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Solid, but not a blockbuster

Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Brian W. Fullford from Jacksonville:
Great coverage, Vic, on all media venues. I like what Coughlin did as a whole and don't pretend to have what it takes to draft in the NFL. As a curious spectator, I have two questions for you. 1.) Couldn't we have gotten more value out of our third-round choice? Westmoreland's height appears to be a problem but his speed looks good for blitz packages. Would Markus Steele have been a better fit here? We could have also taken Heath Evans. 2.) We needed a good punter but could that have waited? It almost sounds like Coughlin just couldn't be patient. Do you think Marques Sullivan would have been a better choice?

Vic: The only knock on Eric Westmoreland is his lack of height. He's fast, aggressive and productive. Every draftnik I've heard who's commented on the Westmoreland pick agrees he is outstanding value in the third round, which is where he was tabbed to go. Most people like the James Boyd pick in the third round less than Westmoreland. I disagree with those reviews. I think Boyd is an excellent selection by a team that needs a young free safety for its future. Penn State has a tradition of turning out successful free safeties and I expect Boyd to be part of that tradition. The only criticism I have of this draft is taking the punter in the fifth round. That's too high for a punter, and all indications were that David Leaverton would last into the seventh round, and may have even made it into free agency. There were two players available to the Jaguars in the fifth round who I thought would have each been better picks: offensive tackle Marques Sullivan of Illinois and quarterback Mike McMahon from Rutgers. I believe they have the ability to become big-time players at big-time positions, which is why I believe the fifth round was too high to pick a punter. At that point, the real fall-off in talent hadn't started.

Tom Okey from Los Angeles, CA:
I think this was a great draft. I like what Coughlin did. Do you think this was the blockbuster draft the Jags needed to be playoff-bound?

Vic: I've been asking myself that question the past two days. I think it has the potential to be a draft that makes the Jaguars a playoff contender, because it addressed almost all of the Jaguars' needs. Now it's a matter of those draft choices performing well enough to satisfy those needs, and that might be asking too much of the lower-rounds picks. I believe Marcus Stroud and Maurice Williams will satisfy the needs for which they were drafted, and that might be enough for the Jaguars to become a playoff contender, but one-fifth of the Jaguars draft class was directly dedicated to the kicking game, and that cut into the roster depth I believe this draft had to provide for the Jaguars to become a playoff contender. To answer your question directly, I think this is a solid draft class, but not a blockbuster.

Robert Ripley from Daytona Beach, FL:
Well I might be a Gator, but I'm also a fan of the SEC and Stroud didn't impress me at all. But in his defense, I didn't get to see him practice, I didn't get to see his work ethic, and I didn't get to see him display himself to coach Coughlin. For the sake of the Jaguars, I hope he's the man who will clog the middle of the line for at least eight years. If he can do that, then my hat is off to Coughlin and the draft staff. As for Williams, I know he will do fine. He is from a great school and a great conference. I hope he comes in and plays right away. What do you think we accomplished?

Vic: The Jaguars selected two players, Marcus Stroud and Maurice Williams, who should provide immediate impact as rookies. I think this draft will produce at least two more starters down the road, Eric Westmoreland and James Boyd. Of course, David Leaverton must be the punter the Jaguars think he is or his selection will have been a terrible mistake. Chad Ward is a nice depth pick in the sixth round and the seventh-rounders offer hope, but the strength of this draft is clearly its four first-day selections. I expect all four of those players to eventually become starters.
Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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