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McGahee turned out OK

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

Jon from Durham, NC:
Since it looks possible Cromartie may be in the fray when the Jaguars pick, I was wondering if you could appraise how the McGahee pick by the Bills worked out and if there are any typical contract terms that can protect the team if the injury never is completely fixed?

Vic: Contracts are individual things and I'm not familiar with the language in Willis McGahee's contract. There's a big difference between McGahee's situation and Antonio Cromartie's. The difference is that drafting McGahee was a leap of faith, whereas Cromartie is running and jumping and showing signs of being able to play right away, beginning with his rookie mini-camp. McGahee did not play in his rookie season. I can remember speaking to Tom Modrak, the Bills' assistant general manager, about drafting McGahee. Modrak said they drafted McGahee because they were getting a player who was number one on their board before the injury. They were going for value. Did they get it? To answer that, you have to look at who was picked after McGahee, who was the 23rd pick overall. One guy jumps out: Larry Johnson at 27. In retrospect, Johnson would've been the better choice, even though Johnson did veritably nothing in his rookie season either. McGahee rushed for 1,247 yards last season, his second consecutive year over the 1,000-yard mark. What's wrong with that? Yeah, the Bills should've drafted Johnson instead of McGahee, but McGahee certainly isn't a bust. He's a thousand-yard rusher. In my opinion, Tom Donahoe, the guy who drafted McGahee, has been unfairly criticized for making that pick.

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Why do you print follow-up questions that don't teach us anything? Who cares who is singing in Philly? Is this your column or a fan's column?

Vic: Make no mistake about it, this is my column.

Matt from (Currently in Iraq) Orange Park, FL:
"Sandbox" is a general term for all desert locations of U.S. troops. For the most part, the citizens in Qatar aren't bad. It's the ones in Iraq you have to worry about. Vic, when is the last day that I could buy season tickets for this season?

Vic: Thanks for the explanation. I think the practical deadline for purchasing season tickets is the day the sale of single-game tickets begins. At that point, the premium games will sell out quickly and you won't be able to buy a season's worth of tickets. By the way, isn't it a long drive from Iraq to Alltel Stadium?

Jason from Abilene, TX:
So what did your wife say about the magazines?

Vic: She really didn't give me a satisfactory answer. I asked her the question and she just stared at me for awhile, then she said, "Does it really matter?" I guess she's OK with it.

Chris from Ormond Beach, FL:
Will the mini-camps May 12-14 be open to the public?

Vic: It's been open to the public on Saturday the last two years. More information will be forthcoming.

Frank from Oviedo, FL:
You mentioned that the 3-4 was "economically advantageous" yesterday. What would be the equivalent system on offense?

Vic: Run the ball. Once you start throwing it around and turning wide receivers into stars, you're gonna pay big-time.

Tommy from Fruit Cove, FL:
All this talk about those rowdy, Yank-talking Philly fans makes me wanna buy a ticket and wear my teal with pride. The only thing better than beating the Eagles would be teaching some of their tiny-brained fans how to brawl after they start stuff.

Vic: Yeah, that's nice, but how are you going to get a ticket? Those Yank-talking teams are sold out. Those people leave season tickets in their wills. Philadelphia was once the headquarters of the league. There's no more esteemed or established city and fan base in the league.

Josh from Jacksonville:
If you magically awakened in another team's draft room (say, for instance, the Colts'), would you reveal their draft board or keep it a secret as you would the Jaguars'. I don't see sportswriters as being on the same level as paparazzi, but that would get you a lot of publicity and that's what reporters' goal is, right?

Vic: That's not this reporter's goal and, frankly, I don't know any sportswriters whose goal is publicity. You have a low opinion of sportswriters, which is OK because everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I can assure you that I am not a draft board thief. I don't care whose draft board I saw, I would not reveal its information. We're not spies, we're reporters. There's a difference. Teams spend millions of dollars in acquiring the information that allows them to assemble their boards. The confidentiality of those boards deserves to be respected.

Woody from Jacksonville:
What linebacker will be left on the board for the Jags?

Vic: I expect DeMeco Ryans, Thomas Howard and Bobby Carpenter to be available.

Cody from Southaven, MS:
I haven't seen you answer a Matt Jones question for at least a few days, so, my question is: How is his and the other WR's offseason training so far? Do you feel they are doing the work necessary to step up for 2006?

Vic: They just started on Monday.

Pete from Connecticut:
What are your thoughts on Reggie Williams?

Vic: Reggie Williams was drafted to be a star receiver. He was drafted with lofty expectations and I think those expectations should be lowered a bit and his role should be made more specific. I think it's time to focus on what Williams does well. In my opinion, he's a gutsy guy who'll catch the ball in traffic, therefore, I'd like to see him become the Jaguars' inside receiver. Give him the dirty work. Let him run the slants and curls. Get him out of space and into tight quarters. I think he's at his best in tight quarters. I think he can be the guy who makes the tough, third-down catches.

Brian from Jacksonville:
Ah, the value board. I painted the "war room" one April a few years ago with my best friend Pete (a front row season ticket holder from day one). We were told not to touch the curtain covering the draft board whatsoever. Pete, being a pro, did move the curtain three inches to cut in against the board. The nice ladies in the adjacent room heard the sound of the curtain moving and promptly called security. Next thing, we were apologizing to the directors of security, facilities, etc. Happily, we were absolved of misconduct and continued to paint for our team when called upon. They take the draft very seriously and Pete and I will always have a (nervously) funny story to tell about it.

Vic: I wasn't kidding when I talked about how sensitive that information is.

Adam from Jacksonville:
With all the linebackers in this draft, what happened to A.J. Nicholson? The talk in Tallahassee was that he was better than Ernie Sims. Did his off-the-field problems before the Orange Bowl drop his stock that bad?

Vic: They didn't help.

Max from Hugo, CO:
Why are 4-3 defensive line rejects suitable for the 3-4?

Vic: Defensive linemen in a 4-3 are expected to be pass-rushers. Defensive linemen in a 3-4 are largely two-gappers, which is to say run-stuffers. In short, 3-4 defensive linemen are expected to do the grunt work; the linebackers do the pass-rushing. A tough, hold-the-point defensive lineman is just fine for a 3-4. He doesn't have to have up-the-field athletic ability. All he has to be is physical.

Corey from Jacksonville:
I want season tickets but only if the kicking game is improved, the WR position has improved, left tackle has improved and DE has improved, not to mention I want them to make it past the first round of the playoffs. Should I make my purchase or not?

Vic: I hope you're being sarcastic.

Nick from Bradenton, FL:
Why is no one talking about Omar Jacobs from Bowling Green? In his junior year, he posted 40 touchdown passes and four interceptions, the best ratio ever in college football. I don't get it.

Vic: Jacobs is really raw. He'll be a late-round pick and he could turn out to be one of the steals of the draft because he's a great talent, but he's nowhere near ready for pro football. He needed another year in school. I don't think he should've come out.

Lane from Orlando, FL:
Each year you do a good job of identifying specific things the Jaguars need to do in order to be successful. I believe one of the keys last year was getting the opposing team's offense off the field on third down. What do you think the Jags need to do better in 2006 in order to be more successful?

Vic: The Jaguars need to uncover a new star player on offense. Jimmy Smith and Fred Taylor have been carrying this team for too many years. It's time somebody else steps up and says this is the new face of Jaguars football.

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