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This game ain't built on slow

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

Renzo from Houston, TX:
What is your take on Pat White and his pro-day workout? Did he hurt his stock by not working out as a receiver? He has been getting hammered by the media for not doing so.

Vic: I saw that Mike Mayock said that White hurt himself by not working out, but I don't agree. How much information do you need on a guy? He ran at the combine. He threw at the combine. Running routes? Come on, he's not a wide receiver and I think it's understood that he'll have to be taught to play the position. All you have to do is put on the tapes of his performances for West Virginia. It's easy to see that White was usually the best athlete on the field, against whatever team West Virginia was playing, including Georgia and Oklahoma in West Virginia's bowl wins over them. Running routes won't be a problem for a guy that athletic. The only thing you need to know about White is something that can't be answered by running routes in a pro day: Will he go over the middle? That's the question that has to be answered by every player making a move to wide receiver and there's only way to find out. I don't think White hurt himself by not running routes at his pro day, but I think he will hurt himself if he continues his insistence on playing quarterback. That could chase teams away because, in my opinion, he'll never be anything but a backup NFL quarterback.

Dave from Grafton, VA:
What would you say went wrong with the analysis on Robert Gallery, one of the few notable first-round tackle misses in recent memory?

Vic: Gallery was the second pick of the 2004 draft and when you draft a guy that high and pay him second-pick money, it definitely qualifies as a miss that five years later he's a starting guard. What went wrong? The usual; he just didn't have the feet to pass-block in space. What does it say about drafting tackles, however, that a miss at that position still produces a starter on your team?

Mike from Jacksonville:
Keenan a 12th-round pick? I thought there were only seven rounds in the draft.

Vic: The draft didn't become a seven-round event until 1994. Actually, it was supposed to be seven rounds in 1993, as part of the then-new salary cap system, but it was set at eight rounds for the '93 draft and I can't remember the reason for it. I think it had something to do with the CBA negotiations. Prior to '93, the draft had been 12 rounds since 1977. When I started covering the draft, it was 17 rounds, which it was from 1967-76. From 1960-66 it was 20 rounds, and from 1943-59 it was 30 rounds.

Norman from Nampa, ID:
Do you think Percy Harvin is a special player like Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald?

Vic: No, I don't think he's in that class. What makes Harvin special, and I can say the same thing about running back LeSean McCoy, is that they have a special kind of acceleration. They are true one-cut-and-go guys. When they put their foot in the ground and push off, the acceleration is fantastic.

Jeff from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
In the Jaguars' history, who is the player that had the most star potential whose career was cut short by injuries?

Vic: Tony Brackens is the probably the answer. He had a lot of good years but he never reached his true potential for any extended period of time, because of the knee and ankle injuries that dogged him. The other guy is Tavian Banks. He's this team's Curtis Enis, Ki-Jana Carter, Kevin Jones, etc.

Eddie from Jacksonville:
To gain some perspective on the 40 times for running backs, I looked up Emmitt Smith's posted time at the combine. Several sources state that he ran a 4.7 and fell to the 17th pick of that draft. Looking back on his special talent, I would guess that any team picking 1-16 would have rather had him than the player they took. Do you see similar abilities in Moreno that you saw in Smith? Could we be putting too much stock into the 40 time on this one?

Vic: I've said over and over that I love Knowshon Moreno, but I think speed is a little more of a factor for him than it was for Smith. Moreno is more of a wiggle and jiggle guy than Smith, who was a straight-line, downhill runner who succeeded on toughness, instinct, desire and the uncanny ability to drop his pads on the lowest of tacklers. Let me put it this way: If I was thinking of making Moreno a top 10 pick, I'd like him to at least run a 4.5 at his pro day. Remember this: Emmitt Smith is the exception to the rule. This game ain't built on slow.

Ted from Saskatoon, SK:
You said you knew Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald were going to be special, and you knew Roy Williams was not. Tell us which college player you thought was going to be a star and was a high draft pick but turned into a bust for reasons other than injury.

Vic: I didn't like where he was picked but I thought Charles Rogers was going to be an outstanding wide receiver. I had high opinions of DeAngelo Hall, T.J. Duckett, Akili Smith and others whose careers never equaled my expectations. I'll give you another I didn't miss on – Albert Haynesworth – and I could probably find the draft-day radio tape to prove it.

Jeremy from Jerseyville, IL:
Do you see Pat White as a better draft prospect than Kordell Stewart was?

Vic: Absolutely not. Kordell Stewart has never been regarded as he should. Stewart is one of the greatest athletes who has ever played this game, but he made one terrible mistake and White should learn from it. Stewart made the mistake of insisting on being a full-time quarterback. That wasn't just a mistake, it was a gross miscalculation of the place in football history he could've carved and I blame his agent, too, for not getting that point across to Stewart. He was the original "Slash" and he should've stayed that way. The Steelers thought he could've become the greatest receiver in the team's history. His speed was eye-popping. I'll never forget a play in that 2000 game in which Fred Taylor set the all-time Steelers opponents rushing record. Stewart saw a lane up the middle and took off. I've never seen anyone run that fast. It was as though Donovin Darius was tied to a stake. Stewart ran 45 yards and nobody touched him. White doesn't have Stewart's speed, White doesn't have Stewart's arm strength and is unlikely to lead a team to two AFC title games, as Stewart did, and I doubt that White has Stewart's fearlessness and durability. What a shame. In my opinion, Stewart's was a career wasted on stubbornness.

Michael from Fruit Cove, FL:
Right now, what is the state of the Jaguars, according to Vic?

Vic: It's a team in repair mode. It's fixing terrible personnel decisions and committing itself never to make the same mistakes again. The Jaguars are going to be vigilant about identifying character and dedication in draft prospects. The Jaguars also find themselves in a continuing effort to deepen the roots of professional football in Jacksonville. Ticket sales will be challenged this year. I believe 2009 will be a year in which the Jaguars will take a step forward, maybe even several steps forward, but challenge is the word I would use to describe the state of the Jaguars. It's a franchise that is challenged to repair its roster, win games and sell tickets.

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