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NFL just keeps getting better

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

Shon from San Antonio, TX:
Can you enlighten us on some of these undrafted free agents the Jaguars signed?

Vic: The two tackles, Kevin Haslam of Rutgers and Daniel Baldridge of Marshall, are preferred guys. LB Kyle Bosworth of UCLA is a nice signing. C John Estes of Hawaii will have a real shot to make the team. The Jaguars are big on undrafted guys, so they dug a little deeper money-wise to get these guys. The one that seems to be most intriguing, if I'm reading the reactions correctly, is QB Trevor Harris of Edinboro. He's a guy with size, mobility, athletic ability and a live arm. It's his demeanor, however, that made him a big hit during a pre-draft visit. He let it be known he wanted to play here. A scout told me he has "it."

Safa from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The Jags' first two picks are much shorter and lighter than Stroud and Henderson. Is this a change in defensive philosophy to have lighter, more athletic defensive linemen?

Vic: There seems to be a preference currently for shorter defensive tackles, because shorter guys can more naturally play with leverage than taller guys. These things run in cycles.

Anthony from Jacksonville:
The whole "Gene starts his day at four a.m." is old by now. Speaking of him, how far in the future do we wait to grade him?

Vic: Why wait? Give me a grade on last year's draft class.

Mike from Jacksonville:
Gene Smith stated that the Jags had no offers for the 10th pick and the phone wasn't ringing. On the 49ers website, the 49ers GM is quoted as saying: "We had gone into the draft thinking we would go as high as 10. We started making calls at 10 when the player was available. Jacksonville was at 10. They didn't want to make the trade. They had a guy targeted, which I felt good about because they drafted two offensive tackles a year ago. So, once they said they had a player they had targeted, I was pretty comfortable we could move up to 11 and still get the player." Is the 49ers' GM lying?

Vic: It's hard to say because these guys lie to each other so shamelessly that it would be impossible to know what the truth is. They would tell a guy his house is on fire if they thought it would help sweeten the deal for them. I can tell you the Jaguars wanted to trade down. I'm sure of that. I can also tell you that at some point they became worried that Miami was going to pick Tyson Alualu at 12 if the Jags didn't pick him at 10. I'm sure of that, too. Somewhere in between those two thoughts is the truth.

Charlie from Jacksonville:
I was curious as to what you thought of the new prime-time draft format? I know the ratings were higher but, from a reporter's perspective, did you like it compared to the old Saturday/Sunday format?

Vic: I love the new format. I never felt as though the draft was dragging on and I was hanging on. The old way was a marathon. They were two days separated by a few hours of sleep. I'd get home at two in the morning, I'd be too wound up to fall asleep until four in the morning, then I'd get up a few hours later and head back to work. I love the draft too much for it to be drudgery. This new way made it fun. It gave us the drama of round one, allowed us 24 hours to rest, digest what had happened and start the drama all over again for rounds two and three. For the start of day three, I was still fresh. I still wanted more draft. The new format is perfect. The NFL just keeps getting better.

Doug from Jacksonville:
I pledge my allegiance to pro football. I pledge my allegiance to be entertained by the top one percent of athletes that play this game. I am a season ticket holder and will remain one as long as they are in town. Since it's become us vs. them, because that's what they wanted, I promise to boycott everything Gainesville.

Vic: That sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Oh, well, if that's the way it has to be, then that's the way it has to be.

Mark from Tallahassee, FL:
Can you see this vision by the end of the 2010 season? A sold out stadium, a winning record, Hawaiian teal shirts all over the place, the smell of roasted pig in the place of hot dogs and burgers as the "true" Jag fans tailgate before and after the game, teal leis handed around the necks of everyone awaiting our 2011 pick for a QB to complete the team. We are in, sir. Everyone that is not in can move to Denver. It's time to be a professional football-only city.

Vic: Let's just focus on the first thing: a sold out stadium.

Nick from London, England:
I've spent 20 years watching this great sport from the UK without ever feeling the need to become a fan of a team. A year ago, I discovered "Ask Vic" and have enjoyed it every day since. Even last season, although I read "Ask Vic" every day, I wasn't that bothered whether the Jaguars won or lost, but something has happened in the last few weeks and I don't know why. I'll join you, Vic, and to prove that I've joined you, I'm going to book a trip to Jacksonville for the Broncos game. Tick off two more tickets on the fuel tank for that game.

Vic: We'll lift a glass of red wine together.

Matt from Jacksonville:
I'm with you. Gave up my FSU tickets and picked up an extra Jags ticket in support, plus, there's a good chance I'll see Christian Ponder in black and teal.

Vic: I wish I could agree with you on Ponder, but I have a feeling he'll be long gone when the Jaguars pick. As I said early last season, Ponder's the guy. That's my idea of a pro-style quarterback.

Andrew from Orange Park, FL:
When Groves was moved, it was contingent upon passing a physical. In the draft, Gene made a trade for Kirk Morrison. Doesn't Morrison have to pass a physical first before the trade is official?

Vic: In on-the-clock trades, there are usually conditions in the trade agreement that would return a same-round draft pick in next year's draft to the team that got the player, if he fails the physical. Knowing that, the trading team isn't likely to dump a guy on a team it knows has an injury problem.

Shaun from Jacksonville:
What's the deal with the Jaguars always picking guys from no-name colleges? Yeah, they look great on film because they're not playing against any talent. Your thoughts?

Vic: Are Derrick Harvey and Reggie Nelson from a no-name college?

John from Jacksonville:
I'm disheartened by the turn your column has taken over the last couple of days. Instead of objectively discussing the Jags' draft class, you've resorted to this somewhat childish with us or against us thing, which makes it sound as if anyone who questions any choices Gene makes is somehow not a real Jaguars fan. You seem to be anointing this draft class as great without addressing some critical questions, such as why Gene has such an affinity for small-college players.

Vic: I'll ask him, but I assume the answer to that question is that you find football players where you find football players. Once upon a time, I was like you. I didn't understand why a team would draft a player from a small college when they could draft a player from Notre Dame. Fortunately, I was able to watch a master at work. I watched a man build arguably the greatest dynasty in football history by drafting players from colleges of all sizes. He drafted Jack Ham from Penn State and Joe Greene from North Texas State; Franco Harris from Penn State and Mel Blount from Southern; Lynn Swann from USC and John Stallworth from Alabama A&M; Mike Webster from Wisconsin and Terry Bradshaw from Louisiana Tech. What I came to realize is that you find football players where you find football players, and that only a fool would allow his prejudices to color his draft board. You find football players at Virginia and Arizona, and you find them at William and Mary and Temple, too. Look at the Jaguars' all-time team: Jimmy Smith is from Jackson State, Keenan McCardell is from UNLV, Paul Spicer is from Saginaw Valley State, Rashean Mathis is from Bethune Cookman and Brad Meester is from Northern Iowa. That's kind of like a Gators out-of-conference schedule, huh? I remember when there was outrage that the Jaguars drafted Mathis instead of Taylor Jacobs, simply because Jacobs starred at Florida. This bias against small-college players is nonsensical and, frankly, offensive.

Ben from Cape Coral, FL:
In response to the statement in yesterday's "Ask Vic" about next year being the year the Jags draft a quarterback, who are some of the QB prospects you will be keeping an eye on this upcoming season? What do you think of Christian Ponder and Terrelle Pryor?

Vic: Ponder is the classic pro prospect; Pryor, in my opinion, is the classic college-only quarterback. He has a couple of years left to develop his skills, but they appear to be better-suited for the college game than they will be for the pro game. In addition to Ponder, all eyes will also be on quarterbacks such as Jake Locker of Washington, Ryan Mallett of Arkansas, Andrew Luck of Stanford, Pat Devlin of Delaware (where are the people who mocked me a year ago when Devlin was in the act of transferring and I suggested he would be a top prospect?), Case Keenum of Houston, Andy Dalton of TCU, Nathan Enderle of Idaho and more. There could be as many as 22 legit quarterback prospects in next year's draft.

Cory from New York, NY:
With the Jaguars emphasis on the defensive line, is this Derrick Harvey's last chance this year?

Vic: I can't answer that, but I can tell you the competition along the defensive line has been greatly increased. I think you know the rest.

Thomas from Jacksonville:
Vic, you got it all wrong. We wanted Tebow because we want the Jags to stay. Please, do me a favor and tell Alualu not to purchase a home in Jacksonville; he will be back in California real soon.

Vic: I rest my case.

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