Let's get to it . . . Tim from Newton, PA:
Any indication regarding GM Gene's opinion of Tannehill? Obviously this would be a doomsday scenario, but what if Gene covets Tannehill's potential and he's far and away the top rated prospect on Gene's board at No. 7 with no viable trade partners? Any idea if Gene has a high enough opinion of him to pull the trigger?
John: It's an interesting question. The thought here is that Smith's interest in Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill is primarily as someone who would generate interest in the No. 7 overall selection. When Smith talked a few weeks ago about being open to trading the No. 7 selection, he mentioned league-wide interest in Tannehill as a very good thing for that scenario. That leads me to believe that Tannehill likely won't be far and away the top-rated prospect on the Jaguars' board at No. 7. Quarterbacks often get overvalued because of need at the position and from Smith's perspective, the Jaguars don't have such a need.
John, today's my birthday. Can I have a shout out?
David from Monterrey, Mexico:
A friend of mine just told me, "Yeah, that's what the O-man says now, when next season's over and Gabbert hasn't improved, he'll say that it's because he had a change in coaching so he had to learn a new system." Personally, I hope you can say I told you so but just wondering: what would you say to that?
John: It's hard to say. A lot of that will depend on how Gabbert struggles if he indeed struggles. I'll do what I usually do – talk to people, watch and then try to figure out how to interpret what I'm seeing and hearing. I've said before that I expect to see improvement from Gabbert. Now, to me, that doesn't mean I have to see certain yardage numbers. I want to see Gabbert look like he's more comfortable and that he's making strides. A lot will depend on how people play around him, on how everyone learns the offense, etc. Will it take a while to become comfortable in a new system? Sure, but if we don't see tangible progress and if I'm not hearing that he's getting it, sure, I'll say that's a problem.
Roger from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Matt from Clemson spoke about drafting for the depth at defensive line. It seems that we have the same issues at LB. Yes, we have Posluszny and Smith as the stars at that position, but would it not make sense to add additional depth at that position as well? I am suggesting Kuechly as a possibility for our first pick, because he is supposed to be a tackling machine. Is the knock on him is that we wouldn't have a spot for him to start this year, and our first-rounder needs to be a starter? That flies in the face of the past drafting philosophy.
John: I'd say the biggest knock is position. Linebacker, like running back, is a tough position to take in the Top 15 – and it's really tough to take at No. 7.
Scott from Jacksonville:
As a season-ticket holder and huge fan of Knighton, I believe it is fair to criticize him. The problem is he is out at 1:30 a.m. at a bar. Can you tell me anything good that can happen if you're out at a bar that late?
John: It's not illegal to be in a bar at 1:30 a.m. Ideally, would a team love every player to be home in bed at 9 p.m. every Saturday? Sure. Could Knighton have used better judgment? It would certainly appear so. But should he be criticized for being in a bar at 1:30 a.m.? If you're going to do that, criticize me, too. I've closed down a few, and you know what? I sort of hope I close down a few more.
David from Jacksonville and Section 436:
John, do you find it odd that the Saints upper management and ownership group has done nothing or seems to be doing nothing regarding the "Bounty Scandal?" As an owner, wouldn't you start looking for a new staff if the current staff has given your team this "black eye?" Interesting how everything is discussed as if the coaches are coming back after their suspensions.
John: I find it interesting, certainly, though not odd. Saints Owner Tom Benson from the beginning of this story has been supportive of Head Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis. Say what you will about that, but the Saints' franchise struggled for a long, long time before this current regime and since its arrival the franchise has been one of the NFL's most successful. Clearly, Benson believes in these people and believes their on-field success outweighs the black eye.
Justin from Section 122:
Khan to Smith, "Continue building me a contender."
John: . . . and I'd be shocked if something like that wasn't said.
Tucker from Jacksonville:
Why do some think we'll use our first-round pick to take a DT, like Fletcher Cox, or even a linebacker?! We're stacked at both positions, regardless of the problem with Knighton, so it just wouldn't make any sense to use such an opportunity to just bulk up at either position (especially not DT twice in three years), regardless of BAP, when there are other pressing needs that we need to fill now. What do you say about this?
John: I may be being baited here, but I do sort of wonder why I try.
Jimmy from Vero Beach, FL:
Do you think last year was a learning experience for Cecil Shorts?
John: I do. We're a few days from the Jaguars getting on the field with coaches, so we're a few days from coaches actually being able to get a feel for players and what they need to do. That means we're still in wait-and-see, speculation mode. But regarding Shorts, I believe he has potential and I believe he will improve in his second season. I also believe this is the year you need to see it.
Biff from Jacksonville:
I just don't care anymore. Mock draft after mock draft. Pundit opinions to the gills. Speculation and over analyzing. Let me quote The Talking Heads: "Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was." I wish the draft was moved up, between the end of March Madness and opening day for Baseball.
John: We are at about that time, aren't we? The draft is indeed on the verge of getting talked out. Some see it that way and some still can't get enough. The problem is while you may be tired of the draft, people will eat it up throughout April, and that keeps the NFL on the sporting public's mind. That's what the NFL wants, so I don't see the draft date changing soon.
Evan from Ponte Vedra, FL and Section 139:
If Trent Richardson is the BAP when we draft number 7 and a trade is not likely, would the Jaguars draft him or go for need instead and if we drafted Richardson, would that lead to a disharmonious backfield with MJD?
John: I'm not ruling it out, though I think it's a pretty remote possibility. I'm not a believer that you take a running back in the Top 10, even one as special as Richardson. That has nothing to do with this team's needs. It's just how the NFL is being played right now. The argument for taking him is that he is so dynamic that he gives you a breakaway threat for which teams must game plan, and that's always appealing. If Richardson is on the board at No. 7 and Blackmon and Claiborne aren't . . . well, I don't think the Jaguars take Richardson, but he's good enough there would be a temptation.
Steve from Jacksonville:
If we draft a D-Tackle at 7 I will burn my tickets, slap Tim Tebow, kick my dog, crash my car into the stadium, start rooting for another team and finally cross sides and call for Gene Smith to be fired. Well, at least the last one anyway. Yes I'm a BAP guy but talent is grouped. I find it hard to believe that there isn't similar value at a DE, CB, WR or even RB.
John: If that happens, get me YouTube video of your day. Seriously, I get the angst over possibly drafting a defensive tackle. I do. And as I've said, there's every chance it won't happen. The most important thing to remember here is the thing I'll continue to harp on from now until the draft. You do not want to miss on a Top 10-drafted player in the long-term just because you're excited to have him fill in a spot on the depth chart in May of his rookie year. The Jaguars have been down that road. So have many other teams. What do you want? A receiver who can't play or a defensive tackle who can? I'm not saying the receivers everyone's talking about can't play. I'm just saying it's the front office's job on draft day to make sure you don't have first-round busts that drastically set the franchise back.
Julian from Amelia Island, FL:
What is the word on Dre Kirkpatrick? Would he be too much of a reach at No. 7? After Claiborne goes off the board is he that far behind him in talent-level?
John: The thought in a lot of circles on Kirkpatrick is he is high-risk, boom-or-bust prospect. There also is some thought that Stephon Gilmore is as good a prospect in this draft, so I don't see Kirkpatrick in the Top 10.
Mo from Mountain Top, PA:
Twenty years?? Way to go! Any girl advice for a busy, single med school dork?
John: Study. Graduate. Actually become a doctor, then wear a T-Shirt to bars that says, "I'm a Doctor." You won't be a dork anymore, and if you are, it won't matter.
Study. Graduate. Become a doctor.
Let's get to it . . . Tim from Newton, PA: