Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr? Would the Jaguars be prepared to select either of them if they slid and nobody wanted to trade up? Top prospects sliding far is not that rare.

Teams typically scout, evaluate and grade all prospects in the draft – even those not at need positions, even those they don't plan to select and even those projected to be selected before a team's first selections. There are several reasons for this. One is that teams want to evaluate all players because they'll be playing against those players soon enough. Those players also likely eventually will become free agents, so you want to have some level of knowledge about the players. Team also want to be prepared for all scenarios on draft day.

Eric from Jacksonville Beach

I keep hearing how the Jags need to prioritize the o-line in the draft, including possibly the first round. I get that left tackles Cam Robinson and Walker Little are in the last years of their deals but isn't that kind of a luxury pick for this year? We have Cam, Little and right tackle Anton Harrison all under contract, so we have starters and a swing tackle. I heard they could play guard for a year but we just re-signed guard Ezra Cleveland and have guard Brandon Scherff with second-year guard Cooper Hodges backing them up, too. Feels like getting a starting cornerback or another wide receiver would be a much bigger need. Am I missing something?

I expect the Jaguars to select a cornerback in Round 1. Considering the contract situations of Robinson and Little – and considering the age of 10-year veterans Scherff and center Mitch Morse – a first- or second-round selection on the offensive line would make a lot of sense. You don't draft for the following season; you draft for the following four-to-five seasons.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Were you in attendance at the 1989 Daytona 500 when Gene "Thunder" Frenette won the event by two laps on foot?

The 1989 Daytona 500 was the last running of the event before my streak of covering the next 12 began. I thought longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette won one of the Twin 125s that year. Maybe he won both. It's not impossible.

David from Maplewood, NJ

Who is this Gary?

Good question.

Izzy from East Coast

John, two-part question - what are your best/worst moments as a sports writer and what prompted you to pursue that as a career?

I'll assume for the sake of this question you mean best/worst moments I've covered, so I'll stay in that realm and leave my personal highs/lows/misdeeds to a less public forum. Best/most memorable moments were the unexpected successes I covered – the 1994 University of Florida men's basketball team's Final Four run, the 1996 Jaguars run to the AFC Championship Game, the 2017 Jaguars' run to the same game and the 2022 Jaguars' remarkable late-season turnaround. Worst moment? Let's go with the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game following that 2017 season. I don't know that I've ever covered a team so close to unreal accomplishment have that accomplishment ripped so cruelly away as that. As for why I pursued sports journalism as a career, I'll give the condensed version. Having graduated the University of Florida in 1987 as a business major, I had no direction. I wallowed a while, then was fortunate enough while wallowing to catch on at the Florida Times-Union sports department at the lowest possible level. The sports editor, Mike Richey, and high school sports editor Nico Van Thyn thought I didn't suck and gave me an opportunity. Then another. And another. What prompted the direction? I was passionate about sports and didn't know what the else I wanted to do. What prompted me to stay? Probably this: Before working at the Times-Union, every day I worked was work and I couldn't wait to leave. Once I was there, I wanted to be nowhere else and could think of no other career as satisfying. Ah, the folly of youth.

Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA

Remember that one time then-New Orleans Saints Head Coach Mike Ditka traded his entire draft to move up and select running back Ricky Williams? That was awesome. The Jaguars traded most of their 2008 draft to move up to select Derick Harvey, who had like 3.5 sacks in three years. I don't like trading that much away, better to let the draft come to you.

Usually, yes.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

Watching the 2017 Divisional Playoff against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and something hit me. Having pretty much the exact opposite of center Brandon Linder makes me appreciate and miss Brandon Linder. Even if availability was an issue. Hoping to have a return to more of his level of play this year.

Linder was a solid player at center for the Jaguars for a long time. It's harder to find such players than some might think and they are indeed often missed when they're gone.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Baalke said in his presser that more undrafted players are in the Hall of Fame than first-round picks. What an amazing stat.

It would be amazing, and Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke's overriding point when saying this Thursday – that draft position does not define a player's career – undoubtedly is true. As far as the "stat" itself, I don't know that it's accurate. By my math, 135 Pro Football Hall of Fame selections were first-round selections while 20 free agents have made it. It is true that more non-first-rounders (146 by my count) have made the Hall than first-rounders. That's also an impressive stat, but perhaps not amazing.


Zone, very happy to see Shatley re-signed. Being a Jags fan since the start, I'm not sure there has ever been a player that I pulled for more to stay with the team every year … but never wanted him to actually play a single down. From a one-time college fullback to 11 NFL years on the offensive line at every position, one heck of a career he has put together for an un-drafted player. Heck, surviving 11 years is great drafted or not!

The Jaguars indeed re-signed center/guard Tyler Shatley Friday. Good guy. Reliable player. The kind of player every team needs. Very cool.

Gary from Centerville, Ohio

I feel the main reason for the change in quarterback and the draft is the rookie wage scale. With quarterback being "the" premium position, you now get that player at – basically – a discount versus previous years (where you had to decide if it was worth the money they would command as a high draft pick) and you're guaranteed that salary for several years.

This undoubtedly plays a role. Before 2011, quarterbacks selected early could command ridiculous salaries and guarantees that could cripple a team's salary cap. It was a primary reason the NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed on the wage scale in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement – and we indeed have seen more and more quarterbacks pushed up the draft board since then. Still, wage scale or not, I sense quarterbacks would still be being pushed up. Teams desperately need the position to win. And while the lack of a rookie wage scale would increase the risk involved with a quarterback, I expect many – if not all – teams would absorb the risk.

Broken Mattchetti Parts Unknown

How do become the next Jerell? Or Gary? Tell me or I'll riot … In the comments section.

Just be yourself. That usually gets people where they want to go.