Let's get to it . . . Chris from St. Louis, MO:
I've heard talk that the Jaguars are interested in Stephen Hill if they trade down from the No. 7 spot. Have you heard the same or is this just more pre-draft, trying-to-make-a-story stuff?
John: I pretty much believe most of the stuff you've heard for the last six weeks has been pre-draft, make-up-a-story stuff, but Hill is a guy who makes a lot of sense. A lot of the stuff you hear this week will have much more merit than what has come before it, but there's so much of it, you probably won't know what has merit and what doesn't. That's sort of defines the draft.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
I am shocked by recent writings on NFL.com. In the last week, NFL-paid writers have consistently talked about the Jaguars in a negative connotation. First, how the highlight of our schedule is Tebow coming to town and playing for the No. 1 overall pick at Miami in December. Second, Lombardi's Open Letter to Blaine Gabbert. And then third, Marc Sessler lists his top 5 teams he would like to see on HBO's Hard Knocks, and proceeds to list a sixth team, the Jaguars at No. 32, saying there is no interest in the Jaguars. I understand they are writers and have an opinion, but I find it odd that the league allows them to write so openly (and disparagingly) on the official league website. I don't understand what benefit the NFL has allowing paid employees talk down to member teams.
John: I've gotten several emails asking this. A league or a team can take a variety of approaches with its official site. One is to simply say positive things. Another is to allow its writers complete freedom to report, entertain, criticize, etc. The second way typically draws far more readers than the first way, and the league has opted to allow its writers a lot of freedom. It sometimes might be insulting to fans of individual teams, but overall, it certainly makes for a better, more-entertaining and informative site.
Josh from Harrisburg, PA:
Since we are comparing apples and apples. Deion and his Primetimeness or Revis on his island (assuming he continues on his path of excellent play)?
John: Sanders. He was the best cover corner I've ever seen, and he had the ability to make a big play after the turnover. That's rare stuff and I'm not sure anyone ever has done it better.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The truth of the matter is Blaine Gabbert was terrible last year. There was not one game where you could say he won it. Lombardi is not the only one who has been critical of Gabbert's performance. Sports reporters all over the country have blasted him. This is just like San Diego, where they defended Ryan Leaf all the time. You can be young or old, rookie or vet, long hair or short, if you are terrible, that's what the reporters are going to say. Other than this site there has not been anyone who has said good things about Gabbert.
John: I think I was pretty clear that Lombardi and anyone else had every right to be critical of Gabbert. I imagine Gabbert would say anyone has a right to be critical of Gabbert. My only criticism of Lombardi was I thought the open letter was a bit much. But in reference to your final point, there have been others who have said what this site often has said – that while Gabbert indeed was not good as a rookie there is no reason yet to believe he can't improve with time, coaching and experience. I've never said Gabbert was great last year. What I have said is that it's not fair to bury him after his rookie season.
Rob from Orange Park, FL:
Where will Gene be on Thursday night? In New York or in Jacksonville? If not in NY, who will be there?
John: Smith and the rest of the Jaguars' staff critical to the draft process – i.e., scouts and coaches – will be in Jacksonville. That's where decisions get made and it's where the Jaguars' information on the draft is kept. It's standard for all NFL teams for the decision-makers to be at the team's facility during the draft. Video Director Mike Perkins and Equipment Manager Drew Hampton will represent the Jaguars at the draft in New York to turn in the team's picks.
Jon from Denver, CO:
What could scouts have seen that makes them believe that Blackmon is a risky pick? His hands are excellent and his route-running ability is certainly satisfactory for someone coming out of college. I don't get the knocks on his size. It seems like with the emergence of Megatron and Fitz, people believe that if you aren't 6'5" 230 pounds you won't be successful in the NFL. Wayne, Nicks, Jennings, and Bowe are all very good No. 1 receivers and are all either close to the same size as Blackmon or smaller. With the exception of Jennings, none are any faster than him. The guy gets open and he's going to continue doing that in the NFL.
John: Your answer is in your question. Johnson and Fitzgerald are clearly on a different level than the other receivers you mentioned, and I'd put Andre Johnson and potentially A.J. Green there, too. The four I put at the top level are game-changing, defense-altering receivers – guys that if you don't guard you're going to lose. That's what personnel guys want from a Top 5-to-7-drafted receiver. I agree that Blackmon has a good chance to be a receiver on the level of players such as Wayne, Nicks and Jennings, and I agree that would be a good thing. There's also part of me that thinks it will take a few years for him to reach that level and you wonder if that's what you want at No. 7.
Mitch from Fleming Island, FL:
Would you take a Von Miller in this draft over another DT, Cox? I am no talent/scheme evaluator, but do you turn down someone you could use as what appears to be a great linebacker such as Ingram just because he may not be a premium position? Just curious if he could be put to great use in the 4-3 with Poz and Smith.
John: Miller was pretty much a consensus Top 5 player. That's elite-level talent and that often means breaking normal rules and guidelines on draft day. Ingram's very good, but not a consensus Top 5 player. While Ingram is good, is he good enough to change your scheme and define your defense? I haven't heard that he's that, and that's why it may make sense to pass.
Kenny from Jacksonville:
I'm thinking of having a draft day party, but the most likely best case scenario is that we trade back. What's the best way to celebrate trading back?
John: The same way you celebrate the pick – with the knowledge that the Jaguars did what was best for the team, and of course, with the tallest glass in your house.
Christina from Section 123:
I'm going to do you a favor because I like you. You NEVER saw Tony get beat for a sack. Are you kidding? That must have been someone else. A man capable of ingesting an entire large supreme Renna's pizza by himself in one sitting is not someone who could ever be beat for a sack.
John: I only remember it happening once, and I remember it because it was rare. It was against Dallas and if I remember correctly, Boselli tripped or was bumped or something. This is not to say it never happened aside from that, but that's the only one I remember. He was that good. As for him eating the entire pizza, let's just say that's not as rare.
Ron from Orlando, FL:
How can you say that a player is a reach or is being picked too early if the Jags were to take him at 7, yet you can throw out all these names like Mercilus, Cox, and Gilmore, but not claim that the Jaguars taking these guys with the 7 overall pick isn't a reach? Let me help you with something as well. Blackmon at 7 would be a STEAL, not a reach. Watch the tape. He's an animal.
John: I don't think many people would think Cox is a reach at No. 7. In fact, most mocks you see have him between Nos. 6 and 10 and people seem to think it would be a surprise to see him out of the Top 10. I also think I was pretty specific when writing about Mercilus early on that it absolutely was a reach, and that the idea was to generate conversation and discuss the idea that the Jaguars would probably prefer to trade back. As for Gilmore, more and more people seem to think that wouldn't be quite as much of a reach as originally thought. Reaching is a draft term most often used by people when teams draft a player higher than most people thought he would be drafted. Most people base that belief on mock drafts they read. Those often don't align with reality. As for Blackmon being a steal, that may be true. I've never said he would be a reach there. What I have done is try to explain to people the reasoning behind certain possibilities. And as always, I appreciate the help.
The tallest glass
Let's get to it . . . Chris from St. Louis, MO: