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It's a pocket-passer's game

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

William from Jacksonville:
Did public sentiment favor the players or the owners during the 1987 strike or did both sides lose?

Vic: Public sentiment favored the owners because the players were the ones who were taking football away from the fans. In a lockout situation, it might be the other way.

Ralph from Wise, VA:
You said "wide receivers are a dime a dozen." They have tried both ways, in the draft and in free agency, and still have missed. Can you give us your opinion why they have missed so badly?

Vic: Maybe they've put too much of a premium on size and speed and not enough on production.

Clay from Jacksonville:
I don't want to be one of those readers that parses your every word, but I am puzzled by your strong advocacy for Matt Stafford. You have sold me on the fact that crunch time defines quarterbacks. So what is the signature Matthew Stafford win or crunch-time performance?

Vic: College football isn't a game for pocket-passing quarterbacks. It's not a game for precision passing attacks. It's a game for drop back and run, which is why the Tim Tebows and Pat Whites excel. Pro football, however, is a game for drop-back quarterbacks who know how to read defenses and where to go with the football. In other words, I think Stafford is very likely to be a better pro quarterback than he was a college quarterback. He's got all of the tools, including a sharp football mind. My only reservation on him is that he wasn't always an accurate passer at Georgia, but I have to wonder if that wasn't a product of a college passing attack that lacked pro-like sophistication.

Ron from Stowe, VT:
Can the Jaguars really afford the luxury of selecting a quarterback in the top 10, only to have him sit on the bench?

Vic: Yes, they can, because the draft isn't about now, it's about the future. What the Jaguars can't afford to do is pass on a potential difference-making player.

Preston from Patterson, NY:
You said you would prefer that a WR not be the BAP in the first round because the corps is so deep. Do you have a preference at the number eight pick?

Vic: I would prefer that a wide receiver not be the best available player in the first round because it's not a premium position and you can usually find impact wide receivers in the later rounds. In the top 10, I think I speak for all personnel guys when I say the preference would be for a premium-position player. I'm talking about a passer, pass-blocker, pass-rusher or pass-defender. In other words, a quarterback, left tackle, right defensive end or cornerback. That doesn't mean you should reach for one of those guys. I'm just saying that you'd like a pick that high to yield a premium-position player because you are certainly going to pay a premium price for that guy, regardless of the position he plays. Last year, the first three picks of the draft were a tackle, a defensive end and a quarterback. In 2007, a quarterback, two tackles and a defensive end were among the first five picks. In '06, a defensive end, a quarterback and a tackle were among the first four picks. The 2005 draft was extraordinary in that three running backs and three wide receivers were among the top 10 picks, and I think there is either minor or major disappointment with each of those picks. Top 10 picks are tough. If you don't hit on them, it's devastating, and I think it's tough to justify top 10 money for a player at a non-premium position.

Gary from Nancy, KY:
If the Thomas signing goes perfectly, how long should he be expected to start?

Vic: If he gives the Jaguars one quality year, then it will have been a worthy acquisition. Tra wants this to be a long-termer, and I think it's great for him to feel that way and based on the ease with which I was able to interview him on Monday, I hope he plays for the Jaguars until I retire. I can tell you right now he's gonna be a go-to guy for me this year. Tra is an intellectual. He's a breath of fresh air; somebody who prefers cultural endeavors to killing animals. I love it. He actually speaks in sentences. Lest I get carried away, however, I think this deal has to be approached as a bandage on a wound at left tackle. He's the bridge to the team's future at the position.

Jeff from Richmondale, PA:
How do you think T.O. will do in Buffalo? Do you think the one-year contract will help keep him motivated to behave?

Vic: You know, this just might be a perfect marriage. A drab city gets a glitzy player. He might be just what they need and Buffalo might teach him a little humility. He might enjoy and genuinely appreciate the adulation he's going to get in Buffalo, right? Nah, he'll screw it up.

Joshua from Portageville, MO:
Does Tra Thomas' weakness as a run-blocker concern you?

Vic: Not really because he's a left tackle, not a right tackle. Left tackles pass-block. Right tackles run-block. Plus, Thomas will have Vince Manuwai next to him, and Vinny'll take care of the run-blocking on that side of center.

Ethan from Wampum, PA:
Obviously name, position and school would be required on the paper that is handed to the commissioner on draft day. Is there anything else they must write down? Are these forms kept in boxes forever or are they just thrown in the trash at the end of the day?

Vic: The paper must include the round, the number of the overall pick, the player's full name, his school and his position. The paper is given to a runner, who gives it to an official at the front table. It's then shown to the TV network covering the draft and, finally, passed to the commissioner. The pieces of paper are discarded. For the Jaguars' inaugural draft, the team saved its pieces of paper for memorabilia purposes.

Dale from Hampton, VA:
How did the signing of Mike Peterson by the Falcons help the Jaguars' compensatory picks?

Vic: It's one to the minus side, which ties the score at 2-2; two free agents signed (Sean Considine and Tra Thomas) and two free agents lost (Mike Peterson and Gerald Sensabaugh). As of now, there would be no compensatory picks award. If the Jaguars don't sign any more free agents and, say, Khalif Barnes signs with a team and sticks, the Jags would be minus one and that would probably result in a seventh-round pick. Remember, the player has to stick with that team for it to count.

J.R. from Yulee, FL:
Can an agent a player selects hurt a player in the draft, if the agent is known for holding out players?

Vic: The answer should be no but I have no doubt it's yes. It's difficult to select a guy who is represented by an agent with whom you have a bad relationship or you know has a penchant for signing difficulties and training camp holdouts.

Greg from Largo, FL:
When do the actual schedules come out for the 2009 season? How many Sunday/Monday night games do you think the Jags will pick up?

Vic: I'd expect the schedule to be announced in mid-April. I think the Jaguars' schedule will have a distinct theme: Sunday at one o'clock.

Eric from Pittston, PA:
With all the big-name quarterbacks in this year's draft, no one seems to be talking about Graham Harrell from Texas Tech.

Vic: He doesn't have an NFL arm.

Jeff from Fullerton, CA:
I have heard Bills fans are tired of all character guys with no skill, which is why they are happy with the signing of Terrell Owens. What are your thoughts on that kind of attitude?

Vic: Are you saying Bills fans want more crime? I don't believe that.

Ray from Nampa, ID:
What would be your evaluation of the receiving corps if management decides to let Matt Jones go after this latest incident?

Vic: About the same.

Al from Fruit Cove, FL:
Why is Tra Thomas a better solution than Orlando Pace, other than Thomas being available a week earlier?

Vic: Thomas has only missed one game in the last three years; Pace has missed 25.

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