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Time to focus on draft

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Shawn from Jacksonville:
Vic, you obviously enjoy the excitement of "March Madness," so, who ya got in the "Final Four?"

Vic: My son and I put our heads together and we came up with Oklahoma State, Louisville, UConn and Duke, with Oklahoma State beating UConn in the championship game.

Jon from Jacksonville:
Can you please start answering more questions each day? It can be so frustrating to continuously write in without getting answered.

Vic: I sympathize with your plight, Jon. It pains me every time I delete a question because I know everyone who writes in is expecting an answer. Those who joined the "Ask Vic" crowd in the beginning would tell you the length of the column has been expanded, and I will continue to press the boundaries, but please understand that there are two distinct restrictions: size and time. The format only allows for so much space and my schedule only provides for so much time. I don't see the column increasing much in length in the near future.

Pete from Gainesville, VA:
Last year you said Sean Bubin would be a work-in-progress type of guy. How does he look this year to help with depth at tackle?

Vic: Sean Bubin was signed off the Jaguars practice squad last season by the Detroit Lions.

D.J. from Brunswick, GA:
What's up with all the O's? The O'Vics and the O'Davids? Did I miss something?

Vic: I'll bet you didn't even wear a green shirt yesterday. Come on, D.J., everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

Miguel from Mexico City, Mexico:
I am a really big fan of the Jaguars and of your column. I also feel very excited about the possibility of having a regular-season game in Mexico City. In the last "Jaguars This Week" radio show, coach Del Rio never answered the question about his opinion on this issue. What's your opinion about it? By the way, I did not appreciate Jeff Lageman's comments about Mexico, but that's a different story.

Vic: Don't let Lageman get to you. He wouldn't know good water from swamp water. As far as a regular-season game in Mexico City, I'm all for it. I'll have you know that every Wednesday before the radio show Jeff, Brian and I go out for a Mexican meal. The three of us are big fans of Mexican food. By the way, if you had written to "Ask Vic" yesterday you would've been O'Miguel. We're all in this together, right? Try to love one another right now, huh?

John from Pensacola, FL:
What free agents do you think would look good in khaki pants?

Vic: Everybody looks good in khaki pants. It's a clean, confident, understated look that says, "My life is good." At this point in time, I think the Jaguars should start focusing on who they can put into khaki pants from this year's draft class. The free-agent crop wasn't especially strong at the start, and now it appears to be pretty picked over. There are still some positions where you can pick up a role player, but what remains at the top of free agency are guys who are holding out for big money, and it would seem most teams have judged them not to be worth big money. What I'm trying to say is I don't think you're going to find a difference-maker in what's left in free agency. It's time to turn our attention to the draft.

Jason from Houston, TX:
You've said the Jaguars might be interested in going after a second-tier cornerback. Then you said Dyson is not a second-tier cornerback. If not Dyson, then who would be considered a second-tier cornerback?

Vic: Andre Dyson is not a second-tier cornerback. He wants first-tier money. When I used the term "second tier," I was thinking of players such as Nick Harper and Kenny Wright. The Jaguars have need at the cornerback position and there is a degree of safety in numbers. The cornerback crop in the draft is pretty good and it may turn out that the Jaguars can address that position early in the draft, but you can never have too many cover guys and I have to believe the Jaguars would like to address the cornerback position in what remains of free agency, but not in a premium way. I'm thinking in terms of cornerbacks who could assist in "nickel" and "dime" defenses.

Troy from Tuscaloosa, AL:
There are so many variables in drafting a QB that makes it an incredible gamble. Which position is perhaps the easiest to judge coming out of college?

Vic: Probably safety. You don't see many busts at safety. Sean Taylor, Troy Polamalu, Roy Williams, Ed Reed and Adam Archuleta were all drafted in the first round over the last four years and they're all starters. Polamalu, Williams and Reed are Pro-Bowlers.

Jerry from Jacksonville:
It seems to me that a lot of teams would be wise to tag their UFAs "transition" instead of "franchise" players, if they don't mind parting with them. They know how much they would have to match after the initial signing and if they don't, they receive a first-round draft choice. Why don't more teams do this?

Vic: I don't like the "transition" tag. In my opinion, it's just a stall tactic. Eventually, you have to make a call on the guy, so make the call now. Do you remember Alonzo Spellman and Quentin Coryatt from 1996 free agency? They were "transition" players and the Jaguars made big offers to both players but the Bears matched for Spellman and the Colts matched for Coryatt. In each case, they were mistakes. The Bears and Colts ended up paying those two guys according to contracts the Jaguars negotiated, so, in effect, the Jaguars decided how the Bears and Colts would spend their salary cap money. Pro football is not a game of maintenance; it is a game of replacement. You gotta let guys go and find new guys to replace them. That's the reality of the free agency/salary cap era. The "franchise" tag is OK if you're trying to protect a premium-position player who has big-time trade value. If I'm the Jaguars, I sure want the "franchise" tag available while I'm negotiating with Marcus Stroud, so he knows I'll use it if he doesn't negotiate purposefully. By and large, however, the tags are overused. Once in a while, it's OK to use the leverage the "franchise" tag offers, but by and large it's better to say goodbye and move on.

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