O-Zone: Wait and see

JACKSONVILLE – That's it. That's a wrap.

The Jaguars finished off the 2020 NFL Draft Saturday with eight selections, bringing their three-day total to 12 and ending with perhaps the most frenetic draft day in franchise history.

If you followed it on television (or online, as it were) you'll know it was hard to maintain pace – particularly through the middle rounds as the Jaguars selected three players in Round 4, two more in Round 5, two more in Round 6 and a final one in Round 7.

How did they fare? What in the world happened?

We'll have plenty of time to discuss that in the coming days. We may as well start now.

Let's get to it …

Justin from New York City

While Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell "wanted to let the draft come to us," it felt as though for each pick we were forced to select a player a full-tier lower than the player before. Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson in Round 1 – while I am sure will be good – isn't in the same tier as Clemson safety/linebacker Isaiah Simmons. A few picks prior to No. 20, Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was available, yet we failed to make a move. In the second round, we draft a player widely expected to go in the third. And in the third round, we missed out on falling angel Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones when it was obvious Arizona was going to select him before us. Don't feel like letting the draft come to us worked out this year. Every pick was a bit of a reach to fill needs. Caldwell drafted like he's on the hot seat. I'm disappointed.

You and all fans are entitled to your opinions. The Jaguars felt differently. They believed the draft was deep enough to not waste later selections by trading up, and they liked the players you cited far better than you did. They loved Henderson exactly where they selected him at No. 9 overall and they would have been comfortable selecting wide receiver Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. in Round 1 rather than early in Round 2 where they selected him. I fully understand that people's perception might be different than reality, but remember: Beauty and fallen angels are in the eyes of the beholders on draft weekend. That stems from months of pre-draft analysis from outside analysts and media types that don't always jibe with what teams believe. That's one of many reasons it's impossible to judge drafts for two or three years until players have time to develop and perform. But to your main point (I think): I didn't get the feeling Caldwell drafted like he was on the "hot seat." He never made a trade, so he appeared very in-control and not anxious to make desperate moves at all. He drafted like a general manager sticking to a plan, which is exactly what he said he did.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Have you noticed the national draft coverage always breaks for a commercial just before the Jaguars' selection?

I hadn't noticed.

Mark from Archer, FL

John, the thing that makes me really question Caldwell right now is that after reading the war room article on the NFL website. Caldwell said they would have taken Louisiana State defensive end/linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson at No. 9 if Henderson was not available. There is no way the kid was worth a Top 10 pick. It gives the perception to me at least that Caldwell is willing to really reach for players with his pick.

Team grades often differ dramatically from the consensus. It doesn't make them right or wrong, though it does admittedly create perceptions and leads to questions such as this.

Crash from Section 147

O Man! I get a great vibe from St. John's offensive tackle Ben Batch. Reminds me of another Division III standout, Ali Marpet of the Bucs. I like what Dave did. He's bringing in classy, talented players. I hope Batch's protein shakes becomes the rage.

So, one fer Caldwell…

Logan from Wichita, KS

Gonna give this draft a (yawn) C? We got some OK players, no huge reaches, filled voids and didn't get worse anywhere so, OK, cool. But the reality is the future is so bleak I am having a hard time being happy or upset. We are now the apathetic Jaguars. We lose, we cry, we wait till the next fluke season where we have success, repeat. Best case: one or two of these players last on the team 'til then or something... go jags ... wooo.

… and an (unsurprising considering it's coming from Logan) one sort of not fer.

Kevin from Jacksonville Beach, FL

John, we can't win if we can't score points. Five of the first seven picks were on defense. Why do you think there is such a focus on defense at the top of the draft when we need offensive weapons?

The Jaguars didn't believe they were going to be able to compete next season if they didn't stop teams better than they did last season. They also like where they are on offense on the line and in terms of playmakers better than observers.

Eric from Columbus, GA

Soooo, running back Leonard Fournette is going nowhere! So many chances to get good value at running back and didn't bite. That can only mean he's back. Right?

One certainly would think.

Dave from Jacksonville

Did "Clean Gene" take over the draft this year? It seems like the front office feels as though they were burned by talented, but immature and selfish players, so they are going too far in the other direction to get "Boy Scouts." I think the best teams get great talent, then have the ability to get the players to buy in and put team first. Oh well...

The Jaguars absolutely emphasized character and positive locker room in this draft. Considering the alternative, and considering some of the goings on of recent months (and even years), I don't think I would have argued very strongly for taking a different approach. Good players can be good people. It's not illegal.

Steve from Out on the Road

Posting stories at 1:04 a.m.? Are you getting overtime?

It's the draft, so it happens late. No.

Dave from Chorley

John can you please answer me this? Why is the inconsistency of the offensive line not a big concern for the front office? It got quarterback Nick Foles injured (we all know what that resulted in) and had quarterback Gardner Minshew scrambling for his life at times. Let's also not to mention the countless penalties that killed drives - and if memory serves me well - robbed us of a few touchdowns. With all these issues, surely an upgrade in the draft would have been wise in the early rounds?

I understand the confusion on this issue, and I can't do much more to clear it up than say what I have said all offseason – the Jaguars' decision-makers believe the offensive line is better than observers believe. The thought is that all offensive lines are criticized around the league, and that the Jaguars' line isn't bad compared to many other units on other teams. There is some merit to this, though I agree with many observers that the line simply hasn't been as good in recent seasons as the resumes of the individual players would suggest. The Jaguars believe that the continued to return to health of left tackle Cam Robinson will make a difference on that side of the line next season, and that the continued development of a very promising young player in right tackle Jawaan Taylor will make a difference on that side. They also believe that center Brandon Linder is very good, and they like left guard Andrew Norwell much more than outsiders do. That answer won't satisfy people. It's the best one I can offer.

Don from Fort Myers, FL

Do you like triple H for Henderson, Herndon and Hayden or 4H for Henderson, Herndon, Hayden, and Harrison?

It's whatever.

Daryll from Palatka, FL

Obro, Did former Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin bring any new scouts when he came back in 2017, and do you know if they are still with the Jaguars?

The scouting staff for the most part stayed intact when Coughlin was hired.

Ray from Jacksonville

John: will someone please turn Dave's draft board right side up? Shenault was his highest-rated receiver in the class? Wow. Is there anything more useless than any GM's quote during a draft? Just once, it would be refreshing to hear "all the guys we really liked were gone and we couldn't trade out of the spot , so we took this guy."

Or how about this? We'll go with what you believe based on your expertise. That will push the story forward.

Gary from Fleming Island, FL

I think the Jaguars had a really good draft. But then I have thought that in past years also.

Fair.

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