O-Zone: Walls closing in

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from Jacksonville

There are three or four outstanding offensive tackle prospects in this year's draft. Rank them in any order (I like Mekhi Becton of Louisville), but one of the offensive tackles would be a great pick at No. 9. It's doubtful any of the four will be available at No. 20. Imagine Becton and right tackle Jawaan Taylor as bookends for guards Cam Robinson and Will Richardson Jr. with center Brandon Linder leading the group for a couple of years. That could be epic. Left guard Andrew Norwell and his big contract become expendable as well. Might the Jaguars surprise and move in that direction?

That would surprise me, though many observers are projecting just such a move – and there's no rule that says those observers can't be correct. A couple of thoughts on your scenario. One is that Richardson still must beat out veteran A.J. Cann at right guard, which he has yet to do. Another is the Jaguars don't consider Norwell as expendable as many observers do. Another is that while all four tackles to which you refer – Becton, Andrew Thomas of Georgia, Tristan Wirfs of Iowa and Jedrick Wills Jr. of Alabama – are quality prospects, not all are pure left tackle prospects. Some analysts believe Wirfs is more of a guard and Wills is projected as a prototype right tackle. If, for example, Becton is gone at No. 9 then you might be asking that the Jaguars select Wills at No. 9 and play him at left tackle. Is that an improvement over Robinson there? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Either way, I just don't have the sense the Jaguars are going to force offensive line in the first round later this month. If one makes sense, they might select him. I just don't see it as the absolute lock many people do.

Bill from Orange Park, FL

The Jaguars have zero of their first-round picks on a second contract with this team. I vote the Jags trade all of their first-round picks for a later-round pick since that player has a better chance of being a core player for Jacksonville in their prime earning years.

That's a silly vote.

Mac from Jacksonville Beach

I understand Yannick's just doing what he thinks is best for himself. But, if he cares about his teammates, he needs to make it clear whether he will play for the Jags if he's not traded. There's the cap implications and other planning that will need to be altered if they know he won't play. I feel like he owes his teammates at least that much.

Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue benefits not one iota from making it clear whether he plans to play on the franchise tag next season if he's not traded. I therefore doubt he will do as you say he should – nor should he. It's the team's responsibility in this situation to be prepared for any scenario; not Ngakoue's.

Seamus from Vancouver, BC

I have changed my mind on Yawnick; pay him the tag price and not a penny more. This clown has the audacity to go on Twitter and claim that the Jaguars are keeping him from taking care of his family. That just royally ticked me off; he clearly doesn't understand what struggling to take care of a family really means, since he's now a millionaire. The man says he wants to "be part of a winning culture," yet doesn't have the backbone to be the one who helps make that culture? The guy sucks and I say good riddance if the price is right.

Ngakoue's comments admittedly have been tone deaf considering what's going on in the world right now. But he's hardly alone in that arena. If Ngakoue doesn't want to be here, that's his right. It's also very much the right of the Jaguars to have him play for them or not at all. I don't know if that's what the Jaguars will do, but the NFL's collectively bargained rules sure make that a real possibility.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I think the Jaguars can trade Ngakoue for a first. He has to know at this point that he will not get what he was asking. He can sign for what the Jaguars are offering, play under the franchise tag for possibly two years for a team he doesn't want to play on, or take what the market value is for him and sign a contract with a team that trades for him. The last option gives him the ability to publicly say it was never about the money and he can point to him signing for less as evidence. I think for him that is preferable to playing under the franchise tag here for two more years. Jadeveon Clowney reportedly lowered his asking price to the $17-$18 million range. Ngakoue is going to have to sign for something around $15 million.

I would be very surprised if Ngakoue agrees with your premise.

Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL

KOAF ... you keep stating the Jags have 12 draft picks in this year's draft. You also seem to think at least four or five should be starting this year as well. You also state that rookies usually make a big jump from Year One to Year Two like wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. did. Not all make that jump or are even ready to step in as starters right away. Some of fans have been watching football for as long as you have to know that this isn't a sure thing and that the coaching staff has their work cut out for them. With that many rookies, six wins will be a miracle. This is indeed a rebuild even if you and the Jags won't admit it. Thanks for letting me vent.

The Jaguars are going to be young next season. That's certain. And yes – three or four rookies could start. That won't make it easy next season. That Year 2 jump you mentioned? Gardner Minshew II needs to make it.

Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL

John: With Myles Jack moving to the outside, do you see Quincy Williams – who played a hybrid linebacker/safety – moving back to safety?

I see Williams being a backup linebacker.

Jason from Houston, TX

It seems as if Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell's way is to pick based off need first, and if value is there so be it. Everyone suggesting defensive tackle No. 9 and cornerback at No. 20 – regardless of who is available – seems like a terrible way to do business. I guess that's not a question, more just frustration at what seems like a horrible way to do business.

People are suggesting the Jaguars will select those two positions early because those two positions are needs – and because there may be players there that make sense. I don't get the idea the Jaguars will select tackle at No. 9 and cornerback at No. 20 "no matter what." Remember: The Jaguars selected edge defender Josh Allen last season when it wasn't a need and it was all value, so there's that.

Ted from Orlando, FL

KOAF — Long-time daily reader, first time writing in as I've never felt so compelled to express concern as I am regarding a win-now draft philosophy this year. I recognize that terms like "rebuild" don't sell season tickets, and that there is often a difference between narratives directed to consumers and actual internal directives. But any way you slice it, Caldwell is on the hot seat and everyone in the football world outside of Jax seemingly believes the Jags will not be anywhere close to competitive this year, meaning circumstances and human nature dictate Dave look for higher-floor-lower-ceiling rookies – and/or to trade draft capital for mediocre plug-and-play guys that can fill a hole this year to achieve modest, temporary gains in an attempt to retain his job, as opposed to reconstructing a roster of developmental talent that can ultimately become a contender in two or three years. Contrary to what the Jags are saying publicly, anybody that has followed this team knows that we do not have the players we need to win now, but that we could soon if we had a general manager who was afforded the ability to approach this draft with an eye beyond the 2020 season. Retaining Caldwell was a bad decision, even if just for that reason.

I understand your concern. And if Caldwell had been acting like a general manager selling out for the present, I might share it. But he has traded aging players for draft capital this offseason rather than doing the opposite, and all the Jaguars' moves this offseason have been about creating a healthier salary cap for the future and about building through the draft. That runs counter to the idea that Caldwell and the Jaguars might mortgage the future for the present.

Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington

Want 2 reeda dumm question? Too late..

Shawn apparently is quarantining.

Advertising