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Drafts tell the story

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

John from Fruit Cove, FL:
The other night, while watching Ricky Williams, I noticed he was allowed to wear a tinted eye protector on his facemask. I thought the NFL outlawed those unless you had a doctor's approval. What is Ricky's reason for wearing one and do any Jaguars have approval to use them?

Vic: You're right, a player must have medical reason to wear a tinted eye shield on his helmet, therefore, Ricky Williams must have medical reason. At present, the Jaguars have no players who require the use of a tinted eye shield.

Gil from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I don't think the Jaguars have had a good defense, capable of stopping the run, since Dom Capers left. What was his secret? Was it his defensive knowledge and schemes, his defensive personnel, or a combination of each that made his defenses so special, in your opinion?

Vic: Dom Capers is one of the great defensive minds in the game. In 1999, his first of two years as Jaguars defensive coordinator, his defense ranked sixth in the league against the run. It was no coincidence that the Jaguars had the best defensive personnel in their history that year, after having spent a lot of money on Gary Walker in free agency for the expressed purpose of stopping the run. In 2000, Capers' final season with the Jaguars, the run-defense was 11th, which kept the Jags in the top third of the league. Then the bottom fell out in 2002, when the Jags finished 25th against the run, which I attribute mostly to having lost Gary Walker and Seth Payne in the expansion draft. The combination of Capers and a lot of talented players was a winning formula, but even Capers would tell you he can't do it alone. It all starts with raw talent.

Cliff from Callahan, FL:
During Jimmy Smith's suspension, is he allowed to use the team facilities for personal training; the weight room? If he was injured, would team doctors be able to treat him or is he completely cut off from the team?

Vic: He is completely cut off from the team.

Joe from Jacksonville:
While listening to sports talk radio this year I have heard the name Cortez Hankton quite a bit. I also read with interest your comments on him. I watched the Tampa Bay game and it seemed he was a bright spot in a lackluster game. What are your thoughts? Will he make it?

Vic: Cortez Hankton has some major upside. He's the perfect example of the kind of youthful talent this team needs to find and develop. I expect him to stick around, and maybe a whole lot more.

Steve from Waycross, GA:
Against Miami, the rush-defense came up short and again against Tampa. What will it take to get the three-and-out defense needed to win games? In your opinion, can it be done with this year's talent or will we need to look to next year's draft for help?

Vic: More talent is needed.

Greg from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
If we cut Brunell, Smith and Brady now, what would be the point of having money to spend this season with no one to spend it on?

Vic: The Jaguars wouldn't let that salary cap space (about $13 million) go to waste. They would immediately begin moving money from future years into this year, which would create room on future caps that could be used on keeping players and acquiring new players. How is that done? Well, you convert salary from next year into salary paid this year and, presto, you have created room on next year's cap. And what about a player such as Fernando Bryant, who will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season? If you judge him worthy of keeping, sign him to a new deal that will increase his salary this year; the equivalent of signing bonus. But you can't classify it as signing bonus because it would then have to be amortized equally over the life of the contract. Salary counts in full in the year it is paid. You've heard the term "push money out?" Well, in this case you'd be "bringing money forward." All of a sudden, the future looks real bright; lots of young players on the roster and plenty of cap room to find more.

Dave from Santa Maria, CA:
Compared to other AFC South teams, how do we rate on draft selections in the last five years?

Vic: Obviously, the Texans must be excluded from the comparison. So, let's do the Jaguars, Colts and Titans. The Colts hit home runs in the first round with Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Dwight Freeney, but, at this point in time, appear to have missed on Rob Morris and Reggie Wayne. After round one, the Colts' drafts have yielded little. The Titans haven't hit the jackpot as often in the first round, but their drafts have been solid and productive throughout. Jevon Kearse and Keith Bulluck are star-quality first-rounders, but Kevin Dyson was a disappointment, they traded away a first-round pick for Kevin Carter, and the jury is still out on Albert Haynesworth. But look at rounds two and on: Samari Rolle, John Thornton, Zach Piller, Erron Kinney, Peter Sirmon, Andre Dyson, Justin McCareins, Tank Williams, Carlos Hall and a lot more. They are names that, in most cases, don't excite you, but they represent true home-grown depth. The Jaguars hit on Fred Taylor, Donovin Darius, Fernando Bryant and Marcus Stroud in the first round during that period, and hold out hope for John Henderson. The big miss, of course, was R.J. Soward, and he really damaged the way Tom Coughlin's drafts were perceived. But the big problem with the Jags' draft classes is a lack of production in the late rounds. In summary, the Titans are where they are because of the way they've drafted, and you might say the same for the Colts and the Jaguars.

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