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Phones, phones everywhere

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

Mario from Zapata, TX:
I have two questions that are fairly simple. First, how does a team contact undrafted rookies, and are the Jaguars games aired throughout the state of Florida?

Vic: They have their phone numbers; it's that simple. Part of the process is acquiring that kind of information. When prospects attend the scouting combine, they provide that information. The Jaguars personnel department makes sure they have the information they need to begin contacting undrafted players as soon as the draft ends. It's a very competitive market, largely because the draft is only seven rounds. History is loaded with examples of eighth, ninth, 10th-round picks, etc., who became star players. Keenan McCardell was an 11th-round pick. As far as games being "aired," the Jaguars Radio Network includes 12 radio stations in Florida and 15 overall. The preseason games are shown on television on Jacksonville, Orlando, Gainesville and Savannah, Ga., television stations.

Jay from Jacksonville:
This is a very silly draft-day question, but I must ask it, if for nothing else, to get a comedic response. How can the Jaguars accommodate the possibility of 31 other NFL teams contacting them about potential trades when the number nine pick is on the clock? To put it simply, does each team have a phone with 31 buttons? How prepared is the Jaguar staff for handling the incoming calls in such a scenario?

Vic: I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I don't think I have anything funny to say in answering your question, because what you're talking about isn't that silly. Phone communications is a major ordeal for the draft. The league provides its 32 teams with a list of phone numbers at which all of the other teams may be reached in their "war rooms." The phone numbers on that list include cell phones; anything that'll ring, and they ring plenty. But I don't think the total adds up to 31; unless you count the phone in the bathroom.

Gene from Keystone Heights, FL:
I was shocked to see Kevin Hardy with the lowest number of votes on your on-line poll about best Jaguar draft pick. I think that is totally unfair and unrealistic. Were you as surprised?

Vic: I wasn't surprised because, right away, you know Tony Boselli and Fred Taylor are going to dominate the voting. Kevin Hardy was a productive player for the Jaguars. I enjoyed interviewing him. He was always polite and accommodating. One of my enduring memories of Kevin is of him standing on crutches in the Jaguars locker room, after having undergone microfracture knee surgery late in the 2001 season. It was a major surgical procedure that put his football career in jeopardy. Kevin didn't dodge that issue as he spoke to reporters, and I couldn't help but smile when Kevin answered one question by saying life doesn't end with football. Kevin is a bright young man.

Jason from Gaithersburg, MD:
If by some magic power the NFL were to give you complete and total control of the game for five decisions – essentially five wishes you could make regarding the game – what would they be? Banning of yellow, furry mascots? Better press box food? Eliminating of roughing-the-passer penalties?

Vic: I've answered this question before, but that was awhile back and I'm older and more mellow, I'm sure, so, after achieving world peace, I'd like to see the game tackle these major issues: 1.) The proper balance between ticket-buying fans and stadium seating, so the game might be available on television to all fans incapable of buying a ticket. 2.) Protecting the integrity of the game and its players. Each has become over-marketed and over-commercialized. 3.) Simplification of the rules. Fans are having an increasingly difficult time understanding how the game is governed. Make the call and let's move on. Is it really important to know every minute detail? 4.) Promote the true charm of the game, which is its rugged, All-American quality. Professional football is for tough guys. There must always be a place for them in the game. 5.) Clean up the sideline. Now that the NFL has dealt with Janet Jackson, maybe it needs to take a look at itself.

Jake from Toronto, Canada:
I'm glad to hear you read every e-mail, just so I know I'm not typing comments for nothing. There's just one thing that's bugging me about the draft. If we're to take a DE, it seems there are two DEs who are more or less identically ranked. Neither one, however, is a legitimate top-10 pick. This means we could likely get them midway through round one. If we're to take one, I'd love to trade down and grab one of the two. Does this make sense to you?

Vic: Defensive end is the most over-drafted position in football. That's how important a pass-rush is to successful defense. So, even though you may not think the guys at that position are worthy of top-10 selection, you'll probably have to spend a top-10 pick to get one of them. Drafting pass-rushers is very, very risky, but try to win without one.

Matt from Orlando, FL:
I'd appreciate it if you could help settle an argument that my North-Floridian roommate and I are having. Being from Broward, I'm naturally a Dolphins fan. Do you think, considering salary cap and all, the Jaguars are in better shape than the Dolphins? I'm pretty sure our contracts aren't back-loaded and stuff. Also, do you think we'll finally be able to beat the Pats this year (I mean, assuming they're not lucky with the refs again)?

Vic: I got good news and bad news for you, Matt. The good news is your team leads the league in consecutive winning seasons; seven. That's a very impressive statistic and speaks well of the Dolphins operation. Now, here's the bad news: Your team's salary cap is a mess. It's got a major amount of pushed-out amortization that is starting to have a negative impact on personnel decisions. Do you really want me to answer the Patriots question?

Steve from Point Pleasant, WV:
I have a question regarding the eligibility of Clarett and Mike Williams. If the appeals court rules in favor of the NFL with a stay and then finds in favor of Clarett, the NFL said it would have a supplemental draft 10 days following that order. How would teams select in that supplemental draft? Is it the same draft order and they lose that round in the next year's NFL draft?

Vic: You got it. It would work the same way as the July supplemental draft. Any team wanting to draft Maurice Clarett or Mike Williams would send an e-mail to the league, designating in what round they would draft that player. Of course, a team would have to have a pick in that round in the 2005 NFL draft to be able to use that pick in the supplemental draft. After all of the e-mail selections are made, the league would decide which team submitted the highest claim, and that team would get the player and lose the corresponding pick in the '05 regular draft.

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