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Future of franchise at stake

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

Rodney from Panama City, FL:
Vic, in regard to the draft, I understand your concept about drafting the best player. If Leftwich is still around and your idea of having Brunell and Leftwich would cause a problem for the Jags, do you see them dropping Brunell for Leftwich, who may turn into something and may not. If I remember correctly, you suggested the Jags build for the future and don't expect to win for a couple of years. But then it turned out they took a win-now attitude. Wouldn't it go against their thinking if they dropped the hammer on Brunell now to take a chance on someone who has not proven himself yet? Also if they get Leftwich now, could they not trade him for extra draft picks down the line?

Vic: Your questions require a crystal ball to answer. There's only one way to find out: Do it. If the Jaguars truly believe Byron Leftwich is a franchise-caliber quarterback, and if he truly is the best player available, then they must summon the courage of their convictions. Winning requires courage.

Ed from Orange Park, FL:
Love your column. I follow the drafts religiously on ESPN. Do you follow the drafts and, if you do, how do you prepare?

Vic: I fell in love with the draft the first time I covered it. I love the suspense. I love its long-term effects. It gives us a great forum for looking back and measuring success and failure. The draft is the lifeblood of every franchise. Draft well and win; screw it up and lose. Through the years, I've become friends with several scouting and personnel types. During the season, when I cover a road game and I see this scout or that scout, I'll pick his brain on some of the players he's seen in his college travels. And I'm fortunate to have three very good friends at the top of the personnel ladder. And I love to read the draftnik publications. Tony Pauline is Jaguars Inside Report's draft analyst and Tony provides great information. He's as good as anybody and he gives me great tidbits. I also read Mel Kiper's and Joel Buchsbaum's publications. They are pioneers in the draftnik field and we are going to miss Joel, who passed away on Dec. 29 of last year. Joel was a great guy who had boundless energy for draft talk.. I hope the NFL understands what a great service these men have been to the popularity of the draft. They made it what it is by moving the "draft room" into the fans' homes. I am not a draftnik. I am a reporter. It doesn't matter what I think about a player. What matters is what the team thinks about a player. My objective is to provide information on what the team might do on draft day. I'm addicted to college football and I will, on occasion, offer an opinion on a player I've seen play several times, but, for the most part, I repeat what I have heard from scouts who are trained and paid to analyze college football talent, and I marry that with what the draftniks provide at draft time.

Tom from Jacksonville:
Vic, if the Jags go with the best player available, Leftwich, and look to the future, how do they reconcile the huge money spent on free agents this offseason?

Vic: I don't know.

Alex from Jacksonville, FL:
In the second round of the draft, should the Jags take Willis McGahee or was his injury too costly to take him that early?

Vic: James Harris said he will not select Willis McGahee in the second round.

Cody from Jacksonville:
What do you think Donovin Darius would fetch in a draft-day trade?

Vic: Most teams aren't looking to add $3 million to their salary cap. For that reason, I have to believe Donovin Darius has little trade value.

Leslie from Zapata, TX:
Vic, I like reading your column and I always wanted to ask you a question, but I didn't know what to ask, until now. What is your opinion about the QB situation facing the Jags?

Vic: Leslie, if in fact a franchise-caliber quarterback is available to the Jaguars on Saturday, the team will be facing a decision that may determine the fate of the franchise for the next 10 years. We may find ourselves referring to Saturday, April 26, for a long time. What to do? Stick with a quarterback who may have a few years left in his career, or cast your lot with a young quarterback who might become your team's next star? Of course, there' s no guarantee he won't be a bust. What would I do? I would draft the best available player. I'm not trying to avoid your question. I just believe you can't go wrong if you always draft the top guy left on your board. Don't try to predict. Just pick the best guys. If a franchise-grade quarterback is the best available player when it's the Jaguars' turn to pick on Saturday, then take him. The only exception to that would be the possibility of a trade for that pick with a team willing to give the Jaguars more than fair return value.

Tyler from Jacksonville:
Thanks for everything you've been doing to make this website as great as it is. I have a question about the running back situation this year. You said the Jaguars need a short-yardage back to complement Fred Taylor. I believe Fred Taylor is a very accountable short-yardage back. What do you think about Taylor being the short-yardage back this year?

Vic: The Jaguars need a pounder. Fred Taylor is not a pounder.

Greg from Atlanta, GA:
Great job on the "Inside Scoop" draft interviews. I found them to be very informative. My question is concerning a particular prospect: How would Boss Bailey from Georgia fit into the Jags' new defensive scheme? I know Jack and James have emphasized speed on defense and that is Bailey's game. If the Jags were to trade down into the 10-15 range, I think he would be a perfect fit for this team. What do you think?

Vic: Boss Bailey would fit into any team's defensive scheme.

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