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Good-looking compensatory picks

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

Christina from St. Augustine, FL:
I have a lot of respect for your experience and knowledge of the history of the game. Sometimes it seems as though you don't think today's players would really be able to handle playing back in the good old days. Is there any player whose ability and play you think would transcend time and be worth watching in any era?

Vic: You got me wrong. These guys could play back then, but I also believe the guys back then could play today. Forget about that bigger, stronger, faster stuff. Evolution doesn't provide for that kind of change in 20-30 years. It's manufactured size, speed and strength and if the guys from back then had to play in today's game, they'd get bigger, strong and faster; they'd adapt to today's game and do what it takes to compete. I promise you, the great players of the past could play in any era, and so could the best players from today. Differences in the styles of the two games would favor certain players and penalize others. The physical receivers in today's game, such as Hines Ward, would have no problem playing back then. The finesse receivers, such as Marvin Harrison, wouldn't fare as well. They would have trouble dealing with the bump-and-run coverage technique of that day. The goons of the past, players such as Jack Tatum, wouldn't be able to do the things today that they did back then. The bump-and-run corners, of course, would have to change their style of coverage to play in today's game, and vice versa, but they could do it.

Kevin from Las Vegas, NV:
You focus on the young guys? How can you not watch and see what Derrick Harvey is doing? He is a second-year guy who under-performed his first year. I think he should be someone you keep an eye on. Why not?

Vic: Because underwear practice isn't football. I'll watch corners because coverage is underwear football, but for the guys who hit and get hit, what happens in the spring is meaningless.

Steve from Switzerland, FL:
This may be a premature question, however, is there a QB we should be watching that will be eligible for the draft next year?

Vic: Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy are the big names heading into next season. Tebow has the strongest arm of the three but there are doubts about his technical skills. McCoy, in my opinion, lacks arm strength and won't be able to satisfy NFL scouts that he can make all the throws. I'm not impressed by Bradford, either. He's thin from the waist down and he doesn't show me much of an arm; he has a kind of pushy delivery, too. Three players I saw last season interest me: Jevan Snead, Daryll Clark and Tony Pike. Here's a sleeper: Pat Devlin of Delaware.

Sal from El Paso, TX:
How important is it for backs coming out of college to learn to run at pad level, or are there examples of big backs coming into the NFL that have maintained an upright running stance and had productive and durable careers?

Vic: Eric Dickerson is the standard for upright runners, though a lot of people will tell you that Jim Brown was an upright runner, too. What I'll tell you is that Brown did anything he wanted. He could run upright over the little guys or drop his pads and bowl over the big guys. Fred Taylor was a little upright coming out of college and there were concerns that he might not be able to play behind his pads, but Fred quickly changed his style from being an upright draw runner at Florida to a pads-down, between-the-tackles guy with the Jaguars. In other words, it can be done; a runner can be taught to drop his pads. There is, however, a bias against upright guys and for a good reason: Dickerson is the exception, not the rule.

Edward from Jacksonville:
Here's a statistic you will love. Since 1999, there have been 38 unique receivers to become Pro-Bowlers. Of those 38, 21 were not drafted in the first round. The stats don't lie. Fifty-five percent of Pro-Bowl wide receivers in the past 10 years have not been first-round picks. Eighteen percent of Pro-Bowl wide receivers were either picked in the last round or undrafted.

Vic: You've done great work.

Andrew from Jacksonville:
As of now, I am pretty concerned about our secondary. A lot of blame, as many say, should go to the linemen for not getting enough pressure, but there hasn't been much improvement in that area, either. Would you say our secondary is fine with Considine, Nelson, Mathis and Williams as starters?

Vic: Fine? I don't think I can put that label on any part of the Jaguars team. Either I haven't said it enough or people just don't wanna hear it so they block it out. This is rebuilding.

Will from Jacksonville:
Given the availability and drafting of Eugene Monroe in the first round, wasn't it a mistake to sign Tra Thomas as a free agent in hindsight? Couldn't the money have better been used at another position? He's too expensive for a backup.

Vic: No he's not. Tra Thomas didn't get a signing bonus and only $1.5 million of his salary is guaranteed. He's a veteran player who gives the team insurance at the critical left tackle position. I said all of this when they signed him. Why do people continue to play the name game? Yeah, he's been a big-name left tackle for a long time, but long time isn't a good thing. Get it?

Tim from Tucson, AZ:
Forget the Poulter hairdo, I want to see you wear a pair of his pants.

Vic: I had a closet full of those kinds of pants in the '70s. I can distinctly remember two plaid pair I wore all the time. I haven't had a plaid suit. I can also remember a light-blue pair and a bright-yellow pair of pants. The star of the show, however, was a pair of pants that blended every color known to man into a wild design. I called them my hippie pants; others referred to them as my puke pants. If I had kept that stuff, I could sell it to Poulter for a lot of money.

Tony from Ogden, UT:
Can you think of any bad quarterbacks that had a quick release?

Vic: Jeff George got the rid of the ball as fast and as technically perfect as any quarterback who has ever played the game. His throwing motion and arm strength were so perfect that teams continued to overlook his leadership and crunch-time deficiencies.

Mike from Jacksonville:
Bernie Kosar had a funny, slow release. Does three AFC championship games in four years make you great, though?

Vic: No, it doesn't. Kosar had the intangibles, but he didn't have the talent. He had a bad arm, a bad throwing motion, no mobility and absolutely no athletic ability. He could look at a defense and know where to go with the ball and that's why he stayed in the league as long as he did. I'll never forget that it was a few days after I covered a game in Cleveland that then-Browns coach Bill Belichick announced that he was benching Kosar due to eroding skills. My reaction was: When did Kosar have skills?

Steve from Fleming Island, FL:
What players did the Jaguars pick with our 2009 compensatory picks?

Vic: The Jaguars selected Rashad Jennings and Tiquan Underwood. I genuinely believe Jennings and Underwood could turn out to be home-run picks for the Jaguars. Wouldn't that be something?

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