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A look at Jags' comp picks

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Gabe from Jacksonville:
Please present your arguments why the NFL won't become baseball if the cap goes away. I know the Tampa Bay Rays got to the World Series last year, but who knows whether they can compete with the Red Sox and Yankees year in and year out.

Vic: Football is the ultimate team sport and the supply of football talent is much greater than the supply of baseball talent. Just look at the turnover in football, as a result of the players' short-lived careers. The colleges turn out a reservoir of ready players every year. Baseball spends years developing players and the vast majority of those players never make it into the majors.

Shaun from Jacksonville:
When considering drafting an offensive lineman, why does it matter if he has never used a three-point stance?

Vic: If you wanna run the ball, you gotta have guys who can put their hand on the ground and come off the ball. A two-point stance is for finesse, passing offenses.

Steve from Sasebo, Japan:
I love your thoughts on the arm-moving-forward rule. We need the game and rules to get more basic. I would love to see possession of the ball in the end zone be the only way to score a touchdown. I hate the continuous replays at the goal line and debate about whether it was a score. Either it was clearly in the end zone in possession of the ball carrier or it was not. The only thing sillier is replay to determine the spot of the ball. Basics!

Vic: I would like a rule that results in a one-game suspension for any player and the coach of a player who loses control of the ball while attempting to reach it across the goal line, resulting in a fumble and a touchback. Just kidding, of course, but players have become terribly careless with the ball in these reach situations. What's wrong with first and goal at the one?

Dave from St. Augustine, FL:
Could you please tell us what you think the team's expectation of James Wyche is?

Vic: That he compete for a roster spot. That's all. No one is penciling in sacks for Wyche. He's being given an opportunity to win a roster spot and if he exercises that opportunity to the best of his ability, he will have made the Jaguars' training camp a better place.

Dennis from Kingsland, GA:
I'm one of those sitting on the fence as to whether or not I'll renew my season tickets. That's not a threat, just a statement. Can you even understand how torn someone like myself feels when it comes to making this decision? I've been a supporter and season ticket holder since day one, but watching a team quit last year was the pits. I've never experienced that before and don't want my entertainment dollar wasted like that again. Sorry, I guess I'm just using your forum to vent.

Vic: I'm not buying the quit thing. I know a lot of people believe that's what it was, but I don't. Yeah, I saw some quit toward the end of the loss in Houston, but they didn't quit against the Colts or in the cold in Chicago or against an extremely physical Baltimore team in the season finale. What I saw was a team that just didn't have the talent we all thought it did. I saw a team that got old.

Bill from Jacksonville:
Does re-signing our own players (Meester, Starks) count against us when determining compensatory picks next year?

Vic: No, re-signing your own players, even after they've become unrestricted free agents, does not count against you in consideration for compensatory draft pick awards.

DaMillion from Compton, CA:
What players have the Jags drafted in the past with compensatory picks?

Vic: DE Chris White was the Jaguars' first-ever compensatory pick, and it wasn't until the seventh round of the 1999 draft. RB Shyrone Stith, LB Danny Clark and OT Mark Baniewicz were seventh-round compensatory picks in 2000. DB James Boyd was a third-round compensatory pick in 2001, as was DB Marlon McCree, WR Richmond Flowers and long-snapper Randy Chevrier in the seventh round that year. DB Steve Smith and K Hayden Epstein were seventh-round comps in 2002, RB LaBrandon Toefield was a fourth-rounder in '03, and DB Chad Nkang and OT Andrew Carnahan were seventh-rounders in 2007.

Jimmy from Vero Beach, FL:
Why hasn't the draft been moved ahead of free agency? Do the owners need more information on the incoming players?

Vic: The draft became a spring event long before unrestricted free agency was born. Prior to the mid-1970's, the draft was conducted in mid-winter. The draft wasn't the media event then that it is now. It's so big now it's unmovable. Free agency pretty much has to start with the first day of the league year, because of contracts expiring and because if you move it back you start to push too many things together.

Rod from Atlanta, GA:
Just wondering if you have any data on how many draft busts New England and Pittsburgh have had in the past 8-10 years. I bet not many. Great scouting and a crystal ball are great things to have.

Vic: The Steelers have had their share of duds. Ricardo Colclough and Alonzo Jackson were second-round busts in consecutive years. What the Steelers haven't had is first-round busts. Their first-round picks since 2000 are Plaxico Burress, Casey Hampton, Kendall Simmons, Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Santonio Holmes, Lawrence Timmons and Rashard Mendenhall. That's a truly impressive first-round performance. When you stir in the Steelers' hits in compensatory picks, such as Hines Ward, Mike Vrabel, Amos Zereoue, Willie Colon and William Gay, the misses are clearly outweighed by the hits. The Patriots haven't had the big hits the Steelers have had, but the Patriots' drafts have produced more depth. One of the reasons, of course, is that the Patriots traditionally go into every draft with a lot of extra picks, and then use those picks to move up or down or to trade for players, such as Randy Moss and Corey Dillon. The Patriots' trade activity is amazing. In 2003, nine of the Patriots' 10 draft picks were acquired as the result of trades. You see the Steelers and Patriots lumped together as examples of how to do it, but their styles couldn't be more different. The Steelers are very conservative; the Patriots are very aggressive. The two teams have, however, one thing in common: a firm commitment to the draft.

Cory from Madison, WI:
People need to shut up and stop making excuses for not selling out the stadium. Do you think the Packers had trouble selling out Lambeau during that long stretch of mediocrity? Packer fans still showed up because the wanted to watch their team play. True fans don't make excuses. These people making these excuses have to ask themselves if they are true fans or just fair-weather fans.

Vic: The Packers have tradition. The Jaguars are in the process of building one.

Pat from Point Edward, Ontario:
Has a team purposely let the clock wind down and miss their pick so they didn't have to pay their draft choice as much money?

Vic: That's what the Vikings did in 2003, when they allowed the clock to expire twice and Jacksonville to then select Byron Leftwich and Carolina to pick Jordan Gross, effectively moving the Vikings down from number seven to number nine, where they selected Kevin Williams, who they had targeted and knew they could get a few picks lower. It was a shrewd move that saved them money.

Chris from Arroyo Grande, CA:
Do you think college coaches would lie about a player's bad character to get him drafted higher?

Vic: Most of them would not. All coaches are members of the coaching fraternity. Intentionally deceiving a team about a player isn't going to help a coach's career. A player's college position coach is still the best place to go to get information on that player.

Eric from Jacksonville:
You said the Patriots like to trade their players for picks. They traded for Wes Welker and Randy Moss. Are they due for a downfall because they deviated from their plan?

Vic: As I said, the Patriots do a lot of maneuvering. They are fantastic personnel managers. The reason they were able to trade for players such as Welker and Moss is because they've acquired so many extra picks by trading players for those extra picks. I'm talking about trades such as the one that produced a first-round pick for Deion Branch, a sixth-rounder for Brandon Gorin, a seventh-rounder for Tebucky Jones, a fourth-rounder for Terry Glenn, a first-rounder for Drew Bledsoe, etc. Extra picks have allowed them to trade for players and still have a full draft class.

M. Paulette from Jacksonville:
Does this mean Reggie Williams could be back? I like the guy. He plays with heart and he's got a killer smile, too.

Vic: Back to the therapist.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
Do you think Jordan Black could be a possible starter at left tackle?

Vic: As it stands right now, he'd be the starter at left tackle.

Daniel from Tallahassee, FL:
I must admit that after last year I found myself convinced there wasn't a chance I would renew my season tickets. I live so far away, the team isn't very good and all the trouble I go through to support the team I love just isn't worth it anymore. We are hopeless. Upon reading your article of hope, it reminded me of the very first Jaguars season when there wasn't any hope but I loved our new team and supported them anyway. Thanks for reminding me that I love so many things about attending our games, and reminding me that in spite of our start at the bottom once again, there is hope of a better future and, in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the great memories with my friends and family along the way, no matter what the record.

Vic: I did all that?

Tanner from Springfield, MO:
Dawn of a new day; best article I have ever read of yours. Seriously, it hits the core issues of the team and the fan base better than anything. Thanks, I have hope.

Vic: I do, too. I'm a very patient man, as long as I believe the plan is a good one. In this case, I believe it is.

Darrick from Jacksonville:
With respects to the overflow of football talent in America, do you believe there is an abundance of lower tier, no-name players that are hungrier and, therefore, potentially more valuable than some of the more high-profile players you hear about?

Vic: The player who returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in the Super Bowl was undrafted, and he was just one of five undrafted players who were "starters" (Nate Washington was technically a third wide receiver) for the Super Bowl champions. I can't think of anything that more clearly illustrates my belief that America is loaded with football talent.

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