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Don't take it so seriously

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

Scot from Jacksonville:
What happened with Tony McDaniel? I thought he was one of our up-and-coming guys.

Vic: He was, but then the up stopped. Get 'em good or get 'em gone.

Mike from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Just wanted to let you know, the Jaguars probably have the best website in the NFL.

Vic: I'm delighted you feel that way and I'll also tell you that I'd like to see the site improve and grow. The design guys did a great job with my value board. I love the bio links and combine pictures.

Doug from Jacksonville:
I have to take a stand. Due to the hot dogs for the fans, which are a disgrace, I am canceling my season tickets. We are spending $7 per dog for a sickly, sad, lukewarm, dried-out, bunned dog while the press basks in the glory of steaming hot, I assume all-beef, franks on a succulent fresh bun. When we get the same dogs the press corps get, I will renew my season tickets.

Vic: We get the same dogs, Doug, and you don't hear me complaining, do you? That's because the media is tough. We do our job, eat the dogs and never complain. Somebody has to eat them, right?

Artis from Alexandria, VA:
Can you give us any information on the pick we received from the Miami Dolphins for McDaniel?

Vic: It appears to be an undisclosed seventh-round draft choice.

Rook from Chicago, IL:
Do you think the reason for getting new uniforms is to symbolize that this is the beginning of a new era for the Jaguars organization and that we are putting the 2008 season behind us, or do you not put any stock into that?

Vic: That's a nice story and I never try to let the facts get in the way of a good story, but I think the Jaguars were headed for this uniform change regardless of the changes in their hierarchy. Long before last season began, I heard rumblings about Wayne Weaver wanting a cleanup and standardization of the uniform design. The concern was that there were too many combinations and that the Jaguars were losing identity. What are their true colors and which is their dominant color? I think the new uniform design is going to define the team's colors and provide distinct home and away combinations.

Michael from Jacksonville:
I love the little insights you give in your columns; the ones that you leave as clues that we are left to piece together. There was, "Let's give it a few days," and then Leftwich gets released. Then you gave us, "There is more to be said on Matt Jones," and then he is shown the door. My favorite was last year when everyone was arguing about whether winning the division would be good enough or would it take a Super Bowl to call it a successful season. You asked us to consider, "What if we aren't as good as we think we are."

Vic: The first two were hints. The last one was just a caution. I never expected last year's team would finish 5-11.

Keith from Woonsocket, RI:
Big fan of your column but very confused by your value board. You have Aaron Curry at number one, which I agree with, but I have a problem with Eric Crabtree ranked 15 and Chris Wells at seven. Crabtree is at least in that seven, eight vicinity, don't you think?

Vic: Apparently I don't.

Mike from Ormond Beach, FL:
Why did the Jaguars not trade Matt Jones?

Vic: There are two ways you can approach this. You can assume the Jaguars attempted to trade Jones and were unsuccessful, or you can believe the Jaguars only wanted to trade Tony McDaniel and didn't really want to get a draft choice for Jones because, well, even though under Gene Smith the Jaguars are committed to building through the draft, they just felt they had enough draft choices and they didn't want to make all those calls and run up the phone bill. Which do you think it is?

Dustin from Jacksonville:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but your value board is only how you rank the players, not how you think the draft will go, correct?

Vic: You're a smart man.

Rod from Orlando, FL:
Can we get a Vic state of the Jaguars wide receiver corps? I am very high on Mike Walker; I am a UCF student. Dennis Northcutt is still a very good receiver. What is to become of Troy Williamson? Which, if any of the receivers in the draft, offer the most upside or what the Jaguars need?

Vic: The wide receiving corps needs help. It desperately needs an infusion of talent. Fortunately, this draft is deep at wide receiver and I fully expect the Jaguars to find in the draft, in undrafted free agency or in both the young, talented receivers they need to fortify their ranks and lay the foundation for development at the position. Acquiring an affordable veteran would also help.

Daniel from Fort Campbell, KY:
This may sound stupid, but I think Chad Henne has more potential than either Stafford or Sanchez. How about trading first-round picks with Miami and acquire Henne? I don't think the Jags can afford an eighth-pick QB to sit on the bench. Your thoughts?

Vic: The Henne ship has sailed. With all of the extra picks the Jaguars had last year, it was the perfect time to draft a quarterback. They missed their chance in a big way. When I look at all the quarterbacks on whom this team has passed for the past several years, I shake my head, and I'm not talkin' only about Ben Roethlisberger and Brady Quinn. First of all, there's no way you're going to convince me those two quarterbacks weren't at the top of the Jaguars' board when it was the Jags' turn to pick and they passed; in Quinn's case twice. It makes me wonder how many other times they passed on a quarterback because they felt what they had was good enough. That position, in my opinion, is too important to treat as cavalierly as the Jaguars have and I don't think they'll do that under Gene Smith. I know Jack Del Rio wanted to address the position with a young guy and he was right on.

Scott from Jacksonville:
Can you give us some insight into how an NFL team's scoring system works to rank draft prospects? I'm not looking for an exact formula, but are points assigned for speed, agility, strength, character, etc.?

Vic: Each team has its own grading system and points are awarded for physical ability and performance, but not for character. Character concerns and medical concerns are separate issues. If a guy's knee shows too much damage and, because of it, the team considers it too much of a risk to pick him, then they might red-dot him, which means they would be unlikely to draft him. If a player offers character concerns the team hasn't been able to satisfy, they might black-dot him.

Terrance from Jacksonville:
Which organization is smarter, the Patriots or the Steelers?

Vic: The Patriots' genius is in their aggressiveness. They trade for players, trade players for draft picks, sign free agents, draft players, sign undrafted players, claim players off waivers, etc. They do it all. They are active and aggressive in their personnel decisions and movements. The Steelers' genius lies in their lack of maneuvering. They haven't done a lot of trading in the draft but when they have traded up, they've hit home runs, as they did when they traded up for Troy Polamalu and Santonio Holmes. They don't sign a lot of expensive free agents, but when they have spent money in free agency, they've usually spent it wisely, as they did on Jeff Hartings and James Farrior. One team is conservative and the other is aggressive, yet, both philosophies have been successful. Who's smarter? I guess the Patriots are smarter because they've won three Super Bowls in this decade; the Steelers have only won two.

Craig from White Springs, FL:
I have read your explanations of BAP. It seems teams should vary from it when it makes sense. Do not vary because you need to fill a position. That is when reaching occurs. Could economics be another reason to vary from BAP?

Vic: Still struggling with BAP, huh? Amazing! OK, one more time: Drafting the best available player is a philosophy. It is not a rule. They don't put you in jail if you stray from your beliefs and there are times when you have to do so. Economics could be a reason. An oversupply of players at the same position could be another reason. It happens and you have to adapt to the circumstances and compromise your beliefs. Hey, that's life. We all have to adapt and adjust. There is no one way. There should be, however, a base philosophy for living and for drafting. If a team sticks to drafting the best available player (or trading down and recouping the value of the pick) and keeping compromises to a minimum, I think they'll be successful. Flexibility, however, will at times be required.

Matthew from Jacksonville:
If a player is under contract and he is traded to another team, does that contract follow him to his new team or is a new contract written?

Vic: The old contract follows him to his new team; often a new contract is negotiated or had already been negotiated as part of the trade agreement.

Brad from Jacksonville:
Could you please list the Jags' biggest needs going forward?

Vic: The two lines are the top priorities. Then comes wide receiver, safety and cornerback, quarterback, running back and linebacker.

Lou from Jacksonville:
Does this board apply just to the Jaguars or to all teams? It makes sense if applied overall, but I disagree with you if it applies to the Jaguars.

Vic: It doesn't apply to any team. It's my opinion of players, not teams. Need, Lou, has nothing to do with a value board. I'll give you a need: I think we need to decrease our intensity for this value board. I think we're taking it and my opinions way too seriously. The only reason I do it is because people beg for it. Then, after I've done it, I get a zillion e-mails telling me what a waste my board is. Hey, I could've told you that before I did it. I'm just giving everybody what they seem to want. I watch a lot of college football, I talk to a lot of scouts and I combine the two to create my all-important (that's sarcasm, by the way) value board. When I drop a guy significantly lower in my rankings than the draftniks have the guy ranked, it's because I'm just trying to let you know I disagree with popular opinion. I did that with Jamarcus Russell a few years ago. Hey, if I had really ranked him where I thought he belonged, I wouldn't even have put him in my top 32, but I wasn't trying to embarrass the guy, I was just trying to let the reader know that I didn't like him. Please, everybody, read the board for the messages in it, but please don't take them too seriously. I'm just trying to provide a little fun for everyone and I've always represented it that way. I don't think I deserve to be mocked and attacked because someone thinks my opinion is off. I promise you, in many cases it is off. I guarantee it is.

Cody from Seattle, WA:
When I compare your board to the one on, I notice a big difference in opinion on guys like Jason Smith and Vontae Davis. Is there any particular reason for this?

Vic: I think the biggest reason for it is that I didn't look at's board when I made mine.

Shawn from Cape Coral, FL:
If you were the Lions and got a phone call from the Broncos about trading Cutler for a few high draft choices, would you take Cutler, a QB you know can start and be a star and that is still young, or would you take the risk on drafting Stafford, a possible star, with the number one choice?

Vic: It depends on your evaluation of each player. If you think Matt Stafford is a better quarterback than Cutler and is worthy of the first pick of the draft and the money you'll have to pay him, then you keep the pick and use it to select Stafford. If, however, you think Cutler is the better player, then it's time to open negotiations with the Broncos, especially if you believe the top of this draft doesn't offer a player worthy of the money you'd have to pay him to be the top pick. I like Cutler. I like him a lot. I don't know the situation with him in Denver and I don't know what particular problems he has presented to the Broncos' new coach and staff, but I like Cutler's talent. By trading for him, you would avoid having to pay signing bonus money and you would be left with salary and incentives for the remainder of his six-year deal. His base salary this year is only $1.1 million. Be advised, however, that his salary spikes to $14 million in 2011 (if there isn't a work-stoppage), which means you may have to do a new deal with him before 2011. At that point you'll know whether he's your man for the long haul. Yeah, this would be a great deal, but only if you believe Cutler is the true long-term answer at quarterback for your team and that he is better than what you can pick in this draft.

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