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O-Zone: Ya think?

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Ricky from Orange Park, FL:
I've got to say, Zone … no prime-time games except for the Titans? Again? Four brutal games early in the season against teams with elite quarterbacks? The NFL sticks it to the Jaguars … again. I guess we should be used to it.
John: I've weighed in on the Jaguars' 2016 regular-season schedule – which was released Thursday night – elsewhere on the website, and I'll sum it up again: I just really don't see this is as a brutal, unfair schedule. Yes, the Jaguars play four very good quarterbacks early: Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay, Philip Rivers of San Diego, Joe Flacco of Baltimore and Andrew Luck of Indianapolis. But unless I missed something, those teams went a combined 27-37 last season with one playoff appearance. The Jaguars beat the Ravens and Colts – and San Diego is picking before the Jaguars in the draft. The Ravens are picking one selection afterward. I'm not saying the Jaguars will go 4-0 in their first four games, but if they're truly improved, they can and should win games during that stretch. And it's really hard for me to say that the NFL conspired against the Jaguars by giving them three home games out of the first four with only one 2015 postseason team in that group. As far as only having just one prime-time game … remember: the Jaguars went 5-11 last season. Yes, it appears they could be better next season. Yes, the offense looks improved. Yes, we who follow them closely see positive signs. But you have to earn your way into multiple prime-time games. Five and 11 isn't "earning it."
Darrick from Jacksonville: headline: "Jags, Rams, Steelers among candidates to become America's Team in 2016." Really? Okay, I'm a fan and all, but that's laying it on a little thick ... don't you think?
John: Yeah, they probably need to beat Green Bay first.
Seth from Prosper, TX:
Say the Jags are 8-4 or 7-5 going into the Denver game. You think there's any chance that could get flexed into prime time? I was hoping A-Rob would have at least earned us a Monday Night Football slot this year...
John: Sure, being 8-4 or 7-5 could get the Jaguars in position to have a game flexed. The Vikings game the following week even could be a possibility. Or the Texans game. Or the Colts game. Or …
Ryan from Fremont, OH:
I've seen a few mock drafts having the Jags select Laremy Tunsil with the No. 5 pick. With the signing of Kelvin Beachum along with having Luke Joeckel, what benefit would there be in selecting yet another offensive tackle in the draft?
John: The benefit would be drafting an elite talent, which is never a bad thing. But I agree that the signing of Beachum and the presence of Joeckel makes it unlikely the Jaguars will take Tunsil – or any other offensive player, for that matter – early in the draft. There are enough impact defensive players at the top of the first round that it's hard to imagine a team needing impact defensive players passing on one. The Jaguars are a team that needs those types of players.
Eman from Jacksonville:
You should do a five-minute O-Zone mailbag of armpit farts.
John: Not all of our O-Zone mailbags are posted on the website.
Bill from Hawhorn Woods, IL:
Wow! The Titans said it would take a king's ransom to move off the first pick. I believed them; I just never thought they would get it from someone. The same team that got the better end of a similar deal with the Redskins and RGIII took the other side of a crazy deal. Who do you think they are after to make such a crazy deal? A good idea?
John: I along with the rest of the NFL world would be very, very – did I say, "very?" – surprised if the Rams aren't pursuing a quarterback. Such draft-altering trades so long before the draft usually aren't for offensive tackles, for example. Was the trade a good idea? If Carson Wentz or Jared Goff is elite – and if they pick the right guy – then it's a wonderful idea for the Rams. If not, not so much.
Travis from Boynton Beach, FL:
How do you think the Rams-Titans trade affects the Jags' draft strategy?
John: I don't know that it does – at least not their pre-draft strategy. I didn't see David Caldwell trading up before, and I certainly don't see him trading up now. It could affect the strategy once the Jaguars are on the clock, though. With the Rams presumably taking a quarterback it stands to reason there will be fewer elite quarterbacks on the board when the Jaguars select, so that would seem to reduce the chances to trade back. The good news for the Jaguars and Caldwell is it appears two quarterbacks could go in the first four selections. That will push more defensive players down toward them. In the context of this draft, that's a positive for the Jaguars.
Travis from St. Louis, MO:
So, with the Rams trading away their future for a (possible) franchise quarterback it has to be a better chance now for us to grab, oh, say a Jalen Ramsey. What say you, Mr. O?
John: The Rams-Titans trade undoubtedly increases the chance that the Jaguars will have a chance to select Ramsey. I think it's still sort of doubtful here's there at No. 5 because I doubt he slips past Dallas, but it certainly increases the chances.
Jonathan from Section 215:
Holy smokes, John … How much tougher did the AFC South get with Tennessee picking up all those picks!? Here our division was the laughingstock of the league and it seems everyone other than the Colts is getting strong. Going to be a fun division to watch for the next 10 years imo.
John: There indeed was some teeth-gnashing among the fan base Thursday after the Tennessee-Los Angeles trade; fans are indeed worried about this trade turning the Titans into a powerhouse. Perhaps it will, but I guess I have a different perspective on these sorts of things than most. First, a team still must draft and develop well to take advantage of the many draft selections; perhaps Tennessee will, but that hasn't happened yet. Second, I just don't worry about the rest of the division the way many people do. Keep building your roster and get good enough to compete for conference championship games and Super Bowls. That's the ultimate goal, right – to be the best team in the NFL? Do that and the division will take care of itself.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
Does Shadrick get to participate in the selection of the 2016 Roar lineup? He would be a good representative of a certain element of the fan base!
John: #certainelement
John from St. Louis, MO:
O-Man. Can I get one fer the Ribault Lady Trojans? As a proud graduate, it was great to see the city and community supporting the National Champs.
John: You're talking about the parade this week in downtown Jacksonville honoring Ribault High School's girls basketball team, which this past season won the Class 5A state championship and the Dick's Sporting Goods High School nationals championships after that. And as someone who covered high schools when the great Al Austin was coaching Ribault and Tarina Lloyd was running point … absolutely: One fer the Lady Trojans.
John from Spotsylvania, VA:
All the mock drafts have the Jaguars drafting linebacker Myles Jack with the fifth overall pick, but should a safety hybrid injured player even go in the Top 5 much less to a team that lost its Top 5 draft pick to injury last year – and a player that doesn't really fit their scheme needs? Why isn't Buckner higher on people's mock drafts? The guy has 12" hands, is 6'7" and is fast.
John: Myles Jack even after the Rams-Titans trade will remain huge part of the Jaguars' pre-draft discussion – and rightfully so. Yes, the knee will be a concern, but if that checks out positively he is considered a possible foundation-type player who can change a defense. Those types of players are worthy of Top 5 consideration regardless of scheme fit and regardless of whether they play positions that historically are considered "Top 5-type positions." As for Buckner, I see him mocked No. 3 quite a bit and it's not out of the realm of possibility he could be the first defensive player selected. I'm not sure how much higher people expect him to appear.
Cory from Elm Creek:
Do general managers tell other general managers who they want if they trade up? Say, if the Eagles called the Jaguars, would he say, "We wanna move ahead of SF to get a QB?" Would they lie?
John: Yes, general managers talk. If there's a trust level there, a general manager might say who he wanted when executing the trade. And yes, said general manager might lie.

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