JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it...
Jimmy from England:
Surely, the first round should be about instant starters/can't-miss players. Take Alabama guard Chance Warmack. If he is considered to be a can’t-miss guard I would still take him at any spot Nos. 1-32. I like Ziggy Ansah, too, but all I hear is “raw with a high upside.” Are there any franchises that use a risk-management draft system or is drafting for need and BAP the genuine consensus throughout the NFL?
John: I’m not sure quite what you mean by “risk-management system.” General managers and teams spend a lot of money scouting and investigating the backgrounds of prospects, and the best risk management is picking good players who will be on the field. The draft in itself is a risk because you’re projecting development from young people and trying to determine how they will perform in a physical, high-risk, and high-profile situation. My general thought on the draft is you must, must, must hit in the first round – say, 90 percent of the time – to have a playoff roster. By “hit,” I mean have a guy that is a productive starter that you feel good about. About half that time, you probably want to be re-signing your first-round guys as core players. Also, you have to put priorities on positions, meaning you better have front-line talent at key positions such as defensive tackle, defensive end, left tackle, quarterback, cornerback and wide receiver. That’s what makes a guard in the Top 10 a tough sell. You only get so many chances as a general manager at a Top 10, elite-level pick. You need to get it right, and you’d sure like it to be at a position that impacts the game significantly.
Rebecca from Jacksonville:
In your opinion, do the Jags take a look at JaMarcus Russell? Could he be someone they bring in for the camp coming up?
John: Few things surprise me in the NFL anymore. That would be an exception.
Mark from Jacksonville:
How come there is no mention of Andre Branch
, second-round, 38th pick last year, in the defensive plans? I hear a lot of defensive end plans in the draft.
John: The Jaguars’ new decision-makers like Branch’s potential a lot and hope he can be a key part of the defense moving forward. They’ve been pretty up front about this and think he can develop at some point into the Leo role. They may still draft a pass rusher. It’s not against the rules to have more than one.
Patrick from St. Augustine, FL:
Is it just me or has the television coverage of the draft ruined the suspense by showing the player about to be drafted on the phone with the team and hugging Grandma, etc., before the Commissioner reads the pick? I like the suspense and hearing Goodell read the picks. I distinctly remember this in the more recent drafts (Gabbert, Blackmon). What do you think?
John: Patrick, I think this: I’m 46 and I pick my things to feel passionately about. I don’t think this is one of those things.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
What kind of coffee do you get at the stadium? Where I work we get Starbucks, and so far, it is the best coffee I have ever tasted.
John: The coffee at the stadium is not the best I have ever tasted.
Josh from Jacksonville:
Why draft Geno with the second pick when it is possible he might be there at 33?
John: If you don’t absolutely love him – meaning, you’ll be devastated, disappointed and disconsolate if he’s not waiting for you at the beginning of Round 2 – then you don’t take him at No. 2. You don’t take any player that high if you don’t want him that much. If you love Smith, then take him. Chances are he won’t be there at No. 33.
Andy from St. Augustine, FL:
Betty or Veronica?
Jonny from Jacksonville:
R U SERIOUS?! Your son likes Bieber? LOL.
John: Uhhh, no. Junior O-Zone is currently going through a disturbing mainstream country music phase, but he’s not a Belieber. Now, as for his dad...
Sandro from El Paso, TX:
The vibe among fans is the team is in a rebuilding phase. I can see why because it seems the Jaguars are slowly plugging in spots here and there but not really beefing up an advantage area. Of course, we want to win now! I believe we have a great running back and very good set of wide receivers. The only thing to get this offense going is to make the offensive line elite. My question to you is what position would help us the most in the draft right now?
John: Elite pass rusher.
Matt from Jacksonville:
Three things: I know running backs are a dime a dozen but I haven't heard much about us drafting a running back in the later rounds to groom behind and eventually take over for Maurice Jones-Drew
in 2014. Mojo will either get hurt or have a good season in his contract year and go elsewhere, as I'm sure he won’t want to return here and the feeling will be mutual in the front office. Also, lots of people talk about that 33rd pick being so valuable to trade for multiple picks, but what about trading up, say into the 20's if Eddie Lacy's available? Do you think if Manti Te’o is sitting there at 33, we take a shot? I rather us take a defensive player at that spot unless EJ Manuel is there, who we should jump all over.
John: First, let’s not assume yet Jones-Drew won’t want to return, or that the front office won’t want him back. I have sensed no early animosity in that area, and there’s no reason any should exist. It is possible Jones-Drew could leave after this coming season, but it’s just as possible that he and the team could work out a reasonable agreement in which he could stay. The market for a ninth-year running back may not be significantly better or worse somewhere else. That said, I believe the Jaguars will draft a running back in the later rounds regardless of Jones-Drew’s situation. You need depth at that position. As far as trading up for a running back, even Lacy, I don’t see it. It’s not a position for which you want to give up picks. You can let the draft come to you and find quality at that spot.
Wayne from Jacksonville:
The purpose of a man is to...
Mike from St. Mary’s, GA:
I know trading down makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons this year for the Jaguars, but after going through a little mock, and actually putting 'some' effort into it, I realized if I were a general manager, I'd be a little uncomfortable if confronted with a group of players I wasn't expecting to have to choose from. Particularly because the same level of investigation, personal work-outs and interview time may not have been put into the players. For example, the Jaguars had visits from the top projected picks (Geno, Joeckel, Jordan, etc.), but what if they trade outside the top 10?
John: If you’re like me, Mike, you have plenty of things to worry about. Whether or not David Caldwell has researched a potential draft selection outside the Top 10 need not be among them.
James from Starkville, MS:
How did Geno Smith go from being the best quarterback prospect in a down year to the hot name in the Top 10, with nearly everyone sending him to the Jags? Just three months ago, I saw reports that he would be a late-1st-rounder at best. Why is he a better choice now since he last played an actual football snap?
John: Because the draft is a weird, wacky thing, that’s why. There are very few mock drafts sending him to the Jaguars right now. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but “nearly everyone” isn’t accurate.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
Are decisions about this year’s draft selections influenced at all about prospects coming out next year? This question is specifically in regards to the QB position.
John: They are certainly influenced, though the influence is limited. Teams have a very good idea of who will be available in a coming year, and they have an idea about position groups that could be strong. At the same time, players develop as seniors and draft strategies change. Think of it like this: Most football people had a pretty good idea in 2010 and early 2011 that Andrew Luck was going to be an elite prospect and that he would probably be available in the 2012 NFL Draft. Everyone knew about Robert Griffin III, too, but there was far less buzz and consensus about his draft prospects for the following offseason. By the time the 2012 draft came around, they were very, very close. So, while teams are influenced, and while future prospects go into the planning a little, the reality is projections change year to year – just as team needs change, too. That’s just one reason “NFL General Manager” is a difficult job, and one you usually don’t apply for online.