Let's get to it . . .
Matt from Jacksonville:
Can you justify not signing Mark Brunell? He may have one more year left in him. Why not sign him as the third quarterback and help mentor Gabbert? I see no reason not to.
John: I wouldn't have a problem with signing Brunell, but from a football standpoint, it might not fit what the team wants at quarterback. At his age, there's every chance he doesn't have a productive year remaining, and part of the areason the Jaguars signed Chad Henne was experience. The team also likes Dan LeFevour as a developmental option. Brunell had his time here, and aside from sentiment, there may not be much reason for a return.
Ross from Jacksonville:
An addition to the D-line would be a great move with the seventh pick. But the defense finished sixth last season, and Mel Tucker seems to be leading a fired-up group set on getting better. I think a wide receiver MUST be taken with our pick. Gene needs to make it known in the locker room that drastically improving our air game is life or death. We made that statement in free agency, and drafting a wide receiver (even if not the "best player on the board" at No. 7) would put an exclamation point on it.
John: What you say makes sense considering the frenzy of pre-draft buildup, when players are names on papers that fill needs and perform to expected levels. A front office's job is to watch tape and determine if a player can really perform at the expected level once the frenzy subsides. In other words, the draft isn't about exclamation points, but taking players that make you better. That player may be a wide receiver, and as I've said, I don't think the Jaguars will pass on Justin Blackmon, but you can't draft for fan excitement. People can and will get angry on draft day, but it's the front office's responsibility to see past reaction and try to improve the team.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Just got an aquarium. One of the fish, a rather odd-looking one, just lies at the bottom of the tank the whole day. I called him Oehser, it seemed to fit.
John: Sounds like a pretty good gig.
Ben from Jacksonville and proud of it:
Andy brought up a great point yesterday. This goes far beyond the respect issue we've all had with the media. They seem to be making more and more insulting and personal attacks on the city of Jacksonville. Half the time it's not even football-related anymore. It all seems unprofessional and the league seems to welcome it. It shouldn't be too hard to write an article, positive or negative, without taking pot shots at the cities the readers live in.
John: It shouldn't be hard, but these days when national writers are lazy and looking for an easy line people won't argue with, they take a shot at Jacksonville. That's easier and less time-consuming than being original. I don't know that the league welcomes it, particularly, but there's not much to be done about it except win. As I've often said, winning brings respect. It won't be immediate, but it will bring it and if it doesn't, the lazy shots will bother you a lot less.
Eddie from Jacksonville:
It amazes me when people ask your opinion, then get upset when your opinion is different from theirs.
John: After something happens over and over, that thing doesn't amaze me as much as it once did.
Greg from Section 122 THE BANK, Jacksonville:
How important do you believe this draft is for public perception? The fan base seems very fragile at this point. How crucial is it that Gene get a playmaker at No. 7 that the fans can feel good about?
John: It's crucial Gene get a player who will make the franchise better at No. 7. I trust that's his only objective, and that's why I trust the draft will be productive.
John from Jacksonville:
What happens if time expires before a draft choice or trade confirmation is made by a team? Can a team request more time?
John: No. If time expires, the next team in the draft order can make a selection and the team that missed the selection can then use its selection at any time thereafter. This happened in 2003, when the Vikings – slotted to select seventh in the first round – ran out of time trying to trade with Baltimore. The Jaguars rushed to select quarterback Byron Lefwich and the Panthers immediately jumped in to take tackle Jordon Gross. The Vikings then used their selection to select No. 9, choosing defensive tackle Kevin Williams.
Doug from Jacksonville:
Where are these armchair general managers watching "tape?" I have read for weeks on here all these submissions where they say they "watched tape," blah, blah, blah. Are they talking clips on YouTube? Are they talking highlight reels? Are they watching coaches tape and breaking down the first step or hand placement or are they talking some highlight were receiver "X" leapt over some 5'7" kid from Obscure U who is nowhere near NFL caliber and made some catch? Give me a break with the tape talk.
John: It is amusing, and you're correct. And, I too, have been amazed while reading this column and perusing Twitter at the amount of tape that must be out there. Watching YouTube highlights and watching tape are not the same thing. I always hesitate to criticize fans who believe that because they have seen the highlights and cutups they have scouted players. Those fans may on occasion be right about a player. But the reality is it's not the same thing.
Steve from Jacksonville:
I see where Drew Hampton is one of the folks who sit at the table in New York and submit the draft picks. How long has he been doing it and is it usually the equipment managers doing this for other teams as well or is this just unique for Jacksonville?
John: Hampton, the Jaguars' equipment manager, is in his sixth year attending the draft for the team. His former assistant, Jim Sorensen, went before that. Video Director Mike Perkins has represented the Jaguars at every draft since 1995. Teams typically send respected members of the organization who don't necessarily have specific draft-day duties at the facility, and Perkins and Hampton are deservedly two of the most respected members of the Jaguars' organization.
David from Neptune Beach and Section 214:
Had the Jags fielded a bunch of street free agents and lost the meaningless last game to the Colts, they would be ensured either Blackmon, Claiborne or Kalil. As I suggested then, sometimes it helps to sacrifice in the short run for the long-term benefits.
John: I remember you suggesting it, and I'll credit you for it. There are many who feel the way you do. I still believe you play to win games, mainly because of a longer-term argument than yours. In the long term, there's simply no way to know for sure if any of the players you mention will be better than the one who will be available to the Jaguars. We may passionately believe in a certain player this week, but history indicates that in two or three years one of those players won't be nearly as good as a player or two selected immediately after him. Win when you have a chance to win, then pick the best player you can pick when you draft.
Nick from Jacksonville:
Can we expect Freddy T to have his name put up next to Tony's anytime soon, John?
John: I've heard nothing official, but logic says that will happen sooner rather than later.
Nate from Jacksonville:
Jags draft Blackman or Floyd at No. 7. He doesn't become a special player. He just becomes a reliable 1,000-yard receiver six years out of an eight-year career. Are you going to look back and go, dang...what a reach? Clearly you'd be happy – especially on this team.
John: Yes, that's the argument for.
Eddy from Miami, FL:
I read something that was interesting. Kalil might fall to No. 7 if Vikings take Claiborne. If this was the case we would have great trade bait. My question is if you do draft Kalil, would you be able to move Eugene Monroe to right tackle and upgrade two positions? You can then move Britton in to guard and this line looks a lot better than it already is.
John: Monroe is a left tackle, not a right tackle. Not that he couldn't function at right tackle, but it's his athleticism that makes him a good player rather than pure, brawny strength. To move him would be to take him away from what he does well. Kalil also is a left tackle, and you don't take left tackles at No. 7 to move them to right tackle. If Kalil does fall to No. 7, I believe trading the selection would be a possibility. Despite the talk that there isn't much interest in the Jaguars' selection, that's pre-draft talk. If Kalil is there, the chances of trading down would improve significantly.
Pretty good gig
Let's get to it . . .
Matt from Jacksonville: