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O-Zone: Wake me when it's over

JACKSONVILLE – A day away.

Let's get to it …

Chief from Biloxi, MS

If we don't trade from No. 1, then Hutchinson or Neal. Anybody else will be a reach. What say you?

I think you mean if the Jaguars don't trade the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, then drafting a player other than Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson or Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal would be a reach. I don't know that I agree – and what makes analyzing this draft difficult is you have a hard time finding much of a consensus on this matter. Yes, Hutchinson and Neal are deserving of the No. 1 selection. But so are North Carolina State offensive tackle Ickey Ekwonu and Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker. And probably Oregon edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux, for that matter. But when I think of a draft "reach," I think of a player unusually risky compared to other players available at the time of the selection. You can make some good arguments against all the aforementioned players at No. 1, so there's a decent level of risk with all five. And there are arguments for selecting all five players. I'm not trying to be evasive in this answer. Or wishy washy. I'm just making the point that this is a difficult draft to predict and analyze. Whatever decision the Jaguars make at No. 1, there are going to be analysts and fans who criticize it as a "reach." It will be popular in some circles and unpopular in others. That's the nature of this draft. Whee.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I read that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and General Manager Trent Baalke have a different opinion on who our No. 1 pick should be. Who knows if that is true, but if it is, would it be unusual for our owner to make such a decision? I would think he would trust his staff of experts on their choice of the pick versus his own.

I've received multiple versions of this question in recent days, which is understandable considering the nature of pre-draft reporting – and considering the nature of this draft. You're always going to have speculation, analysis and intrigue surrounding the No. 1 overall selection – and that's particularly true in a year when there's not a clear, no-brainer selection there. Not having an obvious No. 1 selection also means there logically will be extended discussion internally regarding the selection. Remember: Any reports about "disagreements" between Baalke and Khan came about a week before the draft, which means significant discussions remained before a selection. My guess is that any dramatic differing opinions within the organization will be far less pronounced by the time the Jaguars are on the clock at No. 1 overall Thursday – and that all parties eventually agree on the decision. And yes, Khan almost certainly will trust Head Coach Doug Pederson and Baalke to make that decision. That has been his usual approach throughout a decade of ownership. It would be surprising if that changed now.

Daniel from Jax

Why on earth would anyone show their hand before they have to? The Jags are still hoping that someone might trade for that No. 1 pick and no team is announcing who they covet most. Not this year or any other that I remember …

When it comes to the No. 1 selection in a draft, there is absolutely no reason to announce the selection before making the selection. There's nothing wrong with telling people if you do know, either. One reason would be to make fans happy. Good luck with that.

J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL

I honestly think this will be one of the most boring, yet intriguing drafts in a while. We'll see how it all pans out.

Indeed we will.

Mark from West Des Moines, IA

Hey, O. Do you think all the writers are right and the Jags will go defense at No. 1? For a team that just lost a lot of starters on the offensive line and with belief in right tackle Jawaan Taylor seemingly waning, I still say we protect quarterback Trevor Lawrence and go offensive line. I think it's all been a smokescreen to try to trade back and still get their offensive line guy. What do you think?

I don't sense there has been a smoke screen by the Jaguars in recent months and weeks, and I don't sense they will be able to trade the No. 1 selection. But after weeks of leaning toward believing the Jaguars would go edge defender at No. 1, I do believe offensive line is a real possibility. It's going to be a fun couple of days. If you consider that kind of thing fun.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF - I wonder if the same people who complain about the Jaguars' draft board not being final yet going into the week before the draft would complain if the board was noted as final a month ago. Then we would be hearing about "what is the rush ... things can change day to day." Sigh.

Fans gonna fan. It's what they do.

John from Jacksonville

The center touches the ball on pretty much every offensive play. Tyler Shatley did a good job stepping in for Brandon Linder without much of a drop off. Who is currently Shatley's back up or is he not on the roster? Are there several options in the draft or will the Jaguars feel the need to package some picks and go after a center? If not Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum, who else might that be?

I suspect the Jaguars will select an interior offensive lineman in the draft capable of either starting at center immediately or playing all three interior line positions. This does not mean they're entering the draft looking to replace Shatley; it means they're likely entering the draft open to the idea of strengthening the roster and that could mean selecting a center capable of starting immediately. Shatley's reliability and performance throughout his career likely will mean they don't feel the need to package selections or to necessarily go after a center. If one comes to them, they can take him. If not, that's also OK.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Correct me if I'm wrong: Cincinnati made the Super Bowl recently with a "weak" offensive line, Seattle had been successful for years with lowest paid offensive line and Dallas always has dominant offensive line yet only wins one playoff game every eight years.

You're not wrong.

Bill from Jacksonville

John, something that seems like it should be obvious just occurred to me over the weekend. The job of Baalke and Head Coach Doug Pederson on Thursday isn't to pick the best player for the Jaguars, their job is to pick the best player in the entire draft, minus the quarterbacks. If in 10 years the player picked first overall isn't known as the best player in the entire class, the Jags failed as an organization, no?

The Jaguars' objective at No. 1 overall certainly is to select the best player in the 2022 draft class. History tells us that's a difficult task in any draft. The comparatively even nature of the top prospects in this draft tells is that that's particularly difficult in this case. But yes … getting the best player clearly is the objective.

Mike from Lakeland, FL

Why stop at Dogfish 60, why not splurge for 90, or even 120? Don't settle for mediocrity because its readily available when excellence can be found with a little searching.

Because I prefer 60.

Bruce from Athens, GA

O, Whichever team drafts Jeremy Ruckert (TE/OSU) is going to get a steal.


Matt from Bradford

Zone, with the draft now here I hope we take Hutchinson. The "safest" player in the draft. High floor and not a particularly low ceiling. We just need a good player who will contribute. No one can really afford to miss at the top of round 1 and that can't be more true of any franchise than us.

I like the idea of Hutchinson for the reasons you cite – though I don't think it's any more important for the Jaguars to not miss at No. 1 than any franchise. The closer we get to the draft, the less "certain" I am of that selection. Then again, I'm not particularly "certain" about Walker there. Or Ekwonu. Or Neal. I honestly have no gut feeling on this either way. I feel out of control on this one. Like I'm driving without a steering wheel. And I have to admit I kind of like it. I'm tingly inside.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - Not sure why but I seem to yawn a lot when reading all of this pre-draft stuff. To me, what matters is the post-draft stuff because I don't yawn as much. I can't wait until after the weekend. Do I disappoint you?

Not in the slightest.