JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jason from Jacksonville:
John, perhaps the Jags' front office and coaching staff were actually paying attention last year and finally came to the conclusion Luke Joeckel is not the player they thought he would be. Thankfully, they weren't poo pooing the idea for the need of a new left tackle like you were, and thankfully they were able to sign a Top 10-tier-type left tackle we need to protect our most valuable commodity. The end of Luke Joeckel at left tackle is near and that is great news for Jag fans to hear!
John: There indeed was a hallelujah chorus early this week among some fans when the Jaguars signed Kelvin Beachum as an unrestricted free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers. And this may well be a significant upgrade … if Beachum indeed is a Top 10-tier left tackle, if he indeed is healthy and if he indeed wins the job over Joeckel. At the same time, there's every chance Joeckel wins the job. That's what competition means. The reason it's a good signing is whoever starts at left tackle, the Jaguars have much more flexibility and a chance to improve not just one position, but two. It's clear from how the Jaguars approached left tackle in free agency they didn't think this move was the biggest offseason priority – if that had been the case, they would have been more aggressive in the first few days – but yes: credit them for addressing an issue in a way that gives them a chance to improve there.
Sean from Candler, NC:
John, I don't really care anymore what you call the position. Put the best four on the field and "See the quarterback, get the quarterback!" The rest will take care of itself.
John: There's more to it than that, of course, but I can't say I completely disagree.
Graham from Dundee, Scotland:
I don't get why people are so hyped on who the Jags missed in free agency. The goal was to get better; we have. Next year, we are looking for a winning record and improvement from the last few seasons. We can't jump straight into the Super Bowl. Yes, we can be better, but people need to realize a Super Bowl or even a playoff run will come in time. We've got the working parts; now, let's make them run smoothly together. My question: can you see David Caldwell pulling off a surprise on draft night – or can you see it definitely being Myles Jack, Joey Bosa or DeForest Buckner?
John: People get hyped about free-agency misses because fans are fans … and they're gonna fan. As for the draft, I'd be surprised if the selection at No. 5 is Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner; I believe he's a possibility, but it would surprise me. I expect it to be either UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa or Florida State safety/cornerback Jalen Ramsey; I expect one of those players to be available at No. 5 and I expect one to be the selection. Another surprise? Maybe Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. The Jaguars could take him, but if they do … yeah, I'd be surprised.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
The Jaguars once thought they were just a pass rusher or two away and spent a substantial amount of draft capital on it. Those picks were Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. They were failures and part of the reason the Jaguars had to "blow up" the roster a few years back. I'm not saying the Jaguars are a pass rusher away from being great or that Bosa/Buckner/anyone else will bust like Harvey. I'm just saying this idea that you have to pick a pass rusher because that's what the Jags lack is crazy. Pick the Best Available Player. Improve and be a contender for 10 years with Blake Bortles leading the way. If that happens to be a pass rusher, then that's great. But don't pick a lesser player. Especially if Jack or Ramsey are there.
John: The points you make are good ones, and there's no shortage of such lessons in NFL history. It's always foolish to reach for a player at a position if you truly think you're passing on greatness. The problem is, of course, you're always projecting and no selection is absolutely certain. The other problem is need always comes into play at least a little; that's because the NFL Draft happens in real life and not in a vacuum. I don't for a second believe David Caldwell would pass on a player he absolutely knew was destined for a Hall-of-Fame/perennial-Pro Bowl career for a player he believed was just OK because the OK player played a need position. But most players at the top of the draft are rated pretty close, and when players are rated close it makes sense to let need into the equation.
Carl from Walking Dead:
John-O, what does the term "set the edge" really mean and who primarily is asked to perform such a task?
John: Setting the edge means being stout against the run on the end of the line of scrimmage. Jared Odrick and Tyson Alualu.
Jason from Jacksonville:
The last time the Jags had an intimidating defensive line it was Hayward, Stroud, Henderson and Spicer. None were huge sack-number guys, but could all get there. Is there any chance we are headed there with an Odrick, Miller, Marks, Jackson line on run downs and rotating in Fowler and Davis on pass downs? If they are planning to go the route of the big line, then Buckner certainly makes sense at 5. If they are staying with the LEO base package, then Bosa or Spence should be the guy. I am assuming Ramsey is off the board.
John: There certainly is a chance the Jaguars are headed in the big-line direction, though let's not forget: Dante Fowler Jr. as the No. 3 selection in the 2015 NFL Draft has potential to be an impact, disruptive, big-time player off the edge. I mention that not to overplay Fowler's potential impact this season – or to put undue pressure on a young player – but to make the point that this defense in the next few years does not have to be limited to getting push up the middle with an occasional burst of pressure from the side. Fowler has potential to be better than that. As far as who the Jaguars may take at No. 5, I don't see it being Noah Spence, but could it be either Myles Jack, DeForest Buckner, Jalen Ramsey or Joey Bosa? Yeah, all of those directions make sense.
Perry from Orange Park, FL:
Linebacker has been discussed a lot as a big need heading into the draft, but with a starting trio of Poz, Telvin, and Skuta seemingly locked in where would these fast, athletic rookies fit in? What role(s) do you see them potentially filling?
John: As backups – unless they're better than the starters.
Jimmy from London, England:
Would you agree filling the free safety role with Tashaun Gipson was the Jaguars' most important signing of free agency? Also, because of the holes filled during free agency, do you think Myles Jack will be the name at the top of our board?
John: It has been vogue in the last week to call Gipson the Jaguars' most important free-agent signing of this offseason, and no doubt Gipson is important considering the need at the position. He also could help Johnathan Cyprien at strong safety enough to essentially improve two positions. But I'm hard-pressed to call Gipson more important than Malik Jackson as far as free-agent signings. Many considered Jackson the best available player in free agency. If he's an elite play-making talent who can make players around him better that's really, really important. The Jaguars don't have many of those on defense.
Mike from Jacksonville:
O-Zone, with Jags salary cap available, doesn't it make sense for Caldwell to lock up Allen Hurns? I think we all have seen his abilities are special and his playing through injury says a lot about how important the game is to him. Too early for contract talks?
John: It does make sense to extend Hurns this offseason, and I could see those talks taking place after the draft late next month or sometime before next season. There's no particularly hurry to do it in the next few weeks, but I have little doubt the team would like to get Hurns locked up before the end of next season.
Austin from Jacksonville:
I don't care how old he is. Let's bring Reggie Nelson home.
John: This was perhaps a slim possibility when the league year began March 9. It became much less of a possibility when the Jaguars signed free safety Tashaun Gipson early in free agency.
Ben from Jacksonville:
Mr. O, what are the chances of us signing Tebow this offseason? Could help fill up the seats and provide great QB competition.
John: Shad Khan … hire this man!!!!
O-Zone: True visionary
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jason from Jacksonville: