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Pick-by-pick grades

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

Kelvin from Warwick, UK:
While I think Reggie Williams will catch plenty of TD passes from Leftwich, I can't believe trading up for Roy Williams wasn't attempted. What would going from ninth to seventh have cost us and do you really think this would have been the equivalent of giving our draft away, as Del Rio thought? I'm sure Roy Williams would have been worth the loss of an extra first-day pick.

Vic: Once Roy Williams fell to the sixth spot, which was Detroit's original draft position, it was impossible for the Jaguars to trade up for the purpose of drafting Williams. The reason is that Detroit had Williams as the number one player on its board and the Lions were bound and determined to draft him. Trading down a spot was just a means of picking up an extra pick (Cleveland's second-rounder) and still getting Williams a pick later. But Detroit was not going to trade with anyone who would use that pick to take Williams, or trade behind someone who might have drafted Williams. For the Jaguars to have drafted Williams, they would have had to trade into the top five picks, and that would've cost them their whole first-day draft for one player. These are the things that are impossible to know until after the draft. Who would've thought the Lions were focused on a wide receiver, a year after drafting a wide receiver with the second pick of that draft?

Jerry from Jacksonville:
After you've seen who the Jaguars have selected in the draft, what positions do you see that Jacksonville needs to patch up with bargain free agents?

Vic: The kicking situation is still up in the air. We don't know if any of these guys are going to be the answer, so, it's possible the Jaguars will have to address it again at a later date. The situation at defensive end can't be described as needing a patch. It needs major attention, but that can't happen until next offseason. For this season, the Jaguars are going to have to manufacture a pass-rush in whatever way possible. That begins with getting Hugh Douglas in shape and re-dedicated. Otherwise, I don't see a lot of areas that require patching. This team has addressed its need at cornerback by bringing in a lot of prospects. They've done the same at linebacker, and the Jaguars sure don't need another safety. They had a distinct need for a third defensive tackle, but Jack Del Rio firmly believes the selection of Anthony Maddox addressed that need. Two years after having their roster decimated by the salary cap, the Jaguars appear to have quality and depth at most positions. I'm impressed.

Patrick from Morgantown, WV:
We did the polls, now it's your turn. Grade the individual picks and give your overall grade.

Vic: That's fair enough. OK, here we go: Reggie Williams, B – I'd give it an A if the Jaguars could've traded down, picked up an extra pick and still gotten Williams; Daryl Smith, A – If he's the middle linebacker we think he is, he'd allow Mike Peterson to move back to weakside and Akin Ayodele to move back to strongside, and that might make the Jags better at all three positions; Greg Jones, A – The Jaguars were one of the worst short-yardage teams in the league last season (Fred Taylor converted eight of 13 third-and-one attempts). That'll change with Jones; Jorge Cordova, B – I love the upside of this pick, but it's a little "reachy" to give it an A; Anthony Maddox, B – Great upside with this pick, too, but I have to believe it's going to take a kid from Delta State a little time to establish himself in the NFL; Ernest Wilford, A – He's a poor man's version of Reggie Williams in the fourth round; Josh Scobee, C – I don't like kickers or punters before the sixth round; Chris Thompson, B – Awfully strong cover-corner ability this late in the draft; Sean Bubin, A – Big guys late in the draft almost always return great value; Bobby McCray, B – Value and need meet with a compensatory pick. As I wrote yesterday, my overall grade for this draft is a high-end B.

Doug from Jacksonville:
We traded a CB and picked a CB with the pick. We traded a WR and picked a WR with the pick. In your opinion, did we gain or lose on each of the trades and why?

Vic: You've asked a very intriguing question and I'm going to remember it every time I evaluate whether a team got full value for the player they traded. My answer is that the Jaguars got players with greater upsides than the players they traded, and at a salary cap reduction. But I can't honestly say Chris Thompson and Ernest Wilford will be better players than Jason Craft and Kevin Johnson. We'll have to wait on that one.

Calvin from Jacksonville:
How do you think the Titans did in the draft?

Vic: I really respect the way the Titans have drafted over the past several years. Their drafting acumen and their patience in developing the players they've drafted has been the formula that has kept the Titans on top. So, we begin with this: They know a lot more about what makes for a successful draft than I do. But I have a column that allows me to give my opinion and, frankly, I'm not impressed with what the Titans did this year. I was stunned when they traded away their first-round pick. How does it make them a better team not to have a first-round pick, especially when they're about to cut Eddie George and Kevin Jones was available to them? The Titans went hard for need, drafting defensive linemen with four of their first six picks. I don't like that kind of panic drafting. Ben Troupe is a quality selection early in the second round, and the Titans had a lot of picks, which will help them reconstruct their roster. But I think they really missed the boat on a running back; Kevin Jones late in the first round, and then Greg Jones in the second round.

Ed from Jacksonville:
Chris Mortensen mentioned several times on ESPN that the Ravens were interested in trading for Jimmy Smith. Wouldn't that be virtually impossible from a cap standpoint, with all of Jimmy's remaining amortization hitting the Jags cap in 2004?

Vic: Jimmy Smith's remaining amortization is about $7 million, all of which would accelerate onto the Jaguars' salary cap if he was traded. His cap hit in 2004 is $6.5 million, so you're only talking about a $500,000 cap loss. The possibility also existed the Jaguars might trade Donovin Darius, which would've brought the Jaguars $4.1 million in cap relief in the form of Darius' extinguished salary.

William from Jacksonville:
We've seen the new regime at work through most of two free-agency periods and two drafts. I'm starting to think these guys are good. They look at value for all moves. They stockpile players for competition at positions. They profess the importance of run the ball and stop the run. Then they back it up by drafting two big receivers that can catch, block and, hopefully, run, along with a big running back and another big defensive tackle. I know you're loving this grown up football stuff. Can we safely say now the new regime is building a cold-weather team in a warm-weather locale?

Vic: You've made an excellent observation. It's how you win in this league. You have to be able to go to New England in January, for example, and play cold-weather football. For that matter, that's how the Titans beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville, so, maybe it has nothing to do with weather and everything to do with how championship teams play.

Andrew from Ft Lauderdale, FL:
How could the Colts possibly draft so badly? After signing Manning to that idiotic contract, why didn't they realize they would have to build their defense with draft picks since they can't afford much else? Also, why wouldn't losing in the AFC championship game to the Patriots tell them anything about their defense, like maybe they need new corners, or to replace the ones they just lost in free agency? I would say they've easily had the worst offseason in the NFL (unless you want to count Peyton Manning's contract a good thing). Do you think this might secure the Jags a position in the playoffs?

Vic: In my opinion, the Jaguars should be an AFC South title contender this year.

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