Salvatore from New Jersey:
I think a veteran quarterback is definitely something the Jaguar organization needs from a mentoring perspective. Would you agree? I think it would help Gabbert's development dramatically.
John: I certainly don't think it would hurt, and as I've said several times, quarterback is the one position where there is some value to having a veteran who isn't necessary pushing for a starting job, but who is playing more of a mentoring, veteran role. That said, Gabbert's development is going to depend more than anything on Gabbert's commitment to working, growing and developing in all phases into an NFL quarterback as opposed to a young player with a ton of potential and "arm talent," as scouts and coaches like to say. To make the strides he needs to make he must look inside and decide to do the work necessary. The Jaguars believe he is the type of guy who will do so.
Rob from Jacksonville:
You're wrong about Mike Wallace. I'd gladly give up our No. 7 pick for a proven, elite-level player instead of a prospect. It's a no-brainer to me.
Ray from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I just read an article on the TU's website and the blogger was talking about trading the seventh pick for Mike Wallace. I also heard it on the radio. We are all in agreement wide receivers are not a dime a dozen but really: a seventh pick! My, we really must be in the slow season.
John: Ray, meet Rob; Rob, Ray.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Are you going to be doing the 32 day fan mock draft again this year?
John: That's the plan. It seemed as if people liked it last year, and we got some positive feedback. I'm thinking we'll get it rolling in early March – unless I get an overwhelming response that people don't want to do it.
Loftur from Columbus, OH:
"Your greatest need is always talent." This has to be the best ever draft quote I have ever seen. In Gene we trust.
John: In simplicity often is found the greatest truth.
Ryan Kewaskum, WI:
Will the Jaguars consider signing Randy Moss? Right now there are zero targets for Gabbert. Give him a great one this year as a confidence boost, then keep on drafting young fresh talent.
John: The Jaguars would love to give Gabbert a great target. The question is, "Does Moss still fit that description?" The evidence suggests he does not. Moss last played in 2010, when he was ineffective for a Titans team that lacked playmaking at the wide receiver position. In real life, familiarity breeds contempt. In the NFL, it makes people think names they recognize can still do the things they did to become recognizable.
Chris from Augusta, GA:
Why don't the Jaguars sign Donovan McNabb, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Keith Brooking? They can help coach Gabbert the way LT helped Sanchez, Brooking helped Romo, and McNabb helped Ponder.
John: C'mon, Chris, names are fun. And they're shiny.
Seth from Jacksonville:
I hate to be a complainer, but doesn't it kind of seem unfair that the Colts had an amazing run with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, stunk for just one season due to injury, and because of that, they get to draft a player who could turn out to be on the same level as Peyton Manning? The opportunity to select a premier quarterback like Andrew Luck should go to a team that has struggled at the position for years, not one that had a one-year blip on the radar. If I was a conspiracy theorist (okay, I am), I'd say it's awfully coincidental that the Colts were bad in the one season it mattered to get The Next Big Thing.
John: You're right. Manning sustained a neck injury, underwent four surgeries and put himself in jeopardy of not playing again – therefore possibly prematurely putting himself in the position of never again doing what he most loves to do – so the Colts could get Andrew Luck. Manning's sneaky and conniving that way.
Lee from Jacksonville:
I can certainly appreciate why the players union would want to reduce the off-season workouts. This life of working five days a week, 52 weeks a year with a few weeks of vacation isn't for everybody...
John: I get what you're saying, but it's different. First off, the NFL is a talent-based, entertainment-based entity, and like it or not, entertainers and athletes aren't two-weeks-vacation-a-year jobs. But more than that, the NFL season is all-consuming from July through January. Players are at the facility or with the team a minimum of six days a week, and there is a toll taken on the body and the mind. I'm not saying there aren't worse jobs, but I also don't have a problem with a few months off for the players.
JT from Starkville, MS:
Are you restricted in your contact/communication with the football players according to the CBA? Or are you far enough removed from the coaching staff to have more freedom?
John: I'm not restricted in my access, just my ability.
Rod from Atlanta, GA:
Uh, Florida has "NO" income tax, really? Really? No, they have "NO" state income tax. Floridians still have to pay Federal income tax.
John: Thank you, Rod.
Cameron from Jacksonville:
Why is it that Todd Haley could talk with Big Ben even though April hasn't come around?
John: Under the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, coaches may talk with players before April. They just can't talk football specifics, or do anything remotely related to coaching.
Quinton from Jacksonville:
I get the need to try to keep Tom Brady's 2001 season in perspective, but we're swinging a bit too far back calling him a game manager. He was the sixth-rated quarterback and completed about 64 percent of his passes. He clearly wasn't the Tom Brady of today, but it was the beginning of an exceptional career. Stats don't tell the whole story, but if you were watching there were definitely flashes.
John: Yes, there were flashes. Maybe "game manager" is a bit too much considering the negative connotation of the phrase, but I covered Brady twice that season and watched the Patriots several times. They were far more based on defense, a conservative, passing game and strong running game than they were the quarterback-dependent team they are now. Even after the Super Bowl, there wasn't a sense that he is going to become the passer he became.
Kevin from Section 216:
I realize we're way too far out to be making bold predictions, but, as you say sometimes, this is just for fun. I like former Stanford guard David DeCastro as a dark-horse candidate for the Jaguars' first-round selection in this years' draft. The scouting reports available out there on the web on this guy are nothing short of exceptional and describe him as not only a high-character player, but also as a guard who can pass- and run-block with equal ability. The reports also mention his off-the-chart athleticism for the position and mention him being the best guard prospect to come out of college since Steve Hutchinson. I realize that this may not be a "sexy" pick, but what team doesn't need a (young) Steve Hutchinson?
John: I'd say he's an extremely dark horse. As you said, he seems to be pretty much a can't-miss prospect, and will probably be a long-term starter – perhaps even an All-Pro. It's just tough to grade a guard high enough in the overall picture to merit taking in the Top 10. Will a lot of teams look back and know they could have used him? Probably. But it's still tough to spend big draft equity on an interior offensive lineman.
Brad from Orange Park, FL:
I understand you have your loyalties. God knows, I have mine. So minus your personal stake in the matter, wouldn't signing Manning be a pretty erratic type of maneuver for the organization? Pulling the trigger on that move would be decommissioning our previous first-round selection, that we moved up to get, and given our history with first-round selections, I think that would qualify as "the definition of insanity."
John: First off, I have no loyalty toward or personal stake in Manning. Though it's hard for some readers to grasp this, from a personal point of view, I really don't care where Manning plays next. My point with Manning on Tuesday was that it's an usual and rare enough opportunity to consider – and unusual enough, perhaps, to outweigh a team's normal process. The reason that's the case isn't because Manning played with the Colts, a team I happened to cover for many years, but because when Manning last played he was playing at a level few in the history of the NFL have reached. If Drew Brees, John Elway, Dan Marino, Tom Brady or any other of the rare few were available and possibly still playing at an elite level, it's something a team has to at least consider. The position is that important, and the opportunity to get a "special" guy is that rare.
Restricted in ability
Salvatore from New Jersey: