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O-Zone: Whichever you like

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bradford from Orange Park, FL

I am probably not the only one asking … does them exercising Lawrence's fifth-year option portend one way or the other as far as him getting a contract extension before the start of next season?

The Jaguars exercised the fifth-year options for quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne Jr. on Monday, guaranteeing the players' salaries for the 2025 season – with Lawrence guaranteed $25.7 million and Etienne guaranteed $6.7 million. This does not preclude either player from signing a long-term extension.

Scott from Jacksonville

I read on multiple sites that the cornerback the Jaguars finally picked in the third round – Jarrian Jones of Florida State – was considered one of the very top nickel backs in the draft based on his college career. If so, good for him and our Jags. Still seems we're short a starter on the outside, though. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

I have received multiple emails along these lines in recent days, with readers seemingly forgetting that the Jaguars signed 10-year veteran Ronald Darby as an unrestricted free agent from the Baltimore Ravens in March. I expect Darby to start opposite Tyson Campbell. The question about the secondary is whether the group can stay healthy, and how the nickel/safety positions will play out in specific sub packages.

Matthew from Jax

KOAF, The value of this year's draft will not be known for some time. Having said that, I must give Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke some credit. He stated after last year that we must get bigger and stronger on both sides of the line. Hopefully we are starting to put a check in that box. Despite all the rule changes, games are still won and lost on the line of scrimmage. How different would last year have been if we could have converted on short-yardage downs and stopped the run, causing opposing offenses to be one dimensional? Hopefully this is the start of building a championship-caliber football team that is strong on both sides of the ball and can dictate how other teams play.

Hey, one fer Baalke.

Boomgrounder from Moundsville, WV

Hey, John. It seems that Baalke drafts with traits, high ceiling, potential, players that "fit the culture." What he is not drafting is what I would call the best football players and the players themselves would call the "dawgs." These guys all look great coming off the bus but I don't see "dawgs." I hope I'm wrong. You see any "dawgs"?

I confess to not being able to specifically define "dawgs." I guess they're players who yell a lot. Or bark. I'm not saying there are no "dawgs" in the Jaguars' 2024 NFL Draft class. I'm not saying there are no players who bring a toughness and leadership. I'm just saying I don't pretend to be able to identify "dawgs" during one Zoom call and five minutes watching YouTube highlights.

Big Jags Fan

Some fans expressed frustration that Calvin Ridley costs the Jags a 2023 fifth-round draft pick and a 2024 third-round draft pick for a "one-year rental" of a player they hoped would develop into a WR1. Now some fans are expressing frustration that the Jags traded down from No. 17 to No. 23 in exchange for a 2024 fifth-round draft pick as well as a 2025 third- and fourth-round draft picks and selecting wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr., who will be under contract for a minimum of four years who they hope will develop into a WR1. The Jags netted a better stash of draft picks for a younger, talented receiver playing in a rookie contract. Tough to be the general manager of this team.

Ya think?

Nick from Annapolis, MD

I obviously could be off here, but do you think it's true that most fans think of the draft in terms of what can help the team win this year, whole most general managers think about what can help them win more so the following year? It doesn't seem like a great formula to draft expecting a rookie to contribute in a significant way immediately.

I think if a general manager isn't looking beyond the current year at all times he's doing his team and the fans a great disservice.

Brian from ROUND ROCK, TX

Do you expect some impact from last year's rookies. Many have written them off. Didn't they write off Trevon Walker and had to finally, uncomfortably accept that he's really good?

I expect many players from the Jaguars' 2023 draft class to be improved in 20224, particularly safety Antonio Johnson (Round 5) and right tackle Anton Harrison (Round 1). I expect tight end Brenton Strange to be more involved offensively, and I expect the same from Round 3 running back Tank Bigsby. A couple of players to watch are Round 7 cornerback Christian Braswell and Round 7 guard Cooper Hodges. The team likes those players a lot. I suspect a few of these players will make an impact and a few will fall short – like most teams' drafts most years.

Richard from St Augustine, FL

As a retired armchair NFL general manager, after all drafts I would scour NFL prospect rating sites to see how Jags drafts picks were rated. One thing I noticed was the variability of the different evaluators. Of course I also saw how first-round draft selections of many teams turned out to not work out for a variety of reasons. I retired two years ago after continued frustration with continued losing seasons. This year I saw the Jags got many draft ratings of A grades, B grads, and C grades, further proving continuing variability in the eye of the beholder. What I do know is Jags have won nine games the last two seasons with continued improvement for the future likely. Does the Funk King have any concern that currently Jags are very focused on "character" to the exclusion of a player who has no disciplinary issues but may not be a "character" fit. BTW … I am certainly a person of "character" and believe that is good for the team. However, could the Jags be missing out on quality players?

The Jaguars treat disciplinary and other off-field issues as they treat other issues about a specific player – as part of the overall picture of a player. A player is not necessarily ruled out for an incident and a player without incidents is not necessarily selected. Overall, I'm a believer that you must take character into account because it often factors into a player's desire, availability and approach to the game. The NFL is really hard. If a player doesn't grade out well in the aforementioned areas, his chances to succeed really decline.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

What is the financial difference to the player of being drafted in the seventh round versus being signed as an undrafted collegiate free agent?

Seventh-round selections typically sign four-year contracts worth close to $4 million, with the caveat that they must make the roster each season to earn their annual salary – which is at or close to the league minimum of $750,000. Their signing bonuses typically will be a little under-to-a-little-over $100,000. An undrafted free agent typically signs a three-year contract worth the league minimum. Teams have a budget of around $200,000 to sign all UDFAs, but they also can guarantee part of a player's rookie salary if they so desire.

Shawn from Moore County, NC

Baalke pulled a Baalke again. Drafting players a round or two earlier than projected. I love the wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr., cornerback Jarrion Jones and offensive tackle Javon Foster picks. My two-part question is what grade do you give the Jags draft? We took several UDFA WRs. Do we realistically have an open space for one of them to make the team?

Projected by who? Which website? I'm not big on grading drafts two days after they end. Can the Jaguars' undrafted free agents make the team? Sure. I expect one will. I expect a lot more than one will be on the practice squad.

Dave in Section 103 from Jacksonville

Hey Zone, I've been a season-ticket since Day 1, and no matter what, Go Jags! Just trying to get my head around all our picks coming from the Southeast. On the scout bios on, found multiple scouts tracking the Southeast and nobody in particular covering the West and Midwest. Can you explain why it looks like there's a bias to the SEC?

Marty Miller is responsible for scouting the West Region. The Jaguars, like all NFL teams, have area and college scouts assigned to all areas of the country. Why is there a bit more emphasis/manpower in the southeast? There are a lot of good players at the schools located there.

Darren from Fort Worth, TX

All the comments about Brian Thomas Jr being the #No. 2 guy at LSU got me thinking ... Was Justin Jefferson or Ja'marr Chase the #2 at LSU?

Does it matter?