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Draft, cap and personality disorders

Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Nick Cummings from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I just recently read your column on our cornerbacks Kiwaukee Thomas and Jason Craft. You and I seem to agree they are playing good football now. Next, I read your "Ask Vic" column and you said we should draft the best available player in next spring's draft. I'm a draft nut; I love college football. Hypothetically, if Texas cornerback Quentin Jammer was still on the board when we picked in the first round, should we draft him for his talent, or because of Thomas and Craft do we let him slide? I believe in drafting the best available but, with their emergence as starters, do we still draft Jammer?
Vic: Best available is best available. When the Jaguars signed Leon Searcy in free agency in February of 1996 -- after having drafted Tony Boselli and Brian DeMarco in the first two rounds of the '95 draft -- the last thing the Jaguars needed was another offensive tackle. That's why there was no chance the Jaguars would pick Jonathan Ogden in the April, '96 draft. In retrospect, if the Jaguars had selected Ogden, would they regret it now?

Mike Brown from St. Augustine, FL:
We all pretty much know about the new realignment that will take place starting in the 2002 season. We will have our new division rivals, Houston and Indy, and our old rival, Tennessee, at home as well as away. We are also playing the AFC North and the NFC East. Has the NFL released which of those teams in those two divisions will play here in Jacksonville?
Vic: Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington will play in Jacksonville, and the Jaguars will play at Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas and the New York Giants. The Jaguars will also host an AFC West team to be designated, and will play at an AFC East team to be designated. Those scheduling assignments await this year's final standings.

Mike Dennis from Jacksonville:
Suppose the Jags fall to, say, 6-10 this season and get the seventh overall pick in the draft. If some great wide receivers are available like Lloyd, Bryant or Gaffney, do you think the Jags will draft them knowing McCardell or Smith might not be back next year? Or do you think they draft an offensive lineman, or maybe even a running back?
Vic: I'm hoping they'll take the best player available, mostly because the Jaguars will have need at every position. Next April's draft class is expected to be deepest in defensive linemen.

John Andreoli from Orange Park, FL:
With the youth in the Jaguars secondary playing no worse than Beasley and Bryant, would there be cost savings by cutting them or leaving them unprotected in the expansion draft? Would that be a wise move?
The Jaguars' salary cap situation is severe enough that they have to consider releasing any player whose release would save the team money against the cap. Aaron Beasley would represent a savings of about $800,000; Fernando Bryant wouldn't offer a savings.

Aaron Fleck from Minneapolis, MN:
Could we be looking at next year's team these last couple of weeks? If the Jags get rid of Beasley, Bryant, Nickerson and Hardy, do you think they would almost have 10-15 million in cap space cut? It seems the defense is playing better with Posey, Westmoreland and Craft and Thomas.
Vic: Regardless of how those young players are performing currently, the Jaguars' salary cap will force them to release several veteran players. There is no choice in the matter. The cap demands repair and it must begin this winter.

Harry Reese from Port Orange, FL:
I read your editorial about the "personality disorder" of the Jaguars and it disturbed me. Am I the only one who noticed the reason the Jags lost so many of the close games was not because the defense collapsed but rather that the offense couldn't put together any clock-consuming drives at the end of those games, and that's due to Tom Coughlin giving up on the run and putting Stacey Mack in his doghouse during those games?
You must've noticed by now that I consider the running game to be at the very heart of football success. The absence of a running game early in the season was a killer, and you may offer it as an ingredient in this team's "personality disorder." But I tend to believe it's a symptom, not a cause. Deeper probing is required. What I don't understand is why the Jaguars have all of a sudden found a running game? Why couldn't they run the ball before they fell out of playoff contention? Why couldn't they stop the opposition in the fourth quarter before they fell out of playoff contention? Why, for the second consecutive year, are they playing their best football after they had fallen out of playoff contention? I don't have an answer, but it's a question I believe this team must address.

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