O-Zone: Year-in, year-out

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Michael from Middleburg, FL

No question; just an observation ... I have been watching parts of the combine and I basically find it useless.

The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine runs through Monday in Indianapolis, and believe me: I get why you consider it useless. There are moments when fans understandably could find a weekend of watching guys run, throw and lift in tight shorts and shorts … dare I say … dull. But, remember: It’s not for you. Or for fans. The combine at its heart is about medical examinations – i.e., getting players in a centralized location so all teams can have their doctors examine players. The rest of it is secondary – and much of it, frankly, is as much for show as for evaluation. As for the event’s usefulness, everything at the combine – the drills, the interviews, testing and even the media access – is a small part of a large puzzle. Not the whole picture.

Derek from Brookings, SD

Hey, Zone: I know there isn't a sure thing as far as the draft goes but Kyler Murray is intriguing. He has pretty much made plays at each level he has been at so far, but there will always be that size question. Even though the typical quarterback is larger, it doesn't always work out (see Byron Leftwich, Blaine Gabbert, Blake Bortles). Could it be time to go against the grain and go a different route that isn't typically the norm?

You’re right that big, prototype quarterbacks don’t always work out. The ones you mentioned represent a tremendous amount of Jaguars draft equity. But the draft is about maximizing your chances for success – and big, strong quarterbacks who win from the pocket give you a higher chance of success than smaller quarterbacks who need to move outside the pocket to be effective – and whose size and style makes them a significant injury risk. If you’re of the latter type – and Murray absolutely is of the latter type – you’re an outlier. Outliers who have succeeded are so few and far between that many worry about going against the grain. I don’t believe at this time the Jaguars will go against the grain, but there’s a lot of time – and a lot to happen – between now and the draft.

Keith from Palatka, FL

Why haven't people been more interested in the Jaguars drafting Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf? If the Jaguars had Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles and drafted Metcalf, teams could no longer put eight defenders in the box to stop running back Leonard Fournette. If teams were that stupid to have a single-high safety with Metcalf it would be so much fun to watch.

Metcalf is a rare combination of size and speed, and his impressive day at the combine Saturday likely secured his spot as the first wide receiver selected in the 2019 NFL Draft. I wouldn’t necessarily rule out the Jaguars selecting him. The guess right now is the Jaguars go offensive line or tight end early in the draft, but time will tell.

Tim from Fort Wayne, IN

If Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins comes off the board before the Jags pick, what are the odds that Jacksonville drafts the best available lineman (defensive or offensive) at No. 7 then trades back up into the bottom of the first round for the second-tier quarterback like Will Grier, Daniel Jones or Ryan Finley that they like best?

I would put those odds low. If the Jaguars are looking for a quarterback in the draft, I expect they would pursue one in the first round.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Foles at the right price and Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson at No. 7 is an intriguing scenario considering how effective Foles/Zack Ertz were together. Adds a new dimension to the offense that can only help the other parts and the Jags have needed for years.

Hockenson is intriguing, period. The Jaguars need an impact tight end, and Hockenson appears to be the best in the draft. The good news for the Jaguars on that front: Tight end may be deep enough in this draft to find a good one in the second or third round.

Jason from St. Augustine, FL

Why is Carlos Hyde not in the plans for the Jags?

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Saturday that the Jaguars were interested in trading Hyde and defensive tackle Malik Jackson with the idea that the trades would trigger on the March 13 start of the 2019 NFL League Year. Why would Hyde be a candidate? Because the Jaguars don’t want to pay a veteran backup running back the $4.75 million Hyde will cost in 2019 – and because there is a chance he could have trade value.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, I agree that Murray’s measurables and inexperience are such that he should not be drafted by the Jaguars. Having said that, though, if Murray is available to the Jags and they pass on him, you know the story is already written: Murray will be an MVP candidate by Year 2 and will be playing in multiple Super Bowls by Year 5.

That would be surprising.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

I know you’ve said we should not expect Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell to admit he made a mistake with Bortles, but I’d sure feel more comfortable knowing that he knows a mistake was made and that he has learned from it. I guess as fans we all feel like he owes us an apology and a promise that he won’t do this again. Making the wrong call at quarterback, unnecessarily extending that player when you did not have to, and leaving the team with $16.5 million in dead cap money that should be used on other talent is a heck of a set back for the franchise. When I let people down I usually say I’m sorry and that I will try my best not to do it again. Maybe I’m looking at it the wrong way, but it is weird to just act like nothing was done wrong it’s as if they are pretending it was part of the plan. Or they are too stubborn to admit a mistake was made? “If healthy we would have been good.” OK, well you weren’t, and your missed bet put us in a hole so say sorry, Dave!

“Owes us an apology and a promise he won’t do it again?” Seriously? What’s next? A public hearing? A public flogging where you can pelt him with rocks and garbage? General managers and team executives select players, sign them and make personnel moves based on the situations at the time. If they win, that’s the reward. If they lose, that’s the punishment. The Jaguars will move on from quarterback Blake Bortles and they’ll forge another plan with the resources they have. They’ll put that plan into place, hope it works – and yes, they’ll hope the roster stays healthy enough to give it a chance to work. But there won’t be any apologies, nor should there be. That’s silliness.

George from Roseville, CA

All this talk about only a few teams could be interested in Foles. Who do you think might be a long shot? Any chance we see New England announce a Tom Brady retirement and jump on Foles? (I might have too much time on my hands!)

Talk this week that Foles could have a smaller-than-expected market when he hits free agency is intriguing. On the one hand, it seems the Jaguars could be one of the few teams showing serious interest. On the other hand, it’s hard to believe only one team would be pursuing the best quarterback available. On the third hand … no, I don’t see Brady retiring in the next week – or the Patriots pursuing Foles.

Matt from Jacksonville

The wheels just keep on turning. When Blake Bortles was drafted in 2014, as little as six months before the draft, news was that it was a weak class for quarterbacks. Lo and behold, by the time 2014 draft came around, everybody was raving about the quarterbacks in the draft class which included BB5, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo. So here we are five years later and boy, howdy – the wheels just keep on turning. As late as October of last year, I kept seeing news reports that this year's class is a WEAK quarterback class. Sometime in late November, the news turned and now here we are in Draftmania over quarterbacks yet again. The wheel just keeps turning …

That’s an astute observation. An equally astute observation would be that the 2017 NFL Draft class that included Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes was considered weak in November, as was the 2016 NFL Draft class that included Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Quarterbacks get pushed up draft boards every year because of the need for the position. Some years, the quarterbacks turn out to be good. Some years, they don’t. The wheels just keep on turning.

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