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O-Zone: Year after year

JACKSONVILLE – Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat.

We could probably repeat a few parts of Saturday's O-Zone in this Sunday O-Zone, but we'll start with saying again that app form for O-Zone questions is not working correctly. We therefore ask that you continue submitting question through the website form or via Joehser@gmail.com.

And thanks for your continued patience.

And I suppose we'll be repeating a few points about fan angst that accompanies every NFL team's draft every year, particularly when teams commit the unforgivable sin of selecting players in a different order than they appear on internet rankings.

Sound familiar? Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat.

Let's get to it …

McDiesel Jaguar from Urbana

How is it possible to totally screw up what could've been an almost-perfect draft for us?? After our first overall pick of course! I am just saddened and aggravated yet again ...

This was a similar opinion to that voiced by multiple readers Saturday, and it was similar to the first email in Saturday's O-Zone. And it indeed seems some readers continue to be disappointed and upset about much of the Jaguars' 2021 NFL Draft. I touched on the inevitability of this Saturday by noting that because the Jaguars – like many teams – care little about the consensus opinions available on the internet, their decisions often stray from popular opinion and therefore are seen as "screw ups" in the immediate aftermath of the draft. The reality is teams do their own work and have their own opinions. Perhaps the teams are right. Perhaps the analysts are right. Time will tell, but just because teams "pass" on players with higher "grades" doesn't mean they were actually passing or that the "grades" are accurate. I get that you are sad. I get that you are aggravated. Such emotions are understandable and common on draft day. Whether or not the emotions are merited we'll find out – like, in a year or two.

Matty from St. Augustine, FL

Bright side. We get first option at waiver wires. :)

The bright side is the Jaguars selected Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. And they got eight more players they really like. Whether not observers like the other eight is another question. The answer doesn't matter to the decision-makers all that much. Not because they don't want their decisions to be liked. It's just that they can't base decisions on that. It's an impossible task, and not one that has much benefit to the goal of improving the organization.

Steve from Sunroom Couch

Dear John, So much for BAP with that tight end selection.

He wasn't your best available player. I don't doubt that for a second.

Mark from Archer, FL

John, I am worried about the whole drafting a ton of players who were five-star recruits coming out of high school. I think Jaguars Head Coach Meyer is still thinking too much like a college coach. Being a five-star recruit coming out of high school does not matter in the NFL. I think it might be blinding Meyer to better talent.

This is a fair concern and it's the counterargument in the discussion of selecting players with whom Meyer and the Jaguars' staff/decision-makers are familiar. The job of General Manager Trent Baalke and other Jaguars' personnel people in that equation is to make sure the players are NFL-worthy players who make sense at the spot at which they were selected. But I don't think this is realistically too much of a concern. The two players who most obviously fit this discussion are Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell and Southern California defensive tackle Jay Tufele, selected first in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. Meyer recruited both players, but they both appear to be good fits and there was nothing wrong with taking either player where selected. Still, this will be worth watching. If few of these players contribute, the Jaguars undoubtedly will be criticized for the approach. If the players develop, Meyer's knowledge of the players will be viewed as having been a terrific advantage. To the victor go those types of spoils. And praise.

Baddock from Actionville

I know it's easy for these naysayers considering our history, but we've had an excellent draft. I see at least three future Pro Bowlers and safety Andre Cisco is one of them. I see him as a guy that is a true center fielding safety in the mold of Reggie Nelson at Florida and Cincy, not the guy we misused here. I tweeted Urbs at 7:44 p.m. about him but am sure it had nothing to do with the selection. Not sure about the tight end in Round 5, but until these guys prove otherwise wouldn't it be a lot smarter to trust them? I'm stoked on the draft. We got a lot better.

Hey, one fer Meyer! And another fer Baalke!

Ray from Vernon

Zoneman, I just knew our Jags were about to get the tight TE from Miami, who ranked higher just a smidgen over the tight end from Ohio State … well, according to some. Do you see the OSU prospect having a better chance?

I was surprised the Jaguars selected Ohio State tight end Luke Farrell over Miami tight end Brevin Jordan. I was surprised at this because my knowledge of later-round selections is essentially the same as that of most fans and observers – i.e., what I glean from reading scouting reports and analysts' opinions. I also have the opportunity many fans don't to speak with football people with more in-depth knowledge, but I confess to not having such in-depth conversations about fifth-round tight ends. When discussing Farrell after the draft, Meyer said he will provide immediate depth. He also said the team still needs to address receiving tight end. That tells you there was something about Jordan they didn't like nearly as much as they liked Farrell. A lot of fans didn't like it. We'll see how it plays out.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Do you think the league will do anything special with the Jags at Jets game pitting the No. 1 pick in the draft (Lawrence) versus the No. 2 (Zach Wilson) like a Monday or Sunday night game or the Jets home opener?

I would be surprised if such a matchup is on Sunday Night Football next season because that's the league's premier game each week. I wouldn't be surprised if it's a Monday or Thursday matchup.

Jared from O-Town

Hey, John-O. They must have really liked Jordan Smith, because that was a pricey move to get him. Do you think we overpaid for a fourth-round player? With the state of the bottom of the Jags' roster, do you feel they would have benefited more from those lost picks?

The Jaguars indeed paid some capital to trade up from No. 130 to No. 121 to select edge rusher Jordan Smith from Alabama-Birmingham. They sent the No. 130, No. 170 and No. 249 selections to the Rams and obtained the No. 209 and the No. 121 selection, but I do not think they paid too much. Nor do I think they would have benefitted more from the later selections. Here's why: This draft was considered relatively thin because so many collegiate players opted to return to college after COVID-19 disrupted seasons in 2020. The feeling among NFL analysts is that the 2022 draft will be far deeper in the later rounds than was the case this year. The Jaguars traded out of the seventh round to move up nine spots in Round 4. Considering what likely would have been available in Round 7 … no, it's hard to say the Jaguars would have benefitted from more selections there.

Andrew from Halifax

I feel like I remember Myles Jack falling in the draft due to injury concerns. I'll take a player of his caliber any day so am not so concerned about our latest picks. Do the injuries frighten you?

Players with previous injuries give me no more pause than players without them. I say this based on the assumption that team physicians have researched the medical issues and determined the player is OK. As you note, Jack slipped in the draft because of a knee issue, and he has been one of the better selections in recent Jaguars draft history. If the player checks out medically, keep him on your board. If not, don't. It's really that simple.

_Daniel from Jersey City, NJ          _

O-man, no matter who we selected after Trevor, this was an A+ draft. We've finally got our quarterback. If our other picks "hit," it's going to be more fun that it has been that the last 25 years.

Pretty much, yes.

Sean from Jacksonville

But, but why did they get this guy when this guy was available? Who is that guy? Never heard of him. (Does this sound familiar year after year?)

After year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year.

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