Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Tackles are safe draft picks

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Doug from Jacksonville:
Great players are defined by great clutch plays. If Arizona holds Pittsburgh, Warner is MVP, most likely. If Brady's tuck is called what it was, a fumble, that's a big chunk of his resume gone. Can you think of an example of luck, good or bad, that defines a player; "Immaculate Reception" excluded, as that's too obvious.

Vic: An example? I can think of hundreds of examples. What if Bart Starr gets stopped at the goal line in the "Ice Bowl?" What if Jackie Smith doesn't drop that ball in the end zone in Super Bowl XIII? What if Earl Morrall had seen that wide open receiver in Super Bowl III? What if the TV picture had gone out in the first quarter of the 1958 title game and it never came back? What if Morten Andersen hadn't slipped? Maybe Denver would've won three straight Super Bowls. What if my mother hadn't married my father, huh? You wouldn't be reading this column today, would you? What you're suggesting is ridiculous. Arizona didn't stop Pittsburgh because it couldn't stop them. The Steelers went 88 yards and they did it with ease. That's what great teams and great players do: They get it done at crunch time. Kurt Warner fumbled. By the way, I think Larry Fitzgerald would've won the MVP, had the Cardinals defense not folded at crunch time. It would've been difficult to give the MVP to a quarterback who threw a 100-yard interception return.

Henry from Jacksonville:
Rank your top three quarterbacks in terms of what you think could be received for them in a trade. Mine: 1.) Roethlisberger. 2.) E. Manning 3.) Cutler.

Vic: Mine: 1.) Matt Ryan. 2.) Ben Roethlisberger. 3.) Tom Brady.

Jason from Jacksonville:
You say running backs can be had in the later rounds, then you say Moreno should be taken by us at eight? What was so impressive about Moreno that you believed he was worthy of that pick?

Vic: I think he's special and when you see a special player, it doesn't matter what position he plays. I thought Adrian Peterson was special. I thought Larry Fitzgerald was special. I did not think Roy Williams was special, therefore, I was not in favor of selecting him in the top 10. Yes, as a rule I believe you should stay away from wide receivers and running backs high in the first round, unless you have reason to believe they are truly special players. The problem with Moreno is that he ran poorly at the combine and 4.6 is not special. If he turns in a special time at his pro day, then I'm all for drafting him, but it's got to be special. Am I making myself clear? Do you understand that there are exceptions to all rules and compromises to all philosophies? You're trying to trap me in my own words and I don't think that's fair because I've repeatedly explained that there are always exceptions. Of all the running backs and wide receivers in the draft, Moreno is the one I think has top 10 worth, but he's got to run a lot better at his pro day because it's not as though he posted a poor time at the combine, he posted a terrible time. I'll ignore a bad time, but 4.6 is turtle time. If I was a scout, that's something I would have to examine. Is he really that slow or was he just not comfortable with the process? Did he have a bad start? Did he roll into it? If I saw signs of technical flaws in his run, I'd ignore his combine run because football isn't a track meet, but I'd have to have reason to believe he runs faster than 4.6 before I could hold to my belief that he's special. Special on the college level and special on the NFL level are two different things. The NFL game is much faster.

Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Who do you think is the most complete DB in this year's draft class and which one do you believe has the most potential?

Vic: Vontae Davis really helped himself at the combine. I don't know why but I think he was overlooked in college, despite having had a very productive career at Illinois. I'm not giving up on Malcolm Jenkins. He played too well against too many top receivers to all of a sudden become a dog. I think Jenkins needs to play in the right system. I think he'd be best in a 3-4 scheme that employs a lot of zone coverage. You don't have to have blazing speed to play zone, but you do have to have instincts and ball skills and Jenkins has each. Davis has the speed to play press; Jenkins the instincts to play zone. I think the bar is high for both.

Mike from Savannah, GA:
When the salary cap goes bye-bye, will top 10 draft pick money escalate beyond the reach of small-market teams?

Vic: Some would say top 10 money has already escalated beyond the reach of small-market teams. The cap should have nothing to do with it because teams have found ways around the rookie pool by deferring payment and guaranteeing it. That's why I say the cap is bye-bye; because it's not working.

Mike from Groton, CT:
Why is the $64,000 question if Smith is worth the risk? Is that how much teams have to pay to attend a pro day or just host one? Did the Jags really waste that much money just to watch a guy who walked out of the combine? That's kind of ridiculous, especially in this economy. Couldn't it have been put towards improving roads, bridges around Jacksonville, or at least re-sodding the practice fields?

Vic: "The $64,000 Question" was a wildly popular TV game show in the late 1950's that was found to be guilty of cheating. The show's infamy is considered to give it eternal life in the form of using it to describe dramatic decisions that have to be made, as in "that's the $64,000 question."

Holger from Bad Vilbel, Germany:
I remember Kevin Jones being at the top of your draft board a few years back. What happened to him?

Vic: After rushing for 1,133 yards as a rookie, he sustained a foot injury from which he has never fully recovered. He was going to be a star, but injuries have felled many a career.

Benny from Jacksonville:
Could you list the draft position of some of the recent successful left tackles in the league to illustrate why that is a premium position?

Vic: Let's not limit it to left tackle. Let's examine all tackles, most of which will be left tackles because I'm only going to look at the first round. Last year, eight tackles were selected in the first round. Jake Long, Ryan Clady, Branden Albert, Sam Baker and Duane Brown are all starting left tackles. Gosder Cherilus and Jeff Otah are starting right tackles. Chris Williams is the only tackle selected in the first round of last year's draft that did not achieve starter's status as a rookie. He is expected to become a starter this year. I went back through the first rounds of previous drafts and this is what I found: Williams is the only tackle selected in the first round of the draft since and including the 2004 draft that isn't a starter at one position or another on his team's offensive line. What's that tell you? Can you make a safer pick in the first round than a tackle?

Harley from Ormond Beach, FL:
Can Michael Crabtree be another Keenan McCardell?

Vic: Keenan was a 12th-round pick. Can Crabtree be 12 times better than Keenan?

Butch from Palatka, FL:
At what position will Pat White project in the draft? Will it be quarterback or receiver?

Vic: He's not going to be drafted as one or the other, he's going to be drafted as both. That's what makes him attractive; he can play both. He gives an offensive coordinator a lot of creativity. He's gonna be a "Slash." I'm kind of surprised that fans don't understand that. They're trying to pigeon-hole White but they're not putting him in the right pigeon-hole. His is the one that says "Slash" above it. In my opinion, if you put him in an offense that has a pounding running back and a feared pocket-passer, White might run wild.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content