Let's get to it . . .
Biff from Jacksonville:
With Michael Floyd's impressive Pro Day there has been talk that the Jaguars selecting him at seven is no longer a reach. Additionally, some are saying that Gene has Floyd and Melvin Ingram as the top two on the draft board. What say you, King John?
John: I say I'd love to know just who saw Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith's draft board and told someone else what it looked like. I just doubt it. Each player makes sense on some level, although I'm on record saying I'm skeptical those players would be ideal selections for the Jaguars at No. 7. As for them being the top two on the draft board, again, I just doubt it. Floyd, I'm just not feeling at No. 7 while Ingram without question is intriguing. He's a talent, but is he a 4-3 talent? The answer could be the key to the Jaguars' selection. While we're on this subject, as of today, I think there's a good chance the draft plays out like this for the Jaguars: a team covets Ryan Tannehill so much that it either trades with a team above the Jaguars or trades with the Jaguars, allowing them to trade down. If the Jaguars can trade down, that's their ideal. If they stay at seven, Tannehill already being selected would allow them to take either Morris Claiborne or Justin Blackmon, providing they slip. That most likely would be Claiborne. I think they'd consider taking Trent Richardson, too, but I don't think he gets past Tampa Bay at No. 5. If there's no trade, I still can't help thinking the Jaguars go for the best pass rusher available, and that still may be Whitney Mercilus of Illinois. I'm also intrigued by offensive tackle Riley Reiff of Iowa. That's the scenario today. Let's see what the next week brings.
Justin from Section 133:
What's your best bench press, O?
John: What's a bench press?
Daniel from Summit, NJ:
I know you've been trying to help put it in perspective on how "Lucky" Luck (sorry couldn't help it) would have to be to live up to the accomplishments of Manning – seeing how a player of his caliber comes along so rarely. Can you put it into a numerical perspective for us? Out of all the quarterbacks ever, how many would you say are at around the same level of his accomplishment that Luck would have to live up to? Do you consider Manning a "once in a lifetime" sort of quarterback?
John: I guess the numbers Luck would have to live up to would be 11 playoff appearances, eight division titles, three trips to the AFC Championship Game, two trips to the Super Bowl, a Super Bowl title and four Most Valuable Player Awards. People like to criticize Manning for what he hasn't accomplished, but I think any quarterback would take that career coming out of college as the No. 1 overall selection. As for how many quarterbacks have reached that level, it's a handful, at best, so once in a lifetime – yeah, I'd say that's fair. As for Luck having to be lucky, I don't think that's the case. I think he'll have to be exceptional and play at a level beyond the expectations even for a No. 1-drafted quarterback, and he'll have to do it for a very long time. It's doable and it could happen, but the odds are certainly against him.
Doug from Bunnell, FL:
O-dude, baseball is back. Here's to holding us over until kickoff weekend. Any predictions for this year's World Series? Thanks for working 7/365. Appreciate you!
John: I predict that there will be a World Series, and I predict, too, that if there is a time during 2012 that I watch a full nine-inning baseball game it will come during that series.
Brian from Santa Rosa Beach, FL:
Are all draft-day trades worked out in the ten-minute span of the team being on the clock, or will teams contact whom they are attempting to trade with a couple picks in advance?
John: Teams will contact teams a few picks in advance, but more than that, teams will talk about scenarios throughout the weeks leading up to the draft. The Jaguars, for example, are very open to trading back out of the No. 7 selection. It's highly doubtful that trade would happen before the draft, but Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith almost certainly will have had conversations with just about every team in the NFL to gauge interest on trading back. That way, when the Jaguars are on the clock at No. 7 there won't be a need to waste time with the introductories. They can get down to immediately figuring out if a trade will work for them or not.
Ron from Asheville, NC:
I am probably in the minority, but I hope the Jags can trade down and pick up a defensive end. I look at the successful teams like the Packers, Giants, Steelers – they get the big men early, and find receivers later on. It seems a lot harder to find a good pass rusher, and when there is an opportunity you gotta take one. Just ask the Giants, and be sure to check out the bling. Would you agree?
John: I don't think you're in the minority at all, and I think there are plenty in the Jaguars' front office who agree with you.
John from Jacksonville:
When reading between the lines on some of the questions posed recently to you about the upcoming draft, am I understanding that people think you have some type of inside scoop on Gene and Company's draft board and what they are planning with the upcoming draft? This is top secret "pentagon" stuff and no outsider, including you, would have any insight on what they plan to do, correct?
John: I wouldn't say I have no insight, although many might disagree. I'd say my insight is what any good reporter's would be – insight gleaned from listening to clues, talking to who I can, looking at draft history and interpreting information. A team's draft board is typically seen by only the team's scouts, and it is well-known that the information on that board is as you say: pentagon stuff. Conversations with people might give me an idea about how the team feels about players, and general philosophies, but as far as getting my eyes on the draft board, no, I'm not among the select few in that inner circle nor should I be.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
What if Kampman comes back stronger than ever?
John: He would be very, very happy.
Charles from Baymeadows and Section 210:
None of us know if the front office intends to try to trade back from the No. 7 spot. However, if it did, how would you rate the difficulty of doing so vs. the advantages of a team trying to come up into our spot now compared to the years past under the old CBA and old way of high rookie salaries for high draft picks.
John: Actually, we pretty much do know if the front office intends to try to trade back. Smith has said as much. Certainly in theory it will be easier to trade back than it was in the past in terms of terms not being concerned about fitting rookie contracts under the cap, but you still have to find teams who want to give up draft selections to move up. Because of the possible interest in Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, trading back certainly is a possibility, though far from a guarantee.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
"... a small, deranged segment of the fan base I love but don't quite understand . . ." - I resemble that remark and appreciate the job you do. The more I contemplate the draft, the more likely I see us trading back if possible. Besides Mercilus, in your opinion, who might the Jaguars be interested in if they trade back?
John: Keith, I'd say you sell yourself short. You define that remark and in a very real sense inspired it. Seriously, I think Mercilus makes a lot of sense if the Jaguars trade down, and depending how far they can trade back, Michael Floyd of Notre Dame and any number of the first-round projected receivers do, too. I haven't yet found pass rushers I like in the mid-to-late first round to put in that category, but then again, I'm not Gene Smith.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
I've heard a lot people asking about why we haven't done more at the wide receiver position. I really think the Jaguars made a couple of moves during last season that COULD pay benefits in signing Taylor Price and Brian Robiskie. We still have Cecil Shorts, and Chastin West played relatively well. Based on what they do in this draft maybe one of those guys can step up and give us a good season to help Blaine with depth. Are all still on the roster and do you hear anything about those guys?
John: That's certainly the hope. There is an assumption among many observers that because of what the Jaguars receivers did last season that no one currently on the roster can make a significant contribution in the NFL. It's easy to see why this is the assumption, but the feeling within the team is that with a new coaching staff, improved play from Blaine Gabbert and an offseason that there may be receivers in the group who can develop. Any of the four you mentioned – Price, Robiskie, Shorts and West – could definitely do so, and that will be a major storyline this off-season. When I asked new wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan about the group a few weeks back he was pointed in saying he didn't have an opinion on any of the receivers, that he was going to wait until he started coaching them. I like that approach, and think observers need to take the same one.
A wait-and-see approach
Let's get to it . . .
Biff from Jacksonville: