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Leinart the right guy

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions. Vic: "Ask Vic" will be "off the clock" on Friday. I have a long weekend ahead of me and there's really not much more to do but wait for Saturday's picks to begin. will have special draft-day coverage and I'll blog the whole first day.

Ray from Sulphur Springs, AR:
Considering Matt Jones' arm strength and that he played QB in college, do you think the Jags will have him throw the ball in trick plays, (maybe a flea flicker) this season?

Vic: Sure they will. In fact, I saw them drawin' up one of those plays today. The play I like is the one where Matt takes the direct snap from center and runs. I'd like to see them use that more often.

Aubrey from Montgomery, AL:
With the recent suspension of Ricky Williams, my question is if Williams never plays again would you consider him a bust? I know he has decent numbers and has played when asked, but he has such a high level of talent and never performed to expectations, outside of the 2002 season.

Vic: He's certainly not a bust because he has proven his talent to be of the highest order. His career, however, appears as though it will be recorded as having been a disappointment. He has wasted one of the best combinations of size, speed and ability for a power running back I have ever seen. It's a shame he never loved the game enough to dedicate himself to it. He was clearly born to play it.

Keath from Orlando, FL:
Which quarterback do you feel is a better fit for the Titans: Young, Leinart or Cutler?

Vic: Matt Leinart, in my opinion, is the right guy for the Titans. I think he's the quarterback who's best prepared for the NFL game and, of course, he'd have Norm Chow as his coach. Chow knows what Leinart can do and how to use him. It's a tailor-made situation for a team that needs a new leader for a new era.

Robert from Lake City, FL:
What has caused Kelly Jennings to fall in most of the recent mock drafts?

Vic: He's not physical and doesn't support against the run. He has to go to a team that will use him only in pass-coverage.

Gamble from Charleston, SC:
With all the talk about Arrington and getting a LB in the draft, I got to thinking about the linebackers we have, particularly Daryl Smith. I was wondering what your thoughts are on him going into his third season. Strengths? Weaknesses?

Vic: Daryl Smith is an athletic, intelligent, versatile and instinctive linebacker. He's a finesse linebacker; he's not a thumper. He has shown the ability to be stunning at times, but not often enough. That's the next level for Daryl; to make plays on a more regular basis.

Jason from Amarillo, TX:
What back in the NFL does LenDale White remind you of? His style reminds me of Larry Johnson.

Vic: I don't see any Larry Johnson in him at all. Natrone Means pops into my head. White reminds me of Means.

Bob from Jacksonville:
What goes into rating a player for the draft? I can see how a linebacker would be rated vs. another linebacker, but how do you rate a running back vs. a cornerback or a center?

Vic: You don't grade players relative to other players. You grade players solely on their own abilities and how they apply to your criterion for that position. Overall, you look at their size, speed, strength and athletic ability. If you're grading a running back, you check him for lean, pad level, power, burst, elusiveness, durability, versatility, ball security, etc. In short, you grade him according to all of the qualities you seek in a running back. Each team, of course, has its own special interests. Some teams prefer pounders over wiggle guys. Some teams demand that their running backs catch as well as they run. Some teams put a premium on toughness at all positions and steer away from players who are soft, even if that player is a special athlete. Those special interests usually affect the grade a player gets. After you arrive at a grade for every player, you rank those players according to their grades.

Tony from State College, PA:
I read your stuff all the time. I was wondering if you would pick LenDale White over DeAngelo Williams. I would take Williams.

Vic: I acknowledge Williams' skills. He's a terrific player. White, however, is more my kind of back. I prefer pounders. One guy we shouldn't forget is Laurence Maroney. Let's not forget that Maroney visited the Jaguars and the Jaguars spent a lot of time evaluating him. He's been one of their players of focus. He could be the Jaguars' guy. It's so difficult to put a finger on what a team at 28 is going to do because you don't know who's going to be available. I threw around some names yesterday, trying to limit the number as much as possible, but I should've included Maroney. There's no doubt in my mind the Jaguars would love for Antonio Cromartie to fall close enough to them to trade up and get him. I remain convinced Cromartie is a wish-list guy. Chad Greenway is one, too, but it's becoming clear there's almost no way he'll fall anywhere near where the Jaguars are picking. I remain convinced the Jaguars would like Manny Lawson or LenDale White to fall to them, too, and I believe Marcedes Lewis would be an easy pick for the Jaguars if the players the Jaguars have rated ahead of him are gone. After Lewis, I think you stir in a lot of people. That's where I lose touch with what they might do.

Mike from Coral Gables, FL:
With all this talk about Bush being a player you only see once every 10 years, wouldn't it make sense for a bunch of teams who need a running back desperately (Green Bay, Jets, Indy, to name a few) would look to do a trade to get to the top of the draft? It would seem if a guy were that good people would be willing to give up a lot for him.

Vic: The price to move up to the top spot would be prohibitively expensive for most teams. That's the first part of the answer to your question. The second part is that Reggie Bush wouldn't fit naturally in a lot of teams' offenses. All teams can make him fit, but if you're going to make him the first pick of the draft he has to be the feature player in your offense. That immediately eliminates teams that want to pound the ball on the ground. What about cold-weather teams that play it close to the vest at playoff team? Jim Brown will fit on any team because every team has need for a guy who can carry the ball 25 times a game and average 5.2 yards per carry. Bush is not that kind of player. You don't just hand him the ball. You're going to have to create ways to give him the ball. Don't take all of that to mean I don't think Bush is a special talent. He is absolutely one of the great talents to come out of college football in the last 20 years. In the pro game, however, he will require fitting. Frankly, I wish the Texans would trade the pick to a team outside the AFC South because I think Bush has the talent to make life tough for the other three teams in the division.

Vince from Jacksonville:
Vic, with all the criticism you have taken and all the bad-mouthing and distasteful comments I am glad to see you leave your feelings outside your door and you don't wear them on your sleeve. Good man you are and keep the funnies going.

Vic: I think we all need a sense of balance. On days when I come to work feeling pretty good, I select the bad stuff. On days when I'm feeling crummy, I select the good stuff. "Ask Vic" helps me stay level.

Tim from Jacksonville:
How do the teams trade up in draft selection? Does it happen way before it's that team's pick or during the 15 minutes they have to pick?

Vic: It can happen at any time, unless you're the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens and the time from the end of the season plus the time on the clock isn't enough. Here's how it works: Every team in the league has an official war room phone and its phone number is provided to every team in the league, who then put every team's war-room phone number on their phone's speed dial. When you see a chance to get the guy you want by moving up two picks, you push the speed-dial button that corresponds with the team that owns the pick you want. They answer, you negotiate and very quickly it's decided whether the two of you can do a deal or not. The deal is then relayed to the guy in New York who represents the team on the clock. He writes the info on a card and turns it in at the podium.

Vinnie from Staten Island, NY:
So what happened to the story about the ticket situation? Is the front office keeping it under wraps or is it just more complicated than you originally thought? Early last week, I heard several reports that sales had picked up considerably.

Vic: The ticket department doesn't have all of the information sorted out, yet. I'm hoping to do the story next week some time. I will tell you this, however, the news is going to be good.

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