Let's get to it . . .
John from St. Augustine, FL:
How much does signing WR Lee Evans affect the value of Blackmon in the Jags' eyes? Would we just grab them both?
John: One has nothing to do with the other. Signing a veteran such as Evans is a move to upgrade the receivers as a whole, but with a reported one-year deal, it's not necessarily a "core" player acquisition. Drafting a player in the first round of the draft is a core player acquisition.
Joe from Orange Park, FL:
The most realistic best- case scenario in this draft would be if the Jaguars traded back to, say 16, and Fletcher Cox was still available.
John: Yes, but I'm not sure he'll be available in the middle of the first round.
Nick from Atlantic Beach, FL:
You've mentioned quite often that positions like running back and linebacker usually don't warrant a top pick in the draft, where positions like quarterback, tackle, and defensive end are more justifiable. A bit of a tough question, but if you had to rank each position from most important to least important, how would it play out?
John: In terms of the draft, I'd rank them like this if starting a team from scratch: quarterback, left tackle, defensive tackle, defensive end, cornerback, wide receiver, tight end, middle linebacker, right tackle, center, outside linebacker, running back, guard, safety, fullback, kicker, punter. I don't know that there's a huge separation between a lot of the categories, but that's a general list.
Brian from Fleming Island, FL:
Regarding Knighton, it's not that Knighton was out at a bar. I, like you, have closed down many. It is that he was out during the first week of conditioning after coming to camp overweight and out of shape last year. It's a question of his commitment.
John: Every indication is he was in good shape entering conditioning, and I've heard nothing to indicate Knighton was drinking in excess. From everything I've heard Knighton was quite committed entering the off-season. Argue it from any angle you want. He's getting criticized way too harshly for essentially being in the wrong place at the wrong time and making a mistake that resulted in a penalty harsher than it should have.
Jodi from Jacksonville:
Will reporters be allowed on the field with the players this week? Can we expect to hear how things are going with the on the field workouts?
John: Yes. The media will be allowed to attend the workouts.
Stan from Jacksonville:
I just want to say that there is absolutely no way Henne starts over Gabbert, barring injury, even if Gabbert is completely terrible during the preseason. Why would Gene bring in someone to beat out the guy he traded up for? Gabbert is Gene Smith's pink slip or extension. He knows it. Everyone knows it. Except the genius fans who want a QB controversy.
John: I get how you could see it that way, but Smith's pink slip or extension is winning and losing. Certainly it would be easier in theory if winning came with Gabbert at quarterback because when you spend a No. 10 selection on a guy you expect the player to be your franchise quarterback. But if Henne comes in and leads the Jaguars to the playoffs, you don't think Smith would be happy about that? You build your roster using all of the tools for player acquisition at your disposal. You then put the best team you can on the field.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
I firmly believe that the offense could have no off-season again and still be better than they were last year. I'm not saying they would be good, but last year....wow. So I'm happy with the extra two weeks, even if it's just for familiarity purposes.
John: Yes. There is that.
Mark from Jacksonville:
John, thanks for the Janoris Jenkins answer. After reading how the Jags are interviewing the wives of the FAs they hire I couldn't resist the Janoris question. I was stunned to learn about the number of children and that he fired his agent two weeks before the draft. I hate to see talent wasted. Hope the best for him.
John: Let me clarify something if it wasn't clear already. I have nothing against Janoris Jenkins; I have simply been asked a lot of questions about him and I have answered consistently along the lines of him not likely being a target for the Jaguars. He will get an opportunity to play in the NFL, and I, like you, hope the best for him. I'm always for a guy turning things around and taking advantage of his talent.
Mark from Jacksonville:
The Jaguars are building the team correctly. First, control the line of scrimmage by drafting the best offensive and defensive linemen you can afford. Once you control the line of scrimmage everything else is easy. Fans buy tickets because they have pride in their team and their city. People who are fickle buy tickets as a fad or just want to be popular among their peers. If the shine wears off they leave. I have owned tickets since day one, November 1994. Currently I own six tickets in section 223. See you at the game. Thanks John, I love this forum and appreciate the job you do for the fans and the Jaguars. The Jags will prevail.
John: I agree that the team is being built correctly. I also get that it's tough to see that. That's the challenge in building a team the right way. It's not always a popular journey.
Tucker from Jacksonville:
What reason is there for a 5-11 team to trade down, besides Tannehill trade bait? I believe, in any situation, when you're a 5-11 team, a top ten pick is something you can't afford to let go.
John: It all depends on what's there. This is a year when the draft goes very deep, with quality players into the second and third round. If the Jaguars could trade back a few spots, pick up a second-round selection and package picks to move back into the first round, that would be a reason. Another would be to get two second-round selections in a year when the draft provides quality players in the second round.
David from West Lafayette, IN:
I have a hunch. I think the folks who are criticizing Knighton for being in a bar have past issues of their own they can't come to terms with. Probably past bar fights or other felonious affairs. I mean seriously - comparing being in a bar to cheating on your wife? Dude!
John: Yes. Dude.
Brett from Ocoee, FL:
Drowning? Suicide? Beaten down, desperate, and needing hope? Goodness, John! I think some of my fellow Jags fans are depressed. What happened to loving the game? It's football, people! Take it easy, get together with some friends on game-day (preferably 60,000 of them), and enjoy yourselves! I can't wait for next season to start and the record this past season isn't even a factor.
John: We do forget about fun sometimes. I try to emphasize that in the O-Zone, and try to stress that getting worked up about respect and the like just isn't worth it. Understandable, yes, but not worth it.
Bruce from Jacksonville:
Melvin Ingram, outside linebacker, rated 24th in the same draft evaluation that has the Jags taking him at No. 7. It isn't a position of need, it isn't a top ten position for drafting, he isn't listed as a top ten quality athlete [BAP ], please tell me you don't think the Jags are going to take him? Can we really be that obtuse? I don't necessarily want a "splash" but does it have to be another year when everyone goes "What? WHY?" Can you give me one reason we would pick this guy at 7?
John: I've said quite often I'm skeptical that the Jaguars will take him. They play a 4-3 defense and Ingram is believed to be a far superior prospect at 3-4 outside linebacker than at 4-3 end.
Taylor from Baltimore, MD:
I've been watching YouTube tape of Whitney Mercilus and Quinton Coples, and despite the effort claims, to me, Coples looks much better. Mercilus seems to get 'stoned' on a lot of plays, and the high-motor I've been hearing about doesn't look nearly as high as I expected. Have you watched either of them/am I way off base?
John: I've watched a few highlights of each. Coples looks very good when highlighted. I've heard very few scouts say he looks good all of the time or that he plays with expected effort all the time. You can watch as much of Coples as you want, but I don't think you'll be watching him with the Jaguars next season.
Steven from Lakeland, FL:
Would Riley Reiff be an overreach at the #7 spot? Riley could play right tackle and Eben Britton could be moved to guard permanently to hopefully ease the burden on his back. What are your thoughts?
John: Reiff would not be an overreach. I don't know that that's in the Jaguars' plans, or how they view Britton's back long-term, but taking Reiff there wouldn't seem to be a reach.
Al from Section 214:
Am I the only one who realizes that free agency for the coming season isn't over?
John: No. Two other people do, too. There's a guy in Destin, and my neighbor mentioned it this morning.
You and two others
Let's get to it . . .
John from St. Augustine, FL: