Never say never in the draft

Let's get to it . . . James from Charlottesville, VA and Section 107:
Here's a thought. Instead of having the fans beg for ownership to make a splash, we have the fans worry about buying the tickets and let the ownership build a winning team. Or can you not have both?
John: You can have both. To be fair to the Jaguars' fans, though, the team has made two playoff appearances since 1999 and hasn't made one since 2007. The team also went 5-11 last season after going 8-8 the season before that. The team is going in the right direction, and you have to look beyond record to see it, but no one around the Jaguars will tell you they're surprised that fans want a splash and immediate results. And they wouldn't tell you they're surprised that tickets are a tougher sell than they could be. Struggling on the field leads to that. The Jaguars are being prudent and building the right way, and in the end, doing that will yield the desired results. What that means is being strong enough and smart enough and patient enough to avoid the big splash for the big splash's sake. It's not easy and it's not always popular, but the right thing to do isn't always either of those.
Steve from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The Jags were declared DOA (cause of death, drowning) after the 1999 season through 2011. That is 12 years. It is the worst case of suicide in recorded history. I do not think the Jags really understand how beat down the fans are. We are desperate for some solid evidence that we should have HOPE. Re-signing free agents from a 5-11 team is not it. I have watched during the whole free-agent signing period and I believe there were at least one wide receiver and defensive end that that could have helped this team. I was a season-ticket holder, but threw in the towel after the 2007 season. Call it splash? I call it HOPE! I do not see how anybody can expect the fans to not be longing for the obtaining of some players that can give the fans something to cheer about. No question. Just venting.
John: No problem. Believe it or not, I didn't read this question until answering the first, so the answer remains – yes. The team gets it. The team is not dim. The team knows hope is needed. The team also knows you have to be smart and build the right way. There are teams that pursue splashes and off-season excitement every year. Those teams typically remain at the bottom of the standings. The argument to that point is, 'Well, the Jaguars do, too." To a degree, yes, but you simply can't do things the wrong way just because it might be popular. Doing that is a recipe for staying 5-11.
Mark from Stuarts Draft, VA:
Marc Sessler just posted an article on NFL.COM about all the quarterbacks drafted in the first round for the last 10 years. Can you guess who was left off the list? Why Blaine Gabbert, of course. They at least had Byron Leftwich on there. I think we ought to change the team name to the Rodney Dangerfields. We get no respect, no respect at all.
John: Respect is earned on the field – and it will be earned. In time.
Miles from St. Augustine, FL:
I just watched the recent interviews. I'm a little surprised that they interviewed the "backup" quarterback over our starter. Could this be a prelude to changes? Even after speaking as if he [Henne] knew he would be a backup he still gave hints that he may in fact be the go-to guy.
John: The videos were from press conferences this past week. Blaine Gabbert was interviewed in similar fashion earlier this month. I don't know what the future holds at the position, but the video on the web site was a prelude to nothing. As for what Henne said during the press conference, he's a quarterback who is used to competing for a starting job. What I heard Henne saying was simply exactly what I would expect a quarterback competing for a job to say.
Brian Billick. What say you, Mr. O.:
Chuck from Jacksonville "Need is a terrible talent evaluator" –
John: Brian Billick says a lot of things. Some make sense and some don't. On this topic, he couldn't be more right.
Roger from Jacksonville:
I understand the BAP method, but I feel that if a WR and DE were top on our boards in the first round, it would be better that we go with the WR. Here's my reasoning: our defense has been significantly enhanced in recent years and played at a high level last year. Even without a premier DE, we were still very good. I understand that a solid DE would likely take us to "great" status but I think we'll still be good regardless. On the other hand, we literally had the worst passing attack in the league. Not to mention, a developing QB that we hope to build our franchise around. We didn't do much in free agency to upgrade our receiving corps; without big-time improvements in our passing game, success will be hard to come by. However, I think we could still be competitive with the defense we have.
John: You understand the BAP method, but you're preaching need-based, quick-fix drafting. If you're trying to fill a need for next season, then you do exactly what you're talking about. The risk there is that it goes away from the best way to ensure you have the best players for the long term. You must use every draft pick on the player you feel has the best chance of long-term success. Over time, that increases your odds of having good players who can contribute on the roster. You do that within the framework of making decisions that make sense for your team, but if you honestly believe one player available to you has a very high percentage chance of being a solid core player and you have significant doubts the other player can do the same, you're obligated to take the player with the high percentage chance no matter what the short-term need.
Alex from Austin, TX:
I read an article about the Jaguars looking into trading up with Cleveland to grab Morris Claiborne. To your knowledge, is there truly any interest in trading up for him?
John: Never say never in the draft, but I'd be surprised if that happened.
Steven from Lakeland, FL:
Would Mark Barron (S) from Alabama be a viable selection at the No. 7 spot or do you think that would be an overreach? You have to admit the safety position was filled by committee last season and nobody stepped up to be the legitimate starter. Improving at safety would take some pressure off the corners and likely improve their play. What do you think?
John: Yes, Barron would be an overreach, and I certainly don't have to admit the safety position was filled by committee last season. Dawan Landry started every game last season and Dwight Lowery emerged as a starter at the other safety. Lowery played well enough that the Jaguars re-signed him to a long-term contract. Very few consider safety a need right now, certainly not a starting safety.
Mark from Jacksonville:
Janoris Jenkins converts to Mormanism, marries the three women he has children with and becomes the ideal 'Norman Rockwell' family man. Will the Jaguars consider putting him on their draft board?
John: Not in the next 11 days.
Bryce from Algona, IA:
Self-righteous? I think someone hit a nerve there, John. The point of your readers' emails is, as I see it, this: Yes, going to a nightclub past midnight is legal, but so is cheating on your wife. Does the legality of it make it any more acceptable?
John: You're comparing going to a nightclub to cheating on your wife. Think about that a moment. Going to a nightclub after midnight is not only legal, it's not something that you have to hide from people you know. Knighton went to a club. Something bad happened. I don't know that it was as much a case of a nerve being hit as a long-standing belief that people judge athletes way too harshly in situations like this. There has been an undertone for the last week that Knighton is somehow a bad kid. I've covered bad kids. I've covered guys I wouldn't want around by child. I've covered guys I wouldn't want to spend time with outside the locker room. I've covered guys I don't like seeing in the hallway. I've covered guys I thought were bad guys to have around a team. Knighton isn't one of those guys.
Ed from Annapolis, MD:
Reading the debate about the Jaguars selecting Cox with the seventh pick, I thought of another reason Jaguars fan should be alright with the pick if he is the BAP. Although we have two very good DT in Knighton and Alualu, Knighton is in the last year of his contract. No matter how much I would like to see him back in a Jaguars uniform, there are no guarantees in free agency. In the off-chance that Knighton does not return, the Jaguars would not be forced to scavenge free agency or reach in the draft to fill a big hole if Cox was the selection. So if he is the BAP at 7, I am all for it.
John: If he's the best available player at No. 7 – if he truly, truly is – then it will be the best selection. And if it is, that will be proven over time no matter the short-term debate.
Radley from Orange Park, FL:
I know that the Sanchez/Tebow scenario isn't an ideal for a QB to reside in, but what do you make of Big Ben and his public proclaimed 'empathy' for Sanchez? Logic would say that the better QB shouldn't have a worry in the world, because that should be evident, right?
John: I'm not sure logic has much to do with the Tebow story.

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