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Stroud wouldn't have lasted long

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

Alexandre Turp from Montreal, Canada:
I think this draft was weak for the Jaguars. They, in my mind, could have gotten all of their picks a round later. I think their biggest mistakes were Marcus Stroud and Eric Westmoreland. Stroud is the guy with an attitude who never played up to his talent and who is going to be playing for a team that probably has the biggest disciplinarian in the league. Westmoreland's not bad, but they could have gotten better. Their best pick was Maurice Williams, who is the justification for not taking Kenyatta Walker or Steve Hutchinson. I want to know if you agree.

Vic: There are those who share your opinions. I do not. A round later? Stroud would not have made it past the Steelers with the 17th pick. The Steelers would have taken Stroud over their eventual selection, nose tackle Casey Hampton. Once the Jaguars drafted Stroud, the Steelers traded down to take Hampton. My information is that Westmoreland went exactly where he was supposed to go, in the third round. He looked outstanding in this past weekend's mini-camp. Stroud's reputation for taking plays off and Westmoreland's lack of prototype linebacker size are reasons for concern, but critics of Kenyatta Walker point to his seeming lack of dedication at times at Florida, and most guys who last into the third round lack what teams want in the way of ideal credentials.

Chris Lozada from Jacksonville:
I believe the Jags had a very good draft. My question is: Do you believe it is harder to find quality defensive linemen or offensive linemen in the later rounds?

Vic: Clearly, it is more difficult to find quality defensive linemen in the late rounds. It's just as difficult to find offensive linemen in the late rounds who are able to contribute immediately, but offensive linemen can be developed with hard work and patience, whereas defensive linemen usually have more difficulty overcoming their physical shortcomings. A study of the draft clearly indicates that more starting offensive linemen than defensive linemen are products of the late rounds of the draft.

Robert Ripley from Daytona Beach, FL:
What is it going to take for the Jaguars to get back to the top of the AFC? They have to play two of the top three teams in the league twice. I know that if we stay healthy we should be a playoff team, but what about getting deep into the playoffs? What would it take?

Vic: You're getting ahead of yourself. Focus on what it will take for the Jaguars to be a playoff contender in 2001. To that end, it'll take the rapid development of key rookies at key positions. The Jaguars have a very favorable September schedule. The NFL was very kind to this team in that regard. The Jaguars must start fast to have a realistic chance of being a playoff contender. I don't think the change and uncertainty that encompasses this team allows us to look any farther ahead than that.

Vince Stolp from Jacksonville:
What is the status on Carnell Lake? Is he still down; going through rehab? What about Jimmy Smith? Have you heard anything about him?

Vic: Carnell Lake was a full participant in mini-camp practices this past weekend. He is clearly on his way back from last season's foot surgery, and indications are he should improve through the summer. Of course, the big question is: Can he make it all the way back at the age of 34? There is no answer to that question at this point in time. Jimmy Smith is struggling in his recovery from recent abdominal surgery. He was hospitalized this past Saturday night, and no one knows what his true prognosis is. That is the truth; nobody knows. If his recovery doesn't accelerate soon, concerns for his outlook will become grave.
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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