Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
When does the after-draft camp start and how long does it last?
Vic: The Jaguars traditionally conduct a mini-camp during the weekend after the draft. At that time, the new draft class is introduced to the team's facility, program and playbook.
Dan from Thousand Oaks, CA:
Isn't Arizona in love with Fitzgerald, since he was a ballboy for Dennis Green in Minnesota? So wouldn't we need to move up to number one or number two to get him, and wouldn't that cost like our first-rounder, our second-rounder and a few other picks? Is that worth it?
Vic: It's been widely speculated Arizona would draft Larry Fitzgerald with the third pick of the draft, so, if you're targeting Fitzgerald, you would have to get up to the second pick to have any degree of certainty Fitzgerald would be available to you. According to a widely-accepted "numeric table" I'll use, the second pick of the draft is worth 2,600 points and the ninth pick is worth 1,650. That means the Jaguars would have to present the Oakland Raiders with picks equal to the difference between the second and ninth picks of the draft. OK, the Jaguars' second-round pick (39th overall) is worth 540 points, and their two third-rounders (70th and 72nd overall) are worth 250 and 245 respectively. That would do it. If the "numeric table" is to be trusted, switching first-round picks with the Raiders would require giving the Raiders the Jaguars' second-round pick and both third-rounders. In other words, trading up that far would mean trading your first-day draft for one player. Hmmm, that might be too much. It might be better to let the draft unfold and hope Fitzgerald falls a little lower. If he makes it past Arizona, it could get do-able. Don't discount that possibility, especially in a draft that has three quarterbacks and a dominant big guy.
Scot from Jacksonville:
What's the breakdown of teams that follow best-available and those that follow greatest-need strategies in the draft? A lot of what I read is the Browns need this or the Chargers need that. Is need heavily favored, or is it more balanced?
Vic: I don't know what the breakdown is because few teams are going to admit they're one or the other, but I can tell you every team in the league is intense about fitting their need to a pick, because value has never been more important. Every team wants to address their needs, but you can't do that by sacrificing value. In other words, if you want a wide receiver but there isn't one who fits where you're picking, then you better move your pick. That's why you're reading about so many trade possibilities. San Diego, Oakland, Arizona, Cleveland, the Giants, Detroit and New England have all been involved in heavy trade rumors. Why? Because they all want to address their needs and know they must move to a pick that will allow them to do that. The bottom line is that the draft is not a 1-32 order of teams, it's a 1-32 order of players. The teams re-fit themselves according to that order of players. Call it best available player or anything else you want, but value is number one. You don't draft a second-round wide receiver in the first round merely because you have a need at the position and he was the best available player at that position. This stuff really isn't that hard to understand. It's shopping, and nobody likes to overpay.
Daniel from Arcola, IL:
When will you be doing the live mock draft, and will it be available to view on jaguars.com after that date?
Vic: Brian, Jeff and I will conduct our mock draft from 6-7 p.m. on Wed., April 21, on "Jaguars This Week." The plan is for jaguars.com to complement the radio show by presenting a first-round visual, with players assigned to teams as the picks are made.
Hasso from Jacksonville:
You taught me that left tackles usually are pass-protectors and right tackles usually are run-blockers, mainly because left tackles protect the blind side of the quarterback. What if the quarterback is left-handed?
Vic: It's not just about the blind side of a quarterback. Left tackles are generally better pass-blockers because the defense usually puts its best pass-rusher at right end, because that would usually mean he's coming at the quarterback's blind side. It's a little chicken-or-the-egg thing. So, if the quarterback is left-handed, his right tackle becomes a more valued pass-blocker, but he's still blocking against the lesser pass-rusher of the two defensive ends. Old-school football has it that teams run right and throw left and, for the most part, that still holds true. The tight end is lined up to the right side more than he is to the left side, and that creates strength of formation to the right more than to the left, which means an added blocker for the running game to the right side of the field. The concept of throwing left is based on the idea of looking into the blind-side rush. The old Raiders and Steelers were left-handed teams that loved to get their running back going downhill on their opponents' right corner, who was usually better in coverage than he was in run-support, because teams usually ran right and threw left. Deion Sanders was a right corner and I don't know if I ever saw him make a tackle. In the old days, this stuff was written in stone. But not in today's game. Today's left corners are generally better in both coverage and in run-support than right corners, which is the result of zone pass-defenses being employed more often to the right corner's side of the field. Coordinators have introduced so many strategy variables into today's game that it's not accurate to refer definitively to right and left, except when it comes to right and left tackles and right and left defensive ends. It's still true that left tackles are better pass-blockers and right tackles are better run-blockers, and right defensive ends are better pass-rushers and left defensive ends are better run-stuffers. Some things never change.
Jim from Tampa, FL:
I enjoyed your column on Larry Fitzgerald and I agree completely that the NFL could use some classy guys. My question is, when a team determines the best available player, how much of a part does character play in the decision? I would hope a lot, but based on some of the goons in the NFL, it does not seem to be much of a consideration.
Vic: Teams are intense in investigating the backgrounds of prospective draft choices. Not only are teams concerned about the type of player they're bringing into their communities, they're also concerned about the type of guy they're bringing into their locker rooms. No team wants to waste its salary cap on a troubled player. Having said all of that, however, I'm reminded of something former Giants GM George Young once said to me. "It's not a game for the well-adjusted," Young said.
Mike from Orlando, FL:
Great article on Fitzgerald; finally a class act from the start! You mentioned the Jaguars stockpiling picks and an additional pick for Darius could put them over the top and allow a move-up for Fitzgerald. What about the possibility of using Jimmy Smith as the over-the-top incentive for an early-pick team? After all, we set a precedent last year on this rebuild with Brunell. Jimmy may not have many years left and probably won't be around for a Jaguars Super Bowl run.
Vic: You're forgetting about the salary cap ramifications. Jimmy Smith has major remaining amortization, all of which would accelerate onto the Jaguars' 2004 salary cap if Smith was traded. The Jaguars already accepted a major "dead-money" hit when they cut Tony Brackens. I don't think they'd want to take on Smith's "dead money," too.