O-Zone: Trust your instincts

JACKSONVILLE – Another NFL Draft in the books. I miss it already.

Let’s get to it …

Charlie from Jacksonville

Hey, John: I'm satisfied the Jaguars drafted well this year. Of course there will be some arrogant, self-righteous fans who will swear their blind grandmothers could have drafted Kentucky edge defender Josh Allen and Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor -- although in fact they did not and could not have.

The blind grandmothers probably would have known Allen and Taylor were good selections. Their talent and resumes spoke for themselves. Loud and clear. Now, as for the arrogant, self-righteous fans …

Steve from Sunroom Couch

Dear John: Why does this team treat their draft capital like a Paris Hilton shopping spree on Rodeo Drive?

I don’t know that you completely grasp what capital means. Yes, it means using selections on players. But, NFL personnel types also think in terms of having capital to move up in the draft for players they covet – quality over quantity, in a sense. The Jaguars in this 2019 NFL Draft moved up three spots in Round 2 for Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor. Some observers questioned the move because they could have stayed at No. 38 and selected another quality player. But the Jaguars didn’t want just any player, or just any right tackle. They wanted Taylor. They got him at No. 35.

Tim from Peoria, IL

What the heck is going on with Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith? After hearing General Manager Dave Caldwell say “we’ll see” if he’s on the team this season, what is going on? You have any intel or suspensions?

This was a topic throughout the 2019 NFL Draft, and figures to remain one until linebacker Telvin Smith next participates in workouts with the Jaguars. That’s something he’s not doing now, and he’s not required to do so because participation in those offseason workouts is voluntary. The topic gurgled near the top of the surface of Jaguars news this weekend because media on occasion asked team officials about it during a bunch of media availabilities. It took on a new profile Saturday night when Caldwell was asked if Smith will be on the team next season. Caldwell’s reply, “We’ll see,” seemed a change in tone from earlier in draft weekend, when he said simply that he hadn’t spoken with Smith this offseason and likely would reach out to him or his representation following the draft. Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin also was asked about Smith during the team’s post-draft media availability Saturday. His response: “What situation? Telvin Smith is a linebacker on our football team and we fully expect him to be here. It’s all there is to it. If you know something else, tell me.” Stay tuned.

Tony from St. Louis, MO

Why is this front office sending cryptic messages about Telvin Smith? It seems like they are trying to punish him for not showing up for workouts. Most of the drama is coming from the front office and that's not good at all.

The Jaguars aren’t trying to punish Smith for not being in the offseason program. The offseason is voluntary, and teams can’t punish player for not being there. As far as what Caldwell meant by “We’ll see …” well, we’ll see.

Mac from Jacksonville

Now can I start worrying about Telvin Smith????!!!!

Sure. If you want.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Wondering if Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash/defensive assistant Dom Capers have added a wrinkle to the defense that calls for a hybrid linebacker/safety and linebacker Quincy Williams has the traits to fill a particular role and maybe that’s why he was taken earlier than anyone expected.

No, the Jaguars selected Williams in Friday’s third round because he has unreal speed and playmaking ability, and because he can be an impact special teams player immediately. And perhaps to replace a player such as Smith. Eventually. Either way, I’m getting more and more questions lately along these lines – i.e., that it’s somehow Wash/Capers running the defense. That’s not what’s going on. It’s not co-coordinators. Wash is the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator, and the team is running much the same defensive scheme it has for the last six seasons. There will be wrinkles. But that’s the scheme.

Jeremy from Dodge City, KS

Have you seen Quincy's highlights … WOW!!! Looks like a steal to me.

This references Quincy Williams, a linebacker from Murray State the Jaguars selected late in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft Friday. The selection not unexpectedly drew the immediate ire of O-Zone readers who hadn’t heard of Williams because few draft analysts had talked much about Williams outside of his being the brother of Alabama defensive tackle and New York Jets No. 3 overall selection Quinnen Williams. I also hadn’t heard of Williams before the selection, but yes – like you – I watched Williams’ highlights. They matched up with what Caldwell said about Williams following the selection: his speed and suddenness jumps off the screen, and he absolutely has NFL-level speed and playmaking ability. There were also reports late Saturday that multiple teams were interested in drafting Williams in Round 4, with the Atlanta Falcons considering trading up to select him. This likely confuses people who assume the people making selections for the Jaguars are throwing darts at boards during the draft process, but there it is.

Jonathan from Ellenton, FL

What side do you think Quincy Williams would start in the coming years? I thought we needed more of a run-support linebacker since we've been gashed by the run in some games. Titans.

Weak.

Brian from Greenwood, IN

I was kind of surprised by your question (I think it was you) regarding the culture of the team. Your question implied that the Jaguars hadn't drafted for culture the past few years. Caldwell seemed surprised by the question. So how have the Jaguars not drafted for culture?

Caldwell was surprised at the question because the Jaguars emphasize culture and character whenever they draft or acquire players. But that wasn’t my question.

Larry from Duncan, OK

Johnny, you owe me an explanation. If I heard it once, I heard it a million times that Kyler Murray is too short to play quarterback in the NFL. Then the Jaguars take a sub-six-foot linebacker to play in the AFC South? Can he tackle Derrick Henry? Hope so, nobody from last year’s team could. Proud to be a graduate of Oklahoma, home of back to back Heisman Trophy winning QBs and back to back top overall draft picks. Boomer Sooner Mr. O

I owe you nothing. O-Zone is beholden to no man.

Mike from Melbourne, FL

No question ... just want to say the talent in our first two picks is insane. Anyone thinking the Jags should've taken Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson over Kentucky edge player Josh Allen is just stupid.

Hey, hey, hey … whoa. Enough with the insults. I’m not sure why we need to cast aspersions around here, anyway. I’m also not sure why people say “cast aspersions” so much when no one ever uses aspersions in any other context. What was your question again?

Kent from Jacksonville

I’ve never heard of the kid from San Jose State. So, I did what any fan would do and googled him. His highlights on YouTube were decent. Most of his catches were in traffic. And his 40 time was a tad faster than Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s was a few years ago. So I’m slowly warming to the pick. He can’t be worse than the tight end play we’ve come to expect from the Jags, can he?

If I’ve learned anything in two-and-a-half decades covering the NFL it’s to never say it can never get worse. It can. That said … point taken.

Michael from Sanford, FL

*Insert generic Gene Smith draft pick joke.* ...Your poor inbox.

It has been quite a scene.

Chris from Space City, TX

And with the 98th pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars select ... Chris from Space City University!!! You see O, there isn’t much difference between me and Williams. A guy that didn’t belong at draft from an unknown school with no real college football achievements. If talent doesn’t fall into the Jags lap like Allen and Taylor, then Coughlin and Caldwell have no clue. They could’ve signed Williams as a undrafted player if they liked his athleticism so much. He wasn’t on the NFL radar from anyone else.

This is categorically wrong on so many levels as to be laughable. But if you can run like Williams I look forward to watching you in the NFL.

Mike from Eagle River, AR

I guess I'm just crazy, but I figure if the Jags are taking a guy no one seems to have heard of in the third round (Williams), then that kinda leads me to assume they think he has a ton of potential ...

If your instincts are telling you not to worry about outcry over a selection from people who know nothing about the selection … trust your instincts.

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