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Morgan a definite prospect

Join Senior Writer Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Scott Walden from Columbus, OH:
I remember hearing some grumbling through the press that Smith and McCardell were unhappy with their current contract situations. Is all well there? Also, what do you think of bringing back Willie Jackson as a possession guy, assuming he would play for the minimum and we have the minimum to give him?

Vic: I, too, had heard reports of grumbling. Recently, I asked Keenan McCardell point-blank about rumors that he was dissatisfied with his re-structured contract, and he offered no complaints. As far as Willie Jackson is concerned: It's time to move forward, and this year's crop of wide receivers in the draft is very deep. I believe the Jaguars need to focus on developing young players for the future.

Seamus Mehigan from Maynard, MA:
I've been looking into a few of the different mock drafts on the web and haven't held that high of an opinion of any of them, based on what they've said the Jaguars might do with their first-round pick. However, I did notice on a couple of player-ranking charts that Dan Morgan was 13th or lower. If he is available and the big-name offensive and defensive linemen are gone, will the team be interested?

Vic: The Jaguars will be interested in Dan Morgan, regardless of who's available. If the linemen they want are gone and Morgan is available, the Jaguars almost certainly would select Morgan.

Mike Anderson from Jacksonville:
How do you see the Jags dealing with Fred Taylor's contract issue next year, and do you really think we need Mark Brunell? Just look at what happened last year without Fred. We didn't move the ball. The Jags became a one-dimensional team and Brunell didn't get the job done. When Fred came back, he ran for almost 1,400 yards and we almost salvaged the year. Your thoughts?


Vic: Taylor is under contract for three more seasons, including 2001. The Jaguars are not obligated to do anything about his contract, but they are likely to work with Taylor on a new deal because they understand his importance to the team's success and also because the Jaguars' current salary cap would benefit from some long-term creative structuring. As far as Brunell is concerned, my opinion is that not keeping him would've committed the Jaguars to a radical rebuilding period. The cap has decimated this team to the point that I can't say for sure the Jaguars will win with Brunell, but I'm certain they would lose without him. That was the decision that had to be made: Keep him and try to make the playoffs, or let him go and begin the rebuilding process. By the way, do you think Taylor would've rushed for almost 1,400 yards if the Jaguars hadn't had a passing attack? It works both ways.

Scott Henry from Jacksonville:
It's my understanding Kevin Hardy was the only player who opted to not re-structure his contract. Do you think that was a wise move on Hardy's and his agent's part? The Jags could easily keep him for one year and then put a franchise label on him, then trade him to another team with less stature. I'm curious of your thoughts, since Hardy happened to be one of my favorite linebackers in the game and one of the best.

Vic: The Jaguars would not use the franchise label on Hardy. He and his agent know that, which gives them the leverage they need to force the Jaguars to negotiate a new contract, or allow Hardy to become an unrestricted free agent following next season. Hardy is at that point in his career that if he's going to get a truly big contract, it's going to have to be his next contract. That makes his performance this season, if he plays out the remaining year on his current contract, extremely important. With a season similar to the Pro-Bowl year he had in 1999, Hardy will become a major player in free agency next winter.

Ryan Mercier from Henderson, NV:
I think R. Jay Soward was a big disappointment. I might be too hard on him, but that's my opinion. I like Alvis Whitted, but he doesn't have the best hands. My question is: What round do you think the Jags should go after a wide receiver and what wide receiver do you like from the draft?

Vic: Based on the Jaguars' needs and the distribution of their draft picks, it's unlikely they'll select a wide receiver on the first day, unless he's someone they believe has slipped much lower than his talent would warrant. This is an extremely deep crop of wide receivers. The Jaguars' need is for a third wide receiver, and they should be able to find a bonafide candidate for that role in the sixth and seventh rounds, maybe even among the undrafted free agents. I'm attracted to some productive major college wide receivers who appear tabbed for the late rounds: Bobby Newcombe of Nebraska, who also returns punts; Latef Grim of Pitt, a not-big-enough, not-fast-enough wide receiver who was overshadowed last season by Antonio Bryant; Purdue's Vinny Sutherland, a Tim Dwight-type who caught 65 passes, ran the ball 10 times, returned 16 punts and 20 kickoffs last season.

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