Join jaguars.com Senior Writer Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Kris Kelly from Austin, TX:
Do you think the Jags are comfortable with Erik Olson backing up Carnell Lake, or do you think the Jags will go with a high draft choice at safety?
|Vic: I do not expect the Jaguars to draft a safety on the first day. Their needs are great at more premium positions, which will cause them to focus on those positions in the early rounds. Erik Olson appears to be a competent backup and the hope is he'll develop into a contender for the starting job. However, drafting a safety in the later rounds, especially in round seven when the Jaguars have four picks, is likely. Teams are always looking to add speed to their roster and special teams.|
Atlas Rankin from Jacksonville:
In my opinion, the Jaguars could have a very good chance at the playoffs, if they can select a pass-rushing end to play opposite Tony Brackens, a backup for Fred Taylor, and a hard-hitting free safety to complement Donovin Darius. Who can the Jaguars draft that can best fill these positions with the picks they have?
|Vic: Your wish list is somewhat different from what most people believe is the focus of the Jaguars' attention. Yes, the Jaguars need to draft for their defensive line, and that may lead them to a defensive end in the first or second round. Who? Andre Carter and Jamal Reynolds would be the best first-round candidates, if they are available. As far as a backup running back and a hard-hitting free safety, those positions will probably have to wait until the late rounds, if at all. Florida State's Travis Minor appears to be a late-rounds running back prospect, and Miami safety Al Blades is somewhat of an intimidator but lacks the speed reserved for first-day picks.|
Mike Brown from St. Augustine, FL:
I am sure glad Brunell has a new contract. It would be very hard to win without him. We still have our key players, which is important, and I think this will be a very exciting year. My question is: How long is R. Jay Soward under contract for. He is definitely a big mistake the Jaguars made. Will Alvis Whitted be the number three receiver. He definitely has talent. Your thoughts, Vic?
|Vic: Soward is under contract for four more seasons. At this point in time, he qualifies as a draft-day mistake. He was drafted to be the Jaguars' third wide receiver, but lost that job to Whitted. Yes, Whitted has talent, namely speed, which has kept him on the roster for three seasons. His ability to become a reliable pass-catcher will determine to what level he ultimately progresses.|
Skeeter Robie from Jacksonville:
Like most Jags fans, I was under the impression the Jags really wanted to re-sign Todd Fordham and/or Jeff Smith. Now, Fordham has signed with the Broncos. How much impact, if any, did signing "roster fillers" Edward Thomas, Chandler Smith, Kevin Clemens, Evan Hlavacek and Aaron Langley have on our inability to free up enough cap room to re-sign Fordham? I read somewhere that the top 51 salaries applied to the cap. Is this true? What's the straight skinny here? Did the Jags want Fordham or not?
|Vic: It's the cap money they need to sign their draft class that caused the Jaguars not to re-sign Fordham. Yes, the top 51 salaries count toward the cap, and you expect your draft class to apply to the top 51, as opposed to players you described as "roster fillers." Signing "roster fillers" ate up a portion of the team's cap now, but those "roster fillers" positions in the cap will be replaced by draft choices, which will eat up even more cap room. Yes, the Jaguars wanted to re-sign Fordham, but they obviously didn't want him badly enough to make the cap sacrifices that would've been necessary.|
Phil Noel from Mission Valley, CA:
Now that Fordham is gone, please elaborate as to who is left on the roster at right offensive tackle, and what the Jaguars' options are.
|Vic: The right tackles currently on the Jaguars roster include Zach Wiegert, Mark Baniewicz, Reggie Nelson and Gannon Shepherd. Obviously, the Jaguars are going to draft early and often for offensive linemen. That is the only option.|
Dave Jones from New York, NY:
As far as the Hardy situation goes, it is looking more and more like he will be moving on and the Jags will have to replace him. Is it possible the Jags would be able to draft a quality defensive end like Andre Carter in the first round, and an outside linebacker in the second round like Sedrick Hodge to replace Hardy, then address the right tackle spot with Marques Sullivan in the third round? If the Jags did follow this draft, do you think Sullivan would be able to come in as a starter this year and have Hodge get some experience this year and start next year? Or do these guys not have enough talent to start this early?
|Vic: Those players fit in the rounds that you would select them, but I don't think you can expect all of them to become starters. The major flaw I see in your plan is that you are trying to satisfy every need now. I believe that's a formula for disaster. When you start focusing on three players, you ignore the rest of the draft pool. Everybody is drafting for need these days, but I still believe in "best player available." If "Sammy Baugh" is available in the third round, you better take him. Let's hope the Jaguars' focus on their needs doesn't cause them to pass on a future star who just happens to play a position at which the Jaguars don't have a current need.|