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Ready for the coin flip

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

Mark from Orange Park, FL:
How is the player ranking done? Each gets a grade and then it is weighted by the importance of their position?

Vic: I don't know how the Jaguars do their grading, but position weighting is naturally built into the evaluation process. For example, one of the evaluations of defensive backs is their ability to turn their hips in coverage. Corners are naturally better at this than safeties, therefore, corners are likely to achieve a higher grade than safeties. The same is true for tackles over guards and centers, wide receivers over tight ends, etc. The important thing to remember is that the grading process is all relative. Lawrence Taylor is almost certain to get a higher grade as the number one linebacker than the number one player at most other positions would get. Why? Because Taylor is one of the great all-time talents. I don't know why the average fan struggles so mightily with this grading and ranking process, nor do I understand why the idea of selecting the highest-rated player or trading the pick to recoup its value is so difficult to understand. I am asking everyone to please try to understand because I have reached the point of weariness on the topic. You grade 'em, you rank 'em, you pick 'em. I don't know how I can make it any easier to understand.

Mike from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Shouldn't drafting actually be easy? Teams spend all year analyzing talent and ranking players. Because everyone has their own opinion, it's inevitable that unless you have a top pick, there will always be someone on your board ranked above where you're picking. I can guarantee that if the Jags pick 10th, then at least one of their top nine players will still be on the board.

Vic: Yeah, it's likely. Drafting is the easy part. The tough part can be matching your pick to your need because that would likely involve trading down and that requires help. Ben Roethlisberger is the best example. The Jags needed to get out of that hole or they were bound to select a player of lesser value and give to their competition a player of greater value, and that's a no-no. You've got to get out of that hole and recoup its value. There's no other way around it, or you claim the value by picking the guy. That's when it gets tough and every so often it happens.

Lane from Longwood, FL:
I remember your draft coverage on leading up to the draft the year Revis was taken by the Jets. If I remember correctly, you reported Revis was the guy the Jaguars wanted. Could that have affected the Jets trading up and picking him ahead of Jacksonville? Is GM Gene hesitant to give up too much information to you because of situations where this could possibly happen?

Vic: Hmmm, could be.

James from Ventura, CA:
What are your thoughts on Tony Pike? I recall that you have spoken highly of him in the past.

Vic: Some scouts don't like him because he's so thin. It was said to me that you'd have to run him through the shower twice just to get him wet. I still like him because I like his arm. I saw him make throws of special quality the past two years. I don't know if he's gonna throw or not at the combine but I definitely think he should throw because a guy with an arm like his can steal the show, just as Joe Flacco did.

Renzo from Katy, TX:
When a player gets the franchise tag, they are guaranteed that year's salary no matter the outcome of the season. Am I correct? If so, then why do players become so irate about being tagged? Seems like a nice payday to me.

Vic: It's guaranteed but only after the player signs the tender. The reason players don't like the franchise tag is that it denies them the big signing bonus sting, which usually represents far more money than a one-year franchise salary.

Bill from Jacksonville:
If Friday's coin flip were up to you, would you call heads or tails?

Vic: The coin they'll use has a Jaguars logo on one side and a Bears logo on the other side. The Broncos acquired the pick from the Bears in the Jay Cutler trade, but it won't become their property until after the slot is decided. There will be two other coin flips: Carolina-Tennessee and Atlanta-Houston.

Buddy from Jacksonville:
For sale, veteran talent at a discount: L.T., Westbrook, Peppers, T.O. maybe and Ochocinco. I don't think the whole rebuilding thing quite worked out. The Jaguars better go for available veteran free agents and keep their eyes on the target, the Super Bowl, or at least the AFC championship game. Isn't this reasonable?

Vic: Sure it is. If you can't rebuild your team within a year, it's time to try something else. I've always been a proponent of filling the roster with overpaid guys looking for one more sting before they go over the hill. I can't imagine a better way to build a football team.

Adam from Bloomsbury, NJ:
I have a reverse Tebow question. If he were to be available in the later rounds and was the BAP, should the Jaguars consider not taking him just because of the possible distraction it may cause?

Vic: Absolutely not. If he's the best available player, pick him.

Mike from Jacksonville:
First a Twitter feed, then you accept that the NFL is a passing league, and now texting to set up interviews? Welcome to the revolution, Vic. Seriously, though, in your opinion, what has been the greatest technological achievement to advance sports journalism in your career?

Vic: First of all, I did not respond to GM Gene's text message on my cell phone. I have never sent a text message on my cell phone because I don't know how to do it and I don't want to know. As soon as you start doing that everybody wants to send you messages. My family knows I don't turn on my phone other than when I'm in the car or on a road trip. I waited until I got to work and then I sent GM Gene an e-mail, which must go to his cell phone because he responded quickly. I guess he's into this cell phone stuff pretty good. As far as the greatest advance in journalism technology, it was the word processor. What a difference it made. Before word processors, we had to haul a portable typewriter and a bulky sending device around with us. They were both big and heavy and were always breaking. I can even remember the days of having to use carbon paper. It was awful. One day, I was given this little word processor. It was made by Texas Instruments and they called it a TI something. It was thin and light, had a nice-sized keyboard and a small screen that displayed about three or four lines of text. When you finished your story, you plugged the phone cord into it, hit send and your story was back in the office before you could put the little device back in its little case. I loved that thing. I think I still have it at home, though I haven't used it in 15 years. It was all the rage. There were guys from 11 newspapers covering the Steelers back then. We were all friends, we all had the same TI machines and we all sat together in the back of the plane banging out our stories on the same little machines. I can remember once looking around at everybody and thinking about what a difference it was from the days when we'd all be in the back of the plane pounding on Royal portables.

Lance from Orange Park, FL:
I'm a professional dart player and I've changed my throwing motion several times over the years. It took hours and hours of repetition and concentration each day over a period of several months before it felt natural and unforced. I can't imagine it would be much different for a QB.

Vic: Now get a couple of 300-pound guys to run at you from each side as you keep your eyes on the dartboard and throw. Let me know how your new throwing motion held up.

Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Teams are finding gems in undrafted free agency. How many made it last year in the NFL?

Vic: I don't know the number, but two stars of the last two Super Bowls, Pierre Thomas and James Harrison, were acquired as undrafted free agents.

Don from Jacksonville:
If a guard is franchised, is he paid the average salary of the top five guards or the top five offensive linemen?

Vic: The franchise distinctions are: Quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive linemen, defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback, safety and kicker/punter. A guard, therefore, would likely be paid at the average of the top 10 left tackle salaries, which is why you don't franchise guards.

Eric from Neptune Beach, FL:
Three nose tackles given the franchise tag?

Vic: The franchise salary for a defensive tackle is relatively inexpensive. It's $7 million, compared to $12 million for a defensive end.

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