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This draft class deserves an 'A'

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

Andy from Roswell, GA:
I'm scratching my head. Can you make some sense as to why Gene would trade next year's second for a third this year?

Vic: Yes, I think I can explain it to you, as Gene Smith explained it to me Sunday night after the draft was concluded; I, too, sought an explanation. Basically, Smith made next year's second-round pick this year. It's the same thing the Panthers did last season when they traded for the Eagles' first-round pick, which the Panthers used to select tackle Jeff Otah. In exchange, the Eagles got the Panthers' second and fourth-round picks last year and first-round pick this year. In other words, there's a price for making next year's pick this year. Acquiring that extra year of service is going to cost you a little extra which, in this case, was a pick one round higher than Derek Cox was selected (and a seventh-rounder this year). The impetus to the trade was a desperate need at cornerback and a consensus love affair with Cox. The Jags worked him out, studied him and are crazy about him. Smith explained that a cornerback of his size and ability is a legit second-round pick and that's how he should be viewed, as next year's second-round pick. Forget about the third-round pick that was used to select him. That's New England's pick. The second-round pick is the Jaguars' and that's the one that, theoretically, was used to select Cox, a year early. If Cox is the home run the Jaguars believe he will be, everything is OK. I thought Terry McDonough explained the situation perfectly.

Sam from Toronto, Canada:
From the sound of things, Cox wasn't a guy who was very high on many teams' boards. Do you think there's any chance he would have fallen to the Jags in the fourth round and we could have gotten our guy and kept our second next year?

Vic: Gene Smith said no. Smith believes Cox was highly-rated on many teams' boards and wouldn't have lasted to the Jaguars' next pick. Terry McDonough told me he made a call to a scout friend on another team to see what he thought of the pick. It was a team McDonough believed to have strong interest in Cox and McDonough said he sensed disappointment in his friend's voice that the Jaguars took Cox off the board. Remember this: These guys are scouts and their jobs are to find football players. Cox is a find. He's a guy on one of college football's country roads. You had to get off the main highway to find him and when scouts find a guy like that they develop a fondness for him because the team that drafts him can boast that they did, in fact, find him. Cox is a guy a lot of teams found. I listed those teams in one of the stories I did on Sunday. He was not an unknown to NFL scouts. He was only an unknown to Kiper and McShay.

Sean from Philadelphia, PA:
Is Mike Thomas a player Jack del Rio had a better look at than other coaches because of the Senior Bowl?

Vic: Yes, the Jaguars coached him in the Senior Bowl.

Paul from Jacksonville:
The Jaguars got the all-time leading receiver in Pac-10 history in the fourth round? You were right, Vic, good wide receivers can be found in later rounds.

Vic: And they got the all-time NCAA touchdown receptions leader in the fifth round and a legit deep receiver in the seventh round. Wide receivers are a dime a dozen. With those three second-day picks, the problem is solved.

Joe from Jacksonville:
Amazing coverage on the draft. I cannot believe the amount of information you posted for the fans this weekend. Thank you for the hard work. What is your grade of the Jags draft?

Vic: It's an "A." There's no doubt in my mind that's the grade it deserves. The two tackles will be long-term fixtures, the three second-day wide receivers fix an area of this team on which millions and millions of first-day dollars were wasted, Zach Miller and Rashad Jennings are intriguing small-school picks, and the Jaguars are most excited about the two picks that have fans perplexed, the Terrance Knighton and Derek Cox selections. The Jaguars are absolutely ga-ga about those two picks.

Justin from Orlando, FL:
It was the big guys early and the skill-position players after. I love this drafting approach.

Vic: I've been saying it for years: You gotta get the big guys early. That's what Gene Smith did. He went big, big, big and then turned small after he was satisfied that the ranks of the big guys had been exhausted. In my opinion, that's how you draft. You gotta get the big guys as long as they are available to you because when they're gone, they truly are gone. You can't manufacture big guys. The Jaguars' philosophy of past years was a source of despair for me. There were too many little guys early. That just won't work.

Daniel from Jacksonville:
Wonderful job to you and the media staff on covering the draft. I was very impressed with Terry McDonough being so candid with his responses. His comment about what defines a good pick or not for Cox was very refreshing. I'm noticing a trend from the front office and coaching staff becoming more accessible this year. Am I wrong on this, because I absolutely appreciate and love it?

Vic: You are not wrong. Gene Smith has been fantastic in dealing with the media. Last Tuesday's pre-draft luncheon actually produced worthwhile information. I even detected an attempt to tell the truth. This was a great draft to cover. Better information and more cooperation, hopefully, made for better stories.

Brian from Jacksonville:
I'll tell you what this draft did for me. It changed my approach to message boards. It used to be somewhat informative (more entertaining), but having to mull through the hate and irrationality to find that tidbit of information is too much. It boils down to one simple question: If you never saw the kid play, how do you know that he's not better than the kid you want?

Vic: I have never seen Derek Cox play. In bed last night, I thought to myself, when is the last time I saw William and Mary play a football game? The answer is 1977. It's been 32 years since I've seen Bill and Mary play a football game and I'm gonna rip a pick because the player is from that school? No way. These guys did their due diligence on Cox and I'm gonna trust their judgment.

Olly from Oxford, England:
Thanks to you and the website team for your fantastic coverage of the draft. I always find the hardest part of draft weekend is bringing my expectations back down to earth and forcing myself to realize that probably only a couple of these guys will be anywhere close to starting when the season begins. Who, apart from Monroe, has the best chance?

Vic: I think Eugene Monroe, Eben Britton, Terrance Knighton and Derek Cox will all become starters. When? I don't know, but they were clearly drafted with that expectation in mind. The three wide receivers will probably produce a starter at some point, but I don't think it's about starting with those guys, as much as it's about performing specific roles. I envision Mike Thomas being an Antwaan Randle El type. I see Jarett Dillard as a Fred Biletnikoff type and Tiquan Underwood as Alvis Whitted with hands.

Ryan from West Chester, OH:
After seeing the selection of Zach Miller, I wanted to find out more about him. Upon searching, I found mixed descriptions of who he is; some sources stated he was a TE, while some said he was a QB. Is this another Matt Jones type of conversion project, Vic?

Vic: Yes, it is. The difference is that Miller was described by Jack Del Rio as being a "rugged individual." In other words, Miller is a tough guy and that means Miller has a chance to succeed. Del Rio also mentioned that the Jaguars could use him in a "wildcat" role.

Henry from Jacksonville:
How do the three recent offensive tackles from Virginia (Ferguson, Albert, Monroe) compare?

Vic: Brenden Albert was a guard at Virginia who moved to left tackle last season with the Chiefs. It was Eugene Monroe who kept Albert at guard at Virginia, which tells you something about Monroe's pass-blocking ability and Albert's run-blocking skills. They could each use a little of what the other has. D'Brickashaw Ferguson is a fantastic athlete but he lacks the big butt you need to be a run-blocker. Monroe has a big butt and that's why the Jaguars believe he has the potential to be a better run-blocker. At Virginia, he played in a two-point stance and run-blocking was not stressed.

James from Jupiter, FL:
What are the Jags thinking, giving up a 2010 second-round draft pick to the Patriots for a third-round nobody from William and Mary? I hope he was worth it. Another bust draft class for the Jags.

Vic: Spoken like a true Gator or Seminole fan, right? Tell me if I'm wrong. If they're not from Florida or Florida State they can't be any good, right? How about Rashean Mathis over Taylor Jacobs? How did that work out?

Tim from Tucson, AZ:
If Monroe and Britton become stalwarts for 10 years, is this draft a success regardless of what the other picks do?

Vic: Yes, it'll be a success because any draft is based first and foremost on the performance of its two first-day picks. The second-day picks define the depth of your draft. Depth is nice, but you gotta get hits on the first day because that's where the money is.

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