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O-Zone: Was what it was

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …


I've been watching Pro Days and combine video a lot more this year. Do you think there is any chance the slide on Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is due to smokescreen rumors? If I'm San Francisco, how do I not take him? What are your thoughts on the Jags getting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Texas Christian safety Moehrig, T.K. and Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth in some order of our first four picks? I say slim and I say one of the first four picks will be dealt to move back. The draft is close … ready to call your shot on the draft?

I don't have a real feel for why Fields may drop, though my instinct is if the 49ers don't select him No. 3 overall some team will move up for him and he won't last much longer after that. Slide or no slide, the demand for quarterbacks is such that good ones such as Fields don't last long. As for my all-important "thoughts" … I assume you're referencing Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney when you say, "T.K." – and I would say there's a decent chance the Jaguars could get three of those four players. But remember: Just because Jaguars observers/fans seem locked in on those players and a few others doesn't mean the Jaguars' decision-makers see the players and the early rounds the same way. Chances are very good, in fact, they see it at least somewhat differently. I certainly don't think the decision-makers are looking at your four players and thinking, "If one of those guys isn't available where we want him, we're desperate to trade down." I expect the Jaguars to use all five of their selections in the Top 65 as opposed to dropping back. And yeah … I'm ready to call my shot. I think the Jaguars will select Lawrence No. 1 overall. But that's a guess. Only a guess.

Luke from Brisbane, Australia

KOAGF, how many interactions will coaches get with new draftees? Are voluntary sessions/OTAs the extent of it, or do they get one-on-one coaching time also? Seems from the outside that the lower draft picks especially are at a pretty big disadvantage with limited opportunities to prove to decision-makers that they "have something" before a call has to be made.

Rookies can participate in organized team activities and the offseason program after they are drafted/sign with the team. The assumption right now is the Jaguars will have OTAs, so the assumption is rookies will participate voluntarily. Rookies also may participate in the team's rookie development program – which overlaps the veteran program and extends a few weeks into June. Coaches may work with players on the field during this period.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

Trevor Lawrence has already signed four major endorsement deals. Is all that money accessible to him at time of signing? There isn't any rule on how long before a player can start earning before technically becoming a professional player, correct?

It's all available to him immediately. He essentially became a professional when he opted to forego his senior season to enter the NFL Draft and officially became a professional when he took money for endorsements.

Fred from Naples, FL

If the Jaguars select anyone other than Trevor Lawrence does Owner Shad Khan fire Head Coach Urban Meyer and General Manager Trent Baalke a) immediately after and before the Jets select him with the second pick; b) pick himself off the floor and fire them after the fifth pick is selected; C) wait until the draft finishes Round 1 to see if perhaps there is a miracle and he is still available with the 33rd pick or d) none of the above; Shad is too classy and will wait until the entire draft is over?

I don't understand the question.

Greg in Mims

With the Jaguars having the first option on claiming any player that any other team releases, does that give Meyer and Baalke more leeway to target higher-risk, higher-reward players during the draft? There will be many players released that are worthy of roster slots that Jax can pick from, no?

The Jaguars can and likely will benefit from being No. 1 in the waiver-claim order this offseason and early in the 2021 regular season. I don't expect that to dramatically influence how they approach the draft, and I certainly don't think it will cause a more cavalier attitude toward risk.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-Man, if you were out with the guys, partaking in some cold beverages and Sbarro, would you consider anyone else at No. 1 other than Trevor?


Steve from Fernandina Beach, FL

ESPN lists 100 players with a grade of 70 or higher. 70-79 means: "Solid starter who is close to being an outstanding player." Seems like a very deep draft. How do you analyze the overall depth?

This not considered a particularly deep draft, in part because many of the upperclassman that might have provided more depth opted to return for another collegiate season – which was made possible because of COVID-19-related rules.

Captain Bob from Jacksonville

_This is going to hurt. The famed, fabulous, food chain Sbarro is in jeopardy of closing. Oh, are you sitting down? I guess I should have asked you that first. My bad. No, not fake news. Maybe Pizza Hut? Papa John? No, they too are a financial mess. Maybe Mr. Khan could buy it?! Better eat all you can before...    _

Don't go there, Captain Bob. I'm serious. Just don't.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

A multiple/hybrid defense would seem to be more complicated to learn than a more typical 4-3/3-4. Is that more or less true? Do you think that this defense could struggle early in the year – and by that, I mean even more than a typical defense under a new scheme that really struggled the prior year – before really coming together later in the season or even next year?

Any new defense will have an adjustment period. But with the turnover in personnel on this defense this offseason there was going to be an adjustment period, anyway. I doubt realistically there will be more of a turnover for the Jaguars' "hybrid" defense than there would have been otherwise.

Doug from Jacksonville

I absolutely agree the nonsensical discussion about tanking needs to be put to bed. Can I throw something out there that may help? Four of the losses were by a field goal or less, one by seven points or less and one by eight points. That is six losses that could have been won with one score. Granted the last four games where a little more lop sided but Week 12 was a three-point loss at Minnesota. How many teams at 1-11 following another nail biter and full of injuries isn't going to fall off the rails a bit? If I gave the directive as an owner to tank, being one score away from being 7-9 wouldn't be how I would do it?


John from Cape May Courthouse, NJ

This may sound crazy, but hear me out. What if the Jags did zero scouting, but instead built their draft board based on the "wisdom of the crowd?" What if instead of grinding hours of tape, they used data, text analysis and scouting reports from the mountain of information currently available on the web to create their own big board based off that information. Every year there is consensus of who the top 100 players are in every draft, so I'm not sure how much of a competitive advantage teams are getting from watching the same tape everyone else is watching. Reality is, the draft really is just a dart throw especially later in the draft. And if the consensus agrees that these are the best X number of players, maybe instead of trying to be the smartest person in the room, maybe we should listen to what the other smart people are saying. Just some food for thought.

Your food is going bad, but it's not your fault because there indeed is a widespread perception that the information readily available on the web is exactly what teams use. But while you're right that there is a "mountain of information" on many prospects, it's equally true that there are many mountains of information on prospects that never gets out of draft rooms. This information involves not only medical and on-field/off-field background. Remember, too: A lot of what's "out there and available" is gleaned from conversations with scouts and decision-makers who are scouting and making decisions for NFL teams. That's not saying there isn't luck involved in the draft, but it's perhaps not quite as much darts at a board as your suggestion implies.

Steve from the Sunroom Couch

Dear, John. So aside from a few flat earthers, we've concluded that the '20 Jaguars didn't tank on purpose. What was the cause of the 1-15 record?

They weren't good.