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A value board isn't a mock draft

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

Cade from Orlando, FL:
Everybody has been saying things about Beanie Wells. You said you were leaning towards the Jaguars picking him at number eight. Well, Vic, what about Knowshon Moreno at number eight? Personally I think he is a better all-around back than Wells.

Vic: Oh, OK, I'll change. I'm leaning toward Moreno now. I really didn't mean that when I said I was leaning toward the Jags pickin' Wells. I just say things I don't mean a lot.

Scott from Tampa, FL:
According to the NFL draft points system, the number eight pick is valued at 1,400 points. Do you believe this is a carrot or tease big enough to lure Philadelphia into trading their 21st (800) and 28th (680) picks to the Jaguars for the higher but less valued (by 80 points) eighth pick in the draft?

Vic: I never really believed in the points concept and now, after the Joe Flacco trade of last year, I'm absolutely sure I don't believe in it and I have a feeling most of the league doesn't believe in it firmly, either. Hey, you don't trade for points, you trade for players. When you're trying to trade up, you're doing so for a player you've targeted. He's a guy you want because you think he'll be a difference-maker. Flacco sure was for Baltimore last year and whatever the Ravens realized in points lost in making the trade is laughable now when you consider the Ravens acquired a franchise quarterback. If the Eagles see a player they can acquire at pick eight they believe can put their team over the top, then making that trade is a no-brainer. I don't see, however, that player for them being there at eight. In fact, I think whatever player they need they can probably acquire at 21 or 28 just as readily as they could at eight.

Adrian from Reading, UK:
Aren't people really excited by conditioning because the Jaguars have had a run of being seriously injured at single positions, which has had a real impact on results?

Vic: All teams experience injuries. Look at the Steelers. They lost their two best offensive linemen, Kendall Simmons and Marvel Smith, early in the season, and the offensive line was the place where the Steelers could least afford to lose players. They lost their first-round pick, Rashard Mendenhall, for the season and the team's starting running back, Willie Parker, was sidelined most of the season with a knee injury. With all due respect to the importance of offseason conditioning programs, I just don't think it's logical to expect an offseason conditioning program to keep players from getting hurt. Wanna reduce injuries? I'll tell you how to do it: Make your roster younger. That's what the Jaguars are doing and I have no doubt this team will have fewer injuries next season because of it.

Mike from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia:
I've been a fan of your column for several years, despite no special interest in the Jags (Pats fan). Do you get many questions from fans of teams outside Jacksonville? With "Z" out of commission, there's a shortage of grumpy, old hype haters with decades of knowledge.

Vic: I would be honored to be Paul's temporary grumpy-old-man replacement. He's been the king of my industry for all the years I've been in it.

Sharon from Port Charlotte, FL:
When drafting the best available player, what are you looking at in terms of best? Is this player better at his position than the others are at theirs or is it pure talent and athleticism?

Vic: It's like pornography; you'll know best when you see it. I will say, however, that I think I would do my board a little differently if, of course, I was a personnel director. Instead of one value board, I think I would have separate position value boards, such as one for offensive linemen, one for defensive linemen, linebackers, defensive backs, etc. I think we've reached a point that the philosophy of drafting the best available player has to make allowance for the overweighting and overdrafting of premium positions. Never before have the quarterback position and the three positions – left tackle, right defensive end and left cornerback – that pertain directly to the quarterback been more important, and I think the importance of those four positions is only going to increase. I think it's very difficult to assemble a 1-250 value board and weight those positions so their respective values are accurately reflected in a player's score. I think it would be more logical to rate players according to position without weighting those positions, and then considering the premium nature of those positions at decision time. It's my opinion that the premium-position players have to stand alone. They must receive priority treatment.

Amata from Majuro, MH:
Hey, Vic, can you make up your mind? Last few weeks you had Moreno over Wells, now you're considering Wells over Moreno. You're starting to sound like a PR man for the Jaguars. So who is higher on your board as of today, Wells or Moreno?

Vic: I haven't changed anything. My board remains the same. I have Knowshon Moreno higher than Beanie Wells. The problem is you don't know the difference between a value board and a mock draft. I wasn't asked who I thought was better, I was asked who I thought the Jaguars would pick. I said I was leaning toward the opinion the Jaguars would pick Wells. Every year we go through this. When will people understand the difference between what someone thinks should happen and what that person thinks will happen?

Andrew from Bellingham, WA:
What would you think of playing more preseason games on the road, at cities without pro football teams?

Vic: What would that accomplish? I've covered preseason games from Barcelona to Knoxville, Tenn., and the venue couldn't disguise the fact that they were preseason games. Football just doesn't lend itself to a preseason attitude. It's a game that must be played with high intensity and a degree of desperation. You can play preseason games on the moon and they're still preseason games.

Mario from Jacksonville:
Why don't the Jaguars sign Torry Holt or Plaxico Burress?

Vic: Probably for the same reasons nobody else has signed them, yet.

John from Jacksonville:
I'm a little disappointed that the release of Wrighster only got three sentences. I believe players should be honored with their contribution to the team for the fans that follow them with a nicer farewell.

Vic: It's George's fault. He didn't bring me his yearbook to sign.

Brandon from Starkville, MS:
I'm beginning to feel like we're cheating with these great workouts. Are we really at that much of an innovative advantage?

Vic: It's all about balls, Brandon. I asked Luke Richesson if he had enough balls and he told me he had 90 balls. I've done some research and I've found that some teams have more balls, and some teams, believe it or not, have no balls.

Alex from Jacksonville:
Should I be bothered by the fact that it now looks like David Garrard got his contract and got fat and happy? Now it looks like he's dedicated after a down year and the possible threat of a quarterback in the first round.

Vic: You've created a beautiful storyline of convoluted facts. Have you ever considered a career as a sportswriter? I'm embarrassed. I should've thought of all that myself.

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