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Good draft for Jaguars

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

Greg from Lake City, FL:
I thought your formula for winning in the NFL was run the ball and stop the run. Now you say it's convert third downs and score touchdowns. Did I misunderstand your formula or did it change?

Vic: "Run the ball/stop the run" is a given. Everybody understands the importance of establishing those two aspects of the game, but you may have noticed that the NFL went out of its way last season to diminish the importance of the running game. They did that with a pre-announced major emphasis on enforcement of the chuck rule. Was it a conspiracy to assist quarterbacks and promote more passing yardage and points? Yes, clearly it was. "Run the ball/stop the run" had reached a point of focus that yards and points declined in 2003 for the first time in a long, long time. That raised major red flags in the league, which knows that offense is what fans want to see. So, we are in one of those offensive phases right now. The rules and their application are being tilted toward offense, especially toward the passing game, and that means you're not going to win during this period without a strong passing game. It's not only what the league wants, it's what the league is demanding. That's the way it is and that's the way it'll stay for awhile, until defensive coordinators figure out how to stop the pass, at which time the game will begin turning back toward "run the ball/stop the run," again, which it always has and probably always will. It's still important, but the chuck-rule emphasis has had an undeniable impact in promoting the importance of the passing game. You're not going to win in today's game without a quarterback who converts on third down and throws touchdown passes.

Ward from New York, NY:
Can you give me some insight into why I'm not hearing more about a possible Darius-Surtain trade?

Vic: It sounds to me like both players have priced themselves out of the trade market. In a year that is loaded with cornerbacks and safeties in the draft, why would you want to spend a fortune on those positions in a trade or in free agency?

Mike from Summerville, SC:
Could you take a moment to give us your thoughts on the recent statements made by Saints head coach Jim Haslett regarding steroid use by the Steelers of his playing days?

Vic: Jim Haslett is off on his timeline. The era to which his remarks pertain is the generation after the Steelers' Super Bowl era. Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, L.C. Greenwood, Dwight White, Mel Blount, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, etc., were totally natural. There were some steroids suspects on the offensive line during that era, but the finger points most decidedly at the next generation of Steelers, which won no Super Bowls. That's the generation against which Haslett played, so I don't understand why he chose to finger the teams that had won three Super Bowls before he was even drafted by the Bills. I would've liked to have seen Franco Harris testify at a congressional hearing on steroids usage. All Harris would've had to do was take off his shirt and the hearings would've ended. There are golfers on tour today who are more muscular than Harris was.

Michael from Rock Hill, NY: is reporting that David Garrard is an RFA this year and that the Jags offered him the middle tender. I was under the impression, however, that Garrard is in the last year of his rookie contract and won't become a UFA until next year. Please explain what David Garrard's contract situation is.

Vic: It's just as you say.

John from Jacksonville:
During the 2002 NFL draft, defensive tackles Ryan Sims and Albert Haynesworth were forecasted to be better and picked higher than Henderson. How productive have they been in the past few years?

Vic: Ryan Sims was selected sixth overall by the Chiefs, but Albert Haynesworth wasn't picked until 15th, six picks after John Henderson was selected ninth by the Jaguars. Henderson has clearly out-performed Sims and Haynesworth. Henderson is Tom Coughlin's final first-round pick as Jaguars coach, and Coughlin did the Jaguars' future right. One of the interesting things about that draft is the clock controversy that involved Dallas, Kansas City and Minnesota. Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie would've probably been the Jaguars' first-round choice had he been available. He was selected by Minnesota with the seventh pick, following a trade between Dallas and Kansas City that sent defensive tackle Ryan Sims to the Chiefs. Dallas' allotted selection time expired, but the Cowboys beat the Vikings to the podium with the trade card. The Vikings were on their way to the podium with Sims' name on their pick card.

Brad from Roanoke, VA:
With your history in the Jaguars' first 10 years, what would you say would be the team's high point? It's hard to argue against that feeling following the playoff victory against Miami in '99.

Vic: Take your pick: The 1996 playoff win in Denver or the 'win against Miami. I pick the win in Denver because, at that point, all the arrows were pointing up for the Jaguars. The win against Miami was great, but you could already see the salary-cap storm clouds on the horizon.

Eric from Jacksonville:
If the Jaguars added a solid cornerback and defensive end, could they have a top-five defense?

Vic: They better already have added a solid defensive end or they wasted a lot of money. With the addition of Reggie Hayward and the return of Paul Spicer and Jorge Cordova and the prospects of tapping the draft for another pass-rusher, I don't think defensive end is a position of weakness any longer. In my opinion, cornerback and linebacker are the positions of concern. The Jaguars need to find a cornerback who can become an accomplished starter, and they need to find a linebacker who fulfills Jack Del Rio's idea of a play-maker. Give them that corner and that linebacker and this can be a top-five defense.

Johnny from Jacksonville:
I think that with all the depth at cornerback in this year's draft, there should be no problem in acquiring another premier cornerback, possibly Antrel Rolle of Miami or Stanley Wilson of Stanford. What do you think?

Vic: Stanley Wilson is expected to be available when the Jaguars pick at number 21, but Antrel Rolle will probably be gone. Rolle's stock, however, is said to have fallen recently because Adam Jones and Carlos Rogers each ran faster times and because there are concerns about Rolle's ability to play zone. As a result of last year's enforcement of the chuck rule, cornerbacks must be able to play zone because everybody is playing it. The Jaguars should be able to find "their" cornerback, even if it's in the second round.

Wes from Cincinnati, OH:
In an earlier "Ask Vic" you talked favorably of taking Josh Scobee in the fifth round. Since you feel the kicking game is in good cleats, how about the punting? Are there any good punters in the draft and how high would the Jags go to get one if a great one was there?

Vic: Tennessee's Dustin Colquitt is the top-ranked punter, but I don't think the Jaguars are in the market for a punter. What's wrong with Chris Hanson?

Will from Charleston, SC:
What do you think about trading our first-round pick for a team's first-round pick next year and possibly a second or third-round pick this year?

Vic: I would be against that strategy. This should be a good draft for the Jaguars. It is strong where the Jaguars have need and, if the Jaguars are able to address those needs, it could put them over the top. This team is close to making the playoffs, as witnessed by last year's "one more win" miss. I don't think it should be thinking two years ahead. I think it can focus on now.

Rob from Daytona Beach, FL:
What about drafting Gator Channing Crowder and moving Mike Peterson to outside linebacker?

Vic: At this point in time, I don't get the feeling that Channing Crowder is a player the Jaguars are targeting.

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