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Not with my money

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

Steve from Clayton, GA:
I can't remember the last time there was so much dispute between the top 10 and even top 20 people in the draft. I have looked at about 20 mock drafts and other than the number one pick, they all have something different. Do you think this draft will have more drama than last year? Who is your surprise pick?

Vic: This draft, in fact, may provide more suspense and surprise than those of the recent past. As I said in my column, there is such a divergence of opinion on players that we may find that guys we thought wouldn't be available will, in fact, be available. Saturday could be a very entertaining day. As far as a surprise pick, it would be Jason Campbell, if the Redskins take him at 25. I am stunned by the Washington-Denver trade. If the Redskins take Campbell and install him this year as their quarterback, the Redskins might have the worst record in the league, which would give Denver the first pick of next year's draft, which would allow the Broncos to draft Matt Leinart. How's that for a little twist of fate?

Shon from San Antonio, TX:
What's your opinion of the Houston/Oakland trade? Was it second and third-round picks for Buchanon?

Vic: I'm lost on this one, too. Why would the Texans trade second and third-round picks for a guy who has been judged to be a bust? I'm especially puzzled by the trade because the Texans would seem to be positioned to possibly get one of the top three corners in this draft. Even if they didn't, this is a deep crop of corners that will offer solid prospects in the rounds the Texans traded away. Is there any chance the Texans are pushing panic buttons to become a playoff contender in year four?

Will from Jacksonville:
Why are we not putting enough emphasis on having a stronger offensive line to protect a quarterback who needs protecting? What would you do to stiffen up the line?

Vic: There's only two practical places to acquire talent: in free agency and in the draft. The crop of free-agent linemen, however, was garbage, and this is said to be a three-tackle draft. I have no doubt Oklahoma tackle Jammal Brown is high on the Jaguars' draft board, but Brown is high on a lot of boards and probably won't be available when the Jaguars pick. You can't manufacture players. Sometimes you gotta play with what you got. As Chuck Noll used to say, "Help is not on the way."

Jordan from Syosset, NY:
This is concerning the Jarrod from Jacksonville question: How could you say something like, "In his eighth year, if Fred hasn't had by now what you consider to be a break-out year, it ain't gonna happen." Well, Vic, my man, what about Curtis Martin last year? Was that not a break-out season or what?

Vic: Well, Jordan, my man, Curtis Martin has now had 10 consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He rushed for 1,513 yards, 10 touchdowns and a 4.5 yards-per-carry average in 2001. He caught 70 passes for 508 yards and two touchdowns in 2000. Martin has rushed for 12,058 yards and has caught passes for 3,211 yards in his unbelievably consistent career. When you post those kinds of numbers, you don't all of a sudden break into people's consciousness because you rushed for a few yards more. The guy has been over 1,400 yards rushing four times in his career. If you're just finding out about Martin, then you missed a lot of great football. What he did last year was merely an extension of what he has been doing since 1995. I would be much more inclined to say Martin's rookie season, when he rushed for 1,487 yards and 14 touchdowns as a third-round pick, was his break-out year.

Toan from Jacksonville:
I saw a commercial on the NFL network with Jack Del Rio saying he aced the Wonderlic test. Is this true and what does the test truly measure?

Vic: Jack Del Rio scored a 31 on the Wonderlic test. That's an impressive score. The Wonderlic is a common-sense aptitude test that reveals cognitive skills, personality traits, reliability, etc. For example, what thing doesn't fit? Football, coach, sportswriters, love. The correct answer is sportswriters.

Muhammad from Philadelphia, PA:
Of the players who could possibly be available to the Jags, who do you think would have an immediate impact? I think either Heath Miller or Mark Clayton would be the best bet.

Vic: In my opinion, Mark Clayton would make an immediate impact in several ways. He's considered to be a polished wide receiver, so I would expect him to become an immediate pass-catching threat. Clayton is also a lights-out return man and the Jaguars have a desperate need for someone like that. All I've heard for a month is moaning and groaning about the Jaguars not having addressed offense in free agency. Well, Clayton would be a major addition on offense and on special teams. He would put points on the board. The question is, will he be available to the Jaguars? That's very iffy. Heath Miller will probably be available. He's a top tight end; a true pass-catching tight end. I suspect he would provide immediate impact, but I'm not ready to give up on George Wrighster. I think Wrighster has distinct potential as a pass-catcher. The thing that really bothers me about Miller is his sports hernia. It sidelined Kendrell Bell all last season and it kept Miller from working out at the combine. Do we really have enough information on him?

Billy from Jacksonville:
Is the Redskins' salary cap going to be like the Titans?

Vic: The Redskins are tight against the cap and they have almost nowhere to turn to find room. They are at the end of the line, but it's a little different situation than the Titans' because the Redskins haven't enjoyed the success the Titans have. As a result, the Redskins don't have as many veteran star players whose contracts have been re-structured, which means the Redskins have less money pushed into the long-term future than the Titans have. The Redskins could probably recover more quickly than the Titans if the Redskins began the recovery process now, but that's not what they're going to do. In fact, they're doing just the opposite. All indications are they are going to make matters worse before they accept their ultimate fate. You could say Tennessee's run of success was worth the damage it created, but Washington may be creating a lot of damage for no reason.

Gene from Jacksonville:
What did the Jaguars give to receive the second-round pick they used to acquire Greg Jones in 2004?

Vic: The Jaguars traded their two third-round picks (seventh and ninth) to Green Bay for the Packers' second and third-round (23rd) picks. Green Bay selected Montana State defensive back Joey Thomas and Clemson defensive tackle Donnell Washington. Jacksonville picked Jones and Jorge Cordova.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
Regarding the mock draft you all had on the radio, would you really take Mark Clayton over Derrick Johnson or Dan Cody?

Vic: You're missing the point of a mock draft. It's not about who we would pick, it's about who we think the teams are going to pick. When we do the mock, we rely on others for information. We spent two days putting that mock together. At one point, the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars sat with us in the radio studio and offered his opinions, though he offered no information on the team picking at 21. I think Dan Cody is a wonderful player. He could turn out to be one of the stars of this draft, but his bout with a depression problem a few years ago is said to be scaring teams off. You remember Dimitrius Underwood, don't you? Derrick Johnson is said to be falling because he lacks toughness. Maybe that's all smokescreen stuff meant to protect Johnson's availability for a team that has him targeted. We'll see. But don't think we just write names on the board without doing our homework. I don't pretend to think our mock draft is an accurate portrayal of what will happen on Saturday, but I am absolutely certain it's an accurate portrayal of the rumor mill three days before the draft.

Evan from Los Angeles, CA:
Loved your mock draft. I, like many others, am intrigued by the potential of Matt Jones. However, I would be hesitant about taking on this type of project with my first-round pick. Could it be that people are mesmerized by his physical talents and are seeing potential and a future for this player that may not exist?

Vic: That's the big question, and some team may spend a first-round pick and a sizeable signing bonus to get the answer. I would not select Matt Jones in the first round. My conservative nature regarding high-round draft picks forbids me from trying to catch lightning in a bottle with a guy I would be projecting at a position I have never seen him play in a true game situation. A more courageous drafter, however, will jump at this kid. Jones is a sensational athlete. In fact, the more I see of him the more intrigued I become. I think he's going to really appeal to a team that is coming off a home-run draft year, which gives them a bit of a pass to do something a little risky. Do I think he's worth the risk? Yes, just not with my money.

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