My goodness. May already.
Let's get to it . . .
Kelton from Boise, ID:
Can you give us some names from the rookie free agents to watch that might have a real shot at making the team?
John: I hear good things about defensive end Kendrick Adams from LSU and center Mike Brewster from Ohio State was a player many analysts thought would get drafted. I know the Jaguars liked Antonio Dennard, a cornerback from Langston, very much. Tight end Matt Veldman, defensive end Ryan Davis and guard D.J. Hall are also guys I'll be keeping a close eye on. Remember, there's not a significant difference between these guys and sixth- and seventh-round selections.
J-School Corby from Frederick, CO:
John Estes vs. Mike Brewster: most compelling offseason battle that we'll hear virtually nothing about?
John: There's a good chance that's true. The Jaguars like Estes very much, but Brewster was in the Senior Bowl and was an All-America selection as a junior. He does look like a guy who could push to make the roster.
Frank from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Let's be real. This draft class comes down solely to the production of Blackmon and Branch. If Blackmon becomes a good-to-great No. 1 wide receiver for Blaine to grow with and Branch becomes a 8-to-10-sack-a-year presence then folks will forget about Anger in a year or two because more wins will come. People just love to complain.
John: I don't know that they'll forget about Anger, because there seems a pretty good chance he's going to be a very good punter for a long time. As far as how we'll remember the draft, you're right in the sense that it will be judged on a select number of players. In the short term, the draft is one of the most overanalyzed and incorrectly analyzed aspects of the NFL. Each year, analysts pick apart each selection of the draft, and grade it as such. That's fine. People read it. Yet, if you go through a team's media guide four or five years later and find one big-time player, one four or five-year starter and one contributor out of a draft, that's seen as a pretty good effort. Look at the Jaguars' 1998 draft, for example. You had Fred Taylor, Donovin Darius and nine players largely forgotten except by hard-core fans. You'd probably still call that a pretty good draft.
Ronne from Jacksonville and Section 148:
Have I missed an explanation for what we gained by moving back in the seventh round? I like the pick, just wondering what Indy gave up to move forward...
John: The Jaguars didn't move back in the round. They traded their seventh round selection for Dwight Lowery. That's the selection eventually used by Indianapolis. The selection the Jaguars used to select Jeris Pendleton was actually one received as a result of the trade for Reggie Nelson.
Stu from Jacksonville:
Surprised with the Deji move. I felt the guy could play and did play really well for us at times. It almost seemed at times he was more elusive than Rashad and certainly better than the others. Any insight?
John: The Jaguars were high on Karim following a very good rookie season, and liked him enough to go with him as the backup running back last season after an injury to Rashad Jennings. His second season wasn't nearly as good as his first, and he was ineffective as a running back and as a returner. DuJuan Harris emerged at the end of last season playing the same role, and that made Karim expendable.
Drew from Jacksonville:
If you draft someone as a Top 10 pick, you should expect they would be in the discussion for All-Pro consideration. We have had a Top 10 pick the last five years. We can't judge Blackmon and it's probably a little early for Gabbert but why should we trust Gene's drafting skills when he keeps swinging and missing?
John: Have we really not covered this? Despite the complaints of fans to the contrary, Monroe is viewed as an ascending player and he had his best season last season, when some around the league believe he was one of the better left tackles in the AFC. Alualu has played with a knee injury his first two seasons, and despite that has played at a high level. I'm sure I'll be answering this again next week, but for today, there's the answer again.
Scott from Jacksonville:
"The whining will stop when the winning begins." Who are you trying to fool? There is an endless supply of whining regardless of how the team is doing.
John: You know what? I really can't argue with that.
Judson from Hilliard, FL:
I can't believe people give merit to these draft grades. Imagine your college professor graded you based on how your work was in high school. It's ridiculous, and I don't get how anybody couldn't understand that. I guess Kiper, McShay, etc. will say just about anything for a paycheck.
John: Don't blame Kiper and McShay. They work hard and do a good job. If respect their knowledge. It's just you can't know how the future will play out and you can't really know what teams were seeing and that's why the grades are impossible. Editors love draft grades because fans love draft grades. That's why writers write draft grades. There's nothing evil about draft grades and people who give draft grades aren't bad people. Fans just need to remember that they're entertainment and not necessarily an indicator of how those players will play.
Brendon from Austin, TX:
Anger pick must be a difference maker, a Shane Lechler field-tilting type player, to not be a failed selection. If he is that type of player, he will be more impactful than most players selected in Round 3. There's very little wiggle room between those two outcomes.
Alex from Austin, TX:
I don't know if Jerry Sullivan or Mike Mularkey have had enough time to do any evaluations, but Smith only drafted one WR. Does this show what the coaches think about who they already have on board?
Andy from St. Johns:
Do you realize, no matter what, for the rest of your professional career with the Jaguars, you are going to receive Tebow and punter questions every day? (Maybe you should ask for a raise).
John: Yes. (Yes).
Garrett from Drewvval:
Are you tired of all of the armchair GMs?
John: Honestly, no. Without them, this job would be pretty boring.
Ron from Orlando, FL:
Well, if Gene Smith really does follow a BAP philosophy, maybe his issue comes in where he grades players. Grading ANY punter 70 overall shows an absolute lack of ability to categorize the quality of an athlete and combine that with the value of each position. Oh, and read Peter King's MMQB and his comment about the punter.
John: The comment where King said a special teams coach told him Anger is one of the best directional punters he's ever seen? The comment where he said Anger could mean four first downs per game? The comment where King said Anger could be the difference in a game or two? Those comments?
Clay from Section 214:
I've stayed away from Bryan Anger questions for a while, but now that some time has passed, let's reiterate the bottom line here. Anger was available for ALL NFL teams. Not just the Jaguars. NO other team offered a first through third round selection. NO team. It's discussed in some circles that the Jaguars made a franchise-defining mistake by drafting Anger, since he received only moderate interest from a league in which everyone running teams is paid very well to give their teams the best chance to win. Sometimes "the crowd" is smart, and sometimes it's dumb; which one is it, John?
John: Clever, and well-played. And I do get your point. For those of you who missed Monday's column – and how dare you – Clay inserted "Bryan Anger" where I wrote Tim Tebow in an answer. Here's the difference. NFL teams have seen Tim Tebow play in the NFL and they still stayed away in droves. Also, what people conveniently forget is when the Jaguars were pursuing Tebow, they were not pursing him as a quarterback or an every-down player. They were pursuing him as a situational player who may have played a few downs a game. That's what Anger will do. Also, even if Anger doesn't turn out to be a Pro Bowl selection, I'm not sure it's a franchise-defining mistake. I won't argue that the Anger move was unconventional. I would argue that it's being blown up far greater than it should be, and I certainly don't believe it's on which the franchise's future will rise or fall. I don't think the future would have depended on Tebow had he been here, either, because I doubt he would have played a big enough role for that to be the case.
Gabe from Section 124:
Over the weekend, I noticed shots of war rooms, including our own. Some rooms had lists down the wall. Our room, as well as others, seemed to have large groupings of players. I believe that the Jags rank players, put them in groups, and when it's time to draft, they select any player from the highest grouping. Do you have any insight to confirm this theory?
John: Only that Gene Smith has said far more than once that that's exactly how it works.
Joe from Fleming Island and Section 115:
I'd like to provide a bit of friendly advice to Bruce from St. Simons about media "draft grades." Mike Florio, who runs a site often filled with rumor and conjecture, annually offers the best grades on drafts. He gives every NFL team an "incomplete," since no one really knows how successful the NFL's annual crapshoot is going to be for anyone. Bruce should relax and enjoy the coming season.
John: I don't say this often, but I couldn't agree with Florio more.