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O-Zone: Trust the tweet

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Josh from Pensacola, FL

I keep hearing rumblings that the Jags might use a first-round pick on a quarterback this year. I know they are just rumors, but please not this year. The last time the Jags spent a first-round pick on a quarterback was 2014 with Blake Bortles. That had to be one of the worst first rounds in history as far as quarterbacks go. I have a sneaking suspicion this year will be similar. With all the chances in recent years the Jags have had to grab a sure-fire quarterback in the first round, I really hope they don't choose to try this year. I mean, we passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson … why would they even consider going quarterback early this year?

Your question benefits from 20-20 hindsight. NFL teams don't have that luxury. No one knew at the time the 2014 NFL Draft would be a bad one for quarterbacks, just as opinions varied widely on Mahomes and Watson in 2017 – a year that indeed turned out to be a great one for quarterbacks. Neither Mahomes nor Watson was a "sure-fire" quarterback when drafted, and Jackson in no way was sure fire before the 2018 NFL Draft. As for why the Jaguars would consider going quarterback early in this year's draft … well, passing on the players you mention is one reason they must consider it. But mainly, it's this: They are selecting in the Top 10 and their quarterback situation – despite the team's hope that Gardner Minshew II can be the guy – is unsettled. When that's the case, you always must at least consider going quarterback early.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

With the idea that all the draft picks will probably make the roster, should some of these fans get ready to fan even harder because of the (slightly) more familiar names that might be on the chopping block?

Not really. Fans are going to fan, but you can add 12-to-14 players to the roster without releasing overly familiar names. It happens pretty much every season on most NFL teams.

Daniel from Albany, NY

Hi, John. I don't have a question. Rather, just a word or two of thanks for what you've done for countless (and continuous!) days in the O-Zone – and continue to do – for Jags fans and football fans everywhere. "Normalcy" and day-to-day routines are so suddenly so very different. I just wanted to say thanks to you and your staff for providing some well-needed respite and good-hearted distraction. Here's hoping that you, yours, and all of the Jags' extended families are well and stay healthy … even (and perhaps most especially) Jerell.

I am the King of All Funk.

Trevor from Jacksonville

Do you get the sense wide receiver is in play at No. 9 with CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma or Jerry Jeudy of Alabama? I'd love to see Minshew Mania reach new levels with a true No. 1 wide receiver.

My sense remains that defensive tackle and cornerback will be two of the Jaguars' first three selections in the 2020 NFL Draft. I do think there's a relatively good chance the Jaguars will go wide receiver with the other of those first three selections. If they believe Lamb or Jeudy are special, immediate-impact receivers then, yes … there's a chance those players could be in play at No. 9.

David from the Island

Poz was the last big splash at middle linebacker for the Jags. That worked out pretty well. Is it fair to think the new guy can have that kind of impact?

The Jaguars signed middle linebacker Joe Schobert as an unrestricted free agent from the Cleveland Browns with the idea that he will dramatically improve both the middle and weak-side linebacker positions – improving the middle by his own presence and improving weak-side backer by allowing Myles Jack to move there from the middle. Schobert is capable of playing at a Pro Bowl level, as was former middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, so … yes, the hope is he will have that sort of impact.

Diego from Tierra de Fuego

No point in pursuing free agents who have never been on a Super Bowl team. Odds of them making it to the Super Bowl Jacksonville junior varsity and their junior varsity head coach are pretty slim to none. Have a nice day, amigo.

Try again, amigo.

Bob from Sumter, SC

I think they go with Gardner and whoever the backup will end up this year, rebuild the roster in what is supposedly a deep draft and if he doesn't pan out as a No. 1, then they make a move next year to draft a franchise quarterback.

This could play out this way. The argument for taking a quarterback early is as follows: The Jaguars hold the No. 9 overall selection and 11 other selections, which means they have capital to move up in the Top 10 if they think a special quarterback is there. Those making the decisions won't be thinking to themselves, "We're going to be bad next season and therefore have a chance to select in the Top Three in 2021." Fans and media might think that way; not NFL decision-makers. That means the Jaguars' decision-makers could see this as their chance to get a potentially elite quarterback.

KC from South Florida

O, I'm glad the Jags extended a second-round tender to wide receiver Keelan Cole. I thought he really came on late this past season after getting more playing time and showed good chemistry with Minshew. Do you think he will be on the field more often next season, considering now he is being paid like a second-round pick?

I expect Cole to be part of the Jaguars' four-receiver rotation next season. I don't expect him to be forced into the lineup simply because the team extended him a second-round tender.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

I really like what Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell is doing. He is a trade machine; if nothing else we should respect his ability to get so much value out of guaranteed losses. He's the Danny Ainge of the NFL. I wish we were better at keeping our drafted talent on the roster, but I don't think all of that lies at Caldwell's feet. I really hope Jaguars Owner Shad Khan recognizes how shrewd his general manager actually is ...

Hey, one fer Caldwell!

John from Cape May Courthouse

While I believe the Jags need to defend the run better next season, I don't believe it to be paramount. Last year, of the Top 10 rushing defenses, six of those teams were not in the playoffs, including the top two: Tampa Bay and New York Jets. The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs ranked 25th. The message that yourself and many others who follow the team closely seem to preach that the only way for the team to succeed next season is by having a Top 10 run defense. Now that may not be your intention, but that's how it appears to a reader like myself. I just don't believe in today's NFL, in a league that favors and promotes passing, that having a top rush defense unit is the way to succeed in today's game. The idea that we would spend a Top 10 pick on a player to help defend the run is, in my opinion, the decision-making that has led the Jags to have only three playoff appearances this century.

The Jaguars must defend the run better than they did last season. If you wonder why, look at the beginning of the second half of the 2020 season. The inability to stop the run prevented the Jaguars from being remotely competitive in many of those games, and what had a chance to be a competitive season slid away in an avalanche of one-sided losses. Do the Jaguars have to be a Top 10 run defense? No. Do they have to improve other areas? Yes. But they absolutely must be better against the run next season.

Ryan from Jacksonville

Why is it that not everyone on the roster is active on gameday? Why are some players not allowed to dress even though they are able and paid the same?

NFL rules call for teams to carry 53 players on the regular-season roster with 46 active for games as a way to ensure teams are at comparatively equal strength as often as possible on game day. If teams simply had all 53 players available there would be many situations when one team had 53 players with another having 47 of 48 because of injuries. With teams having to deactivate seven players each games, teams usually always have 46 available and comparatively healthy players.

Mark from Sobieski

Hey, the news is saying we're in a rebuild, so it's gotta be true...right?

Yes, everything you hear on the news – and in social media – is true. This always will be so.

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