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It's not a combine game

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

Cormac from Cork, Ireland:
Do you know if there was any work done on Byron Leftwich's release technique and footwork, yet, in the offseason? Or is that something the coaching staff may not officially coach Byron on until training camp?

Vic: He is what he is and his mechanics are what they are. The guy isn't going to change at this stage of his career. He's got a long release and it's going to stay that way. He's not a scrambler, but neither are Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer. I think it's time for fans to decide whether they can or can't accept Byron Leftwich the way he is and stop expecting him to change. You don't change a guy four years into his professional football career. You can tweak things and they work on all of their quarterbacks' fundamentals all of the time, but you're not going to radically change a guy's motion. Tiger Woods is said to have gone through a radical reconstruction of his golf swing over the last few years. I can't tell. That's because what they call radical we would consider to be minor. Are fans expecting Leftwich to be coached into looking like Johnny Unitas? Forget about it. He is what he is. He's got a long delivery. Decide.

Mark from Wichita, KS:
Okay, the Jags are on the clock and White and Cromartie are still somehow on the board. Which of these players is the BAP on your board? Both are damaged goods but both have the potential to be stars. Who do you like?

Vic: I would lean toward Cromartie because I think he would be higher on my board, but maybe not much. You're talking about two thoroughbreds. Football players get injured. That's a fact of football: You will get hurt. Football players also heal and then play again. Cromartie appears to have recovered from his ACL surgery. White's hamstring will heal, although hamstrings can be nagging things and they have cut short a lot of careers. Mark Brunell injured his hamstring in 1995 and he's battled that hamstring ever since then. Chronic hamstring problems dogged Lynn Swann late in his career and cut Louis Lipps' career short. I can see Cromartie and White each becoming stars. I can see White playing for the Panthers, who love to pound the ball, which is what you have to do if you're going to draft White. Cromartie can play in any scheme. Just tell him who to cover and get out of the way.

Chris from Conway, AR:
Your reply to Harsha from New Tampa brings to mind a new question: Are there college teams that are known for producing NFL-caliber players at certain positions? FSU produces defense, Florida produces offensive speedsters, even Arkansas produced a series of NFL safeties. What value does this carry on draft day?

Vic: Michigan is known for offensive linemen. The Texas schools are known for defensive backs. Florida State produces pass-rushers. Penn State was always "Linebacker U." USC, of course, has always been renowned for producing great running backs. Schools get those kinds of reputations for the obvious reason: They put their best players at those positions because that's what they value. It also has something to do with the territory they recruit. USC was known for "Student Body Right." It was the staple of their offense, therefore, they had to have a star running back. Joe Paterno lost Jim Kelly in a recruiting battle with Miami because Paterno wanted to make Kelly a linebacker. You see what I mean? I don't know what value all of that carries on draft day because you don't draft the school, you draft the player. My favorite words about scouting football talent are: "You find football players where you find football players." It doesn't matter where, only who. Pedigrees are for dogs. A good scout knows a good football player when he sees one. He doesn't need papers.

Clif from Frederick, MD:
I was watching ESPN today and Mel Kiper said Marcedes Lewis would be a great fit in Jacksonville. I agree with him. What are your thoughts?

Vic: As I said in yesterday's column, I started getting the feeling this week that Lewis could be the Jaguars' pick and, frankly, I'm wrestling with that one a little bit. My concern is that because Lewis is more Shannon Sharpe than Kyle Brady, drafting Lewis might be the equivalent of drafting a wide receiver for the third consecutive year. That kind of bothers me. I think you can get wide receiver fever. The upside on drafting Lewis is that he would provide another offensive weapon that should give Byron Leftwich a full complement of players, and that's important heading into the final two years of Leftwich's contract.

Stuart from St Louis, MO:
How do the Jags get their transportation when going to the west coast? I'm in college training to be a pilot and I was wondering if the Jaguars needed a new pilot.

Vic: Thanks, but the airline usually provides guys who steer the plane.

Dan from Frederick, MD:
Why would you put Chad Greenway higher than Ernie Sims on your value board? Did you see Chad's combine numbers? He only benched 225 pounds 16 times and then ran a 4.74 40.

Vic: There's nothing wrong with those numbers, besides, football games aren't decided by three-cone drills, short-shuttles or other such president's-council-on-physical-fitness events. Greenway is a true every-downs linebacker. He plays run and pass. Sims, as I recall, came out of the game for two downs on the goal line against Penn State in the Orange Bowl. Sims is a magnificent player, but he's only 5-11 and there are concussion concerns. He's a head-dropper.

Mark from Loveland, OH:
Swagger? Seems to me the last time a Jaguar talked about swagger they got punked by the Titans in their own house. Remember? The week before the game it was all you heard from the Jags; the rap song, "Uh, oh, Jaguars." I'm with you, let your intensity, focus and level of play define who you are. Swagger is for wannabes.

Vic: You're absolutely right. The Jaguars had all the swagger but no swat that week. They folded like a diaper at crunch time and I'll never forget or forgive it. I don't want swagger. I want wins. Swagger is for guys who have an identity crisis.

Anthony from Edmond, OK:
If the Jags do indeed take a tight end in the first round, then what second-round linebackers do you like?

Vic: Abdul Hodge of Iowa.

John from Tampa, FL:
I think it's funny how you say LenDale White is damaged goods but you also are quick to say Antonio Cromartie is OK. I'm beginning to think you have bipolar disorder or a split personality. Maybe someone else writes your column sometimes.

Vic: Here's the deal, John. Cromartie shows all the signs of being recovered. He's worked out at the combine and at the Florida State pro day and has run sub-4.4 on both occasions. He did the three-cone drill for scouts at the pro day and did a 7.02, which is probably not his best but certainly good enough and proves he can move laterally on his rebuilt knee. There are no signs he is hobbled by the surgery, though, it should be expected he will spend his rookie season further recovering from the surgery. The one big question remaining about Cromartie is how his knee will react when he has to practice on it day after day. Will it swell? Otherwise, the questions about that knee have been answered sufficiently enough for teams to remove the "damaged goods" label. In White's case, an MRI exam confirms a tear of his hamstring. That's a present tense injury, John, and although I think teams should and will look beyond the present tense situation to a day when White will be fully recovered, he is, nonetheless, damaged right now. I'm sure you can understand that, right? Now let's talk about my split personality, bipolar disorder and ghost writer. Number one, nobody writes this column but me. Secondly, the next time I'm at the shrink's to have the bandage on my prefrontal lobotomy replaced, I'll ask if I have a split personality or bipolar disorder. If I don't, then your smart remarks will have earned you a place in the "Ask Vic" graveyard. How's that swagger, John?

James from Kamloops, BC:
Are the Texans crazy if they take someone other than Bush with the first pick and don't trade down?

Vic: Yeah, everybody's crazy.

Chris from Gainesville, FL:
Exactly why did Barnes' draft stock fall last year, enabling us to take him in the second round?

Vic: I'll never understand it. He's big, athletic and intense and it's the last one I don't understand because the rap on Barnes, the thing that caused him to fall, was the knock that he was soft. Yeah, and then the guy plays four quarters on a broken bone in his leg in the playoff game. A lot of teams missed on Barnes.

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