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View from the O-Zone: Little revealed … again


JACKSONVILLE – Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell spoke publicly for the first time in a while on Friday, and when he did he said …

Really, that's about it. While it would be awesome to follow those ellipses with insightful, internet-shaking Caldwell quotes from the Jaguars' 2016 pre-draft media luncheon Friday …

Yeah, that pretty much didn't happen.

That's by design. That's to be expected. And that's OK.

No, what Caldwell did in his fourth pre-draft luncheon at EverBank Field Friday was answer questions alongside Head Coach Gus Bradley. He provided some quotes, and answered questions as honestly, candidly, transparently as might be expected.

The biggest takeaways from the luncheon?

That Caldwell indeed loves enough players at the top of Thursday's first round of the 2016 NFL Draft that he won't feel the need to trade up from No. 5 overall. And with the Rams and the Eagles expected to go quarterback at Nos. 1 and 2, the Jaguars' decision – who to take, and indeed whether to stay at No. 5 – will depend on what happens with San Diego at No. 3 and Dallas at No. 4.

Another thing?

Caldwell likes more in this draft than Ohio State edge player Joey Bosa, UCLA linebacker Myles Jack and Florida State safety/cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Those three players have emerged as the Chosen Trio for Jaguars draft followers, but Caldwell was asked if those were the only three he loved enough take at No. 5.

"No," was his reply.

But while Bradley and Caldwell didn't say all that much Friday, Caldwell did address several hot-button pre-draft issues.

Topic 1: Josh Norman.

Yes, the Jaguars have had discussions with people representing the Carolina cornerback since the Panthers rescinded the franchise tag and made Norman a free agent this week. No, there has been no offer. No, Caldwell doesn't expect one Friday – or at all.

Yes, the difference in what Norman wants and what the Jaguars perceive as his value is that much different. And yes, that's why Norman's not coming to Jacksonville.

Topic 2: A potential draft-day trade.

Caldwell as he has done the last three years said he would be open to trading back. He actually sounded very open to this. A trade up? Not so much.

Topic No. 3: Myles Jack.

The UCLA linebacker, long projected by analysts as a likely Jaguars selection at No. 5, has been the center of many stories in recent days because of a torn meniscus in his knee that some analysts believe could drop him in the draft. Caldwell and Bradley worked Jack out in California last weekend – "linebacker drills, change of direction, drops … -- Caldwell said – but said the visit was because the Jaguars hadn't seen Jack work out and not because of the knee.

Caldwell also declined to address whether the knee was an issue for the Jaguars, though he said the team's medical staff has examined Jack.

The question, then: "What do we know about the Jaguars' draft plans now that we didn't know before the pre-draft luncheon?" The answer: not a whole lot.

The guess here is Caldwell indeed will stay put, and if forced to read the tea leaves and make a prediction, the guess after the pre-draft luncheon is the indeed will draft Jack. The fit, the talent, the potential …

All are there if the Jaguars aren't worried about the knee long-term.

The guess here is there also could be a surprise. While the fan/media/senior writer assumption long has made it feel as if Jack, Bosa and Ramsey were far and away the team's targets, Caldwell clearly indicated that he likes more than those players at No. 5 – enough to select someone outside the Chosen Three and enough to trade back. Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil and Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner continue to feel like possibility and both have been mentioned a lot lately.

Caldwell also made it clear that predicting No. 5 based on immediate fit might not work, either. Do the Jaguars need Buckner or Bosa considering neither is a true "Leo Speed Edge Rusher?"

Do they need Tunsil considering the presence of Luke Joeckel and Kelvin Beachum?

Perhaps not, but you don't draft in the Top 5 based on the ensuing season nearly as much as you do the long-term.

"This is a ten-year decision for us – not just 2016," he said.

So what do we know now that we didn't Thursday? That down is more likely than up, and the Chosen Three may actually be the Fab Five, Significant Six or even the Nifty Nine.

Mostly, we know what we usually know about Caldwell's thoughts around this time of year, which to say we just don't know a whole lot.

And that's by design. And that's OK.

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