Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Steve from Jacksonville:
"That was the game that changed 'Ask Vic' forever." OK, I'll bite. Why?
Vic: The "Ask Vic" veterans know why. It was that game that caused "Ask Vic" to explode with e-mails as it never had previously, and it hasn't eased since. I said it then so the veterans of the column know I'm speaking the truth. That game awakened something in football fans in Jacksonville. I think it was the combination of a truly great football game played in front of a national TV audience and, mostly, the anger and embarrassment Jacksonville felt that night when the stadium was literally taken over by Steelers fans. Passion for pro football was aroused that night in Jacksonville and it caused "Ask Vic" to become something I never envisioned it could become. Reading all of the e-mails became nearly impossible the rest of that season and that's a trend that exists to this day during the season. It was a different kind of passion that week, however. It wasn't the all-anger that I get after a loss now. It was a kind of appreciation for the great game fans had witnessed, and they felt a need to express it. That was a game that, in my opinion, touched Jaguars fans more than any game in team history, and that includes the win in Denver in the 1996 playoffs. That game was all about fun. The one in '04 was about the heart. There was genuine hurt.
Janson from Des Moines, IA:
I was excited to see Jimmy Clausen is meeting with the Jags soon. Do you think we will be lucky enough to have him fall to the 10th spot and are we smart enough to take him? He is a crunch-time quarterback.
Vic: I expect that he'll be gone, just as Mark Sanchez was last year, and the Jaguars will be smart enough to stick to their board and pick the best available player.
Johnny from Jacksonville:
Reading the question about the Jaguars and restricted free agent O.J. Atogwe, you mention giving up a third-round draft pick. Correct me if I'm wrong but he is only a right of first refusal, which means you wouldn't have to give up any draft picks if the Jaguars signed him? The Rams only would get a chance to match the offer but no draft pick if they did not match it.
Vic: You're right. I went back and checked out the tender and it is for the right to match only and includes no compensation, the logic of which is difficult to understand, though I have no doubt there's sound logic involved. I sought the advice of a cap man and he didn't get it, either. All we can figure is the Rams knew there would be a lack of interest in Atogwe, which brings back the issue of his shoulder injury. Nonetheless, I can't see the Rams' gain in tendering Atogwe at the no compensation level. It's not going to reduce his salary because they'd have to re-tender him by June 1. It's almost as though they want a team to become interested in him, with the idea they could then work out a trade for a pick lower than the third-round pick they spent on Atogwe. That's the only thing I can figure, that the Rams knew no team would sign Atogwe if they knew it would cost them a third-round pick. All of this raises the possibility the Rams are going to cut Atogwe. Teams that might have interest in Atogwe probably see the likelihood that he'll be cut, so why sign him to an offer sheet when you can wait until he's cut and negotiate with him then free of encumbrances? That's another theory. I think this clearly falls into the category of they know something we don't. I can live with that.
Sharden from Jacksonville:
Do you think a GM like Gene might be willing to divulge his value boards from previous years if someone like you asked them?
Vic: No chance.
Gabe from Jacksonville:
Interesting insight with your draft-room experience. Since personnel people and coaches change teams often, do personnel people have a good idea about all of the other teams' drafting strategies and tendencies? Shouldn't most teams be able to confidently predict what other teams before them are going to do in the draft and, therefore, plan accordingly.
Vic: They know each other's draft philosophies and drafting personalities. A big part of being a good drafter is knowing how to play draft poker.
William from Jacksonville:
Is the quarterback position special enough to cause a franchise to look beyond the current year's draft when planning? For example, say you are the Redskins or Seahawks and covet Sam Bradford, but know you have to give up a boatload to the Rams to trade up to get him. Would these franchises be less inclined to do it if they think that 2011 has the potential for a great quarterback class?
Vic: The draft is all about value. That's all you need to know. The value of the player and the pick are weighed against the cost.
Jeremiah from Jacksonville:
I was looking back at some of the Coughlin drafts recently. What stuck out were names like Cordell Taylor, Larry Smith, James Hamilton, Harry Deligianis and James Boyd. Why do you think the team drafted so poorly after round one during those years?
Vic: You'll find those kinds of names in all teams' drafts. No team hits on every pick. The Jags, however, did have a penchant for under-achieving in the late rounds during that era and, in my opinion, it was the result of drafting for need. The pool is big enough to draft for need in the first round and get a good player, but as you move toward the middle and late rounds, the pool of players shrinks and that means the good players are fewer. It's only logical that you're going to have a better chance of success by drafting from the top of your board in all rounds, but especially in the late rounds.
Dave from St. Augustine Beach, FL:
What do you expect to see, in general, from Gene Smith and the Jaguars in this draft?
Vic: I expect to see a continued focus on acquiring value.
Rick from Jacksonville:
With three weeks to go before draft day, what creates the movement in players moving up or down the various boards, other than injuries or off-the-field issues? How much impact do agents and/or media have in moving players up and down the boards of teams?
Vic: What movement? How do you know if players are moving up or down? All you have to go on are the mock drafts and, I assure you, they are not accurate until we get to the week of the draft, when teams start leaking information about what they might do for the purpose of jockeying for position. I think that if the draft was conducted the week after the combine, it wouldn't look much different than it does on draft weekend in April. In other words, what we're getting now is a lot of draft subterfuge.
Dan from Jacksonville:
I saw the question about the draft board and it reminded me of about five years ago when we went on a run to the stadium for smoke in the building. One of the ballasts on the fluorescent lights had smoked up the offices. We searched but couldn't find the source of the smoke. We went into one of the big rooms that had a ceiling projector and dry-erase boards. One of the boards had a black drape hanging over it. It was spring and I knew what it was. I love the Jags, the NFL and the draft coverage. I was scared to death the drape would fall. I felt like a kid who was somewhere he shouldn't be. Just thought I'd share that. Some things you don't want to know, or more correctly, be associated with knowing.
Vic: Yes, you were in the draft room and had you moved that drape, the draft police would've stormed into the room and detained you until the guy with the little light would've gotten there and erased your memory.
Patrick from Aiken, SC:
I just saw where the deadline for the 30/30 deal was extended two months to May 31st. The reason given was because of popular demand or something along those lines. That just doesn't add up to me. Would you view this as another marketing strategy that was planned all along if the numbers didn't get high enough before the March deadline, or a panic switch that had to get flipped because ticket sales didn't reach high enough yet?
Vic: I don't know, but good seats are still available. That much is a fact.
John from Jacksonville:
I see the ticket gauge was updated, with it right in the middle. Do you see it as half full or half empty?
Vic: I see it as not including 17,000 seats, which are the premium seats that were the reason the franchise was awarded to Jacksonville in the first place.
Adam from Jacksonville:
So every time any player is changing teams or getting drafted, everyone wants to play the why-it-makes-sense game and find the connections between former coaches and possible incoming players. Well, with Tebow, I have not heard the obvious stated by anyone. Mike Shula loved him and almost had him at Alabama. They supposedly are still very friendly. Any insight as to Shula's view of Tebow's NFL possibilities?
Vic: When the draft is over and this insanity ends, one way or another, I have no doubt a calm will come over me. Three weeks to go.