Let's get to it . . . Mark from Section 119:
While I understand fans' frustration with a 5-11 season, do people realize the Jaguars were very close to being 8-8 if we could have held on versus Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Carolina? Also, people seem to be focused so much on Gabbert possibly being a flop, what about the alternative? What if he makes significant improvement and the defense stays in the Top 10?
John: You have touched on the tantalizing truth of the NFL. Many games are decided by seven points or less and that means if you pull out your close games you usually have a successful season. The problem is it's difficult to win close games. You need to put together four of five comfortable victories and package that with the clutch plays to win five or six close ones. That usually gets you in the post-season. As for Gabbert, it does seem that few focus on the alternative. If he makes significant improvement and the defense stays in the Top 10, well, then you've got something good, sir. Indeed you do.
Paul from Farnhamville, IA:
Can compensatory picks be traded? That would seem to be unfair to me – giving a team an extra third-round pick they could package to move up in the second.
John: They cannot be traded. That is absolutely why.
Chris from Crestview, FL:
From my vantage-point an elite QB makes all the difference in the world. Colts with Peyton made the playoffs. A near identical team without him did not. Brady blew out his ACL, and the other guy was good, but not playoff good. The Dolphins haven't done much since Marino retired, etc. With all that said I can't imagine why franchises like the Browns are content with a guy like McCoy. Everything I read says like Chad Pennington, he cannot make all the throws. I know hope springs eternal, but can you explain a bit on how these organizations who have great football minds cannot see something, that I believe is very obvious?
John: I know of no team that doesn't want a franchise quarterback. As far as McCoy, sometimes teams see things in a player that no one else sees. I'm with you that I don't quite see McCoy as that guy, but players develop and prove people wrong. It seems the Browns are, for now, hoping that will be the case with McCoy. Sometimes you hope too long or fool yourselves with hope. That is the dilemma for teams with young quarterbacks who haven't yet become elite.
David from Bethlehem, PA:
I'm a student at Lehigh and I'm glad that we were able to pull off one of the biggest upsets ever against your least favorite school. Along with Will Rackley, we must be your favorite school right now.
John: You were that night. I won't deny that.
Todd from Beaufort, SC:
In response to Keith in Jacksonville, if the Jaguars were allowed to play three or four games a year versus a lower division of football (minor league) then you could compare the "winning" programs in the college world to the NFL Jaguars.
John: Yep. It's a different game and a different dynamic. Most people get that.
Jesse from Hilton Head Island, SC:
Do you think the Jaguars will have a chance to trade back and still get Ingram? Ingram and a top five wide receiver with our top two picks would make me happy.
John: You're on the right track. I think the Jaguars have a chance to trade back, but that doesn't necessarily mean getting Ingram. My sense is the Jaguars would like to get a pass rusher and a receiver early, but I don't know that getting an elite pass rusher means getting Ingram. He seems to be a 3-4 outside linebacker and I wonder about trying to make a player something he's not.
Kyle from Washington, DC:
Andy brought up a good point, you should take a break. I say take a long weekend off starting April 26th. Should be a pretty dead weekend for news.
John: Elvis Costello's playing in town that Friday. I'm tempted.
Michael from New Orleans, LA:
I keep hearing about how this year's draft is weak in our areas of need. What positions are strong in the draft?
John: It's considered exceptionally strong at the defensive tackle position and not so strong at pass-rushing defensive end. It's deep at wide receiver, though – as usual – it appears to be difficult to find the absolute, make-a-difference-as-a-rookie player at the spot. It also seems to be good at offensive tackle and horrible at safety.
Brandon from Pensacola, FL:
Now that Tannehill's Pro Day went very well, is there a much higher probability we can trade down? If not and we draft Coples, do we keep Kampman in the hopes that he can help Coples learn what effort is?
John: Yes, the better Tannehill's Pro Day the better chance the Jaguars can trade down, with the caveat being if the interest gets too high he could be gone before the Jaguars get a chance to get involved in a trade with a team coveting him. As for Coples, I never say never, but I'm not investing a great deal of emotional energy in that area.
Sean from Arlington, FL:
With our dismal passing offense last year, I understand the obsession with wide receivers. But what about this? Draft an elite tight end like Coby Fleener or Orson Charles, pair him with Lewis as New England did with Gronkowski and Hernandez, and suddenly we've got some real mismatches for Blaine to exploit.
John: It's not a bad idea, particularly considering one of Gabbert's strengths is making the throw that can drop over the linebacker down the middle of the field. I would be surprised if a focus isn't on making the tight end position more productive in the passing offense. The Falcons certainly utilized the tight end under Mularkey and Bratkowski. Whether that means getting Lewis and Miller more involved or drafting only time will tell.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
How unlikely would it be for the Jags to draft Ryan Tannehill at No. 7 if he's available and the Jags couldn't find a trading partner for the pick? The purpose of drafting him wouldn't be to challenge Gabbert, but to trade him, like the Chargers did with Eli. I would imagine that scenario rarely happens. What happens if Tannehill is the BAP?
John: It obviously depends on how the Jaguars feel about Tannehill – i.e., if they truly believe he's the best available player. One thing to remember about the best-available-player concept is that the perception of who is best available doesn't always match up with a team's draft board. Because so many mock drafts and value boards are based on other available-to-the-public draft boards, many tend to look very much alike. Sometimes, they're accurate and sometimes they're not. Just because the commonly held perception is that the Top 10 shakes out a certain way doesn't mean that the teams view it that way. The difference between the public's view and the view within the team often is what leads to Draft Day anger because fans spend weeks reading opinions and reinforcing beliefs that may or may not be believed by the people studying film and having access to all information about a player. Anyway, I digress. Getting off my admittedly high horse, it would be unlikely the scenario you mention occurs because if the Jaguars would be drafting Tannehill to trade him they likely would have explored that option well in advance and had something in place to happen when they were on the clock.
John from Section 204:
As a lifelong-dyed-in-the-Blue Kentucky fan who also admires and respects your work, I wish you were more like your mother. However, because I am one of your biggest fans and supporters, I will not allow this one flaw to interfere with my high esteem of you - much. Go Big Blue!
John: My mother wishes I was, too. My wife, of course, is ecstatic I'm not. As for Kentucky, I know many Wildcats fans I respect a great deal. As for their allegiances, those I can't quite grasp.
Mike from Brunswick, GA:
'Well, it's this person's job to study football, which means they know more than me about this so he must be right.' I found that comment interesting. What they should be thinking is it's that guy's job to get people to read his stuff and create discussion/debate/controversy. But what struck me about that comment, is why do people not look at Gene Smith or "real" football people who are really paid to know football and think 'they know more than me about this so he must be right.'
John: I honestly have no idea.
John from Jacksonville:
Do you think Blaine will play at a first-round level this season? If not, do you think it is reasonable to select someone at 10 if they are not expected to play at that level their first two years?
John: I think Gabbert will play closer to that level than he did as a rookie, and I think he has the chance to get to a Pro Bowl level in a few years. It's fine to draft a 21-year-old quarterback at 10 if he eventually develops into that level of player.
A different dynamic
Let's get to it . . . Mark from Section 119: