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Too much hate for me

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

Chris from Jacksonville:
Do you really believe Tyson Alualu was on top of Gene's board?

Vic: Yes, I do, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I've always found Gene Smith to be an honest person. He's as straight a shooter as I've ever known. Last night, following the pick, I asked him directly if Alualu was the highest-rated guy on his board when he picked him, and Smith looked me in the eye and said he was. He called him "the next guy." That's good enough for me. Beyond that, however, Alualu isn't the kind of guy you pick if he isn't at the top of your board. According to media value boards, defensive tackle Dan Williams would've fit very nicely here and few would've disagreed with the pick or charged that Williams wasn't at the top of the Jaguars' board. In other words, Smith wasn't trying to win Mel Kiper's or the fans' favor, he was picking to improve his team the best he could. According to the Jaguars' value board, Alualu is the player that would do that.

Ryan from Springfield, MO:
You're beginning to frustrate me. I like you a lot, Vic, and I've been a day-to-day reader since 2006, but your thoughts on not bringing Roethlisberger to Jacksonville are just dumb. Jacksonville is Steeler nation away from Pittsburgh. Ben in Jacksonville would be the second coming. Get real, guy. You of all people should know this.

Vic: I like you, too, Ryan, even though I don't have a clue who you are, but my inbox was jammed with angry e-mails last week about Roethlisberger not being charged with rape. Jaguars fans wanted his scalp, and mine, too, for suggesting that a man is innocent until proven guilty. So what you're saying is that Big Ben would be forgiven if he played for the Jaguars? How about me? Can I be forgiven, too?

Rod from Liverpool, United Kingdom:
I would hate to have to filter through your inbox after the first-round pick.

Vic: I've never been more disappointed in Jaguars fans than I was last night. The e-mails I received left me in a mild state of despair.

Andy from Daytona Beach, FL:
I'm very confused. Why not trade down and get Alualu later in the first?

Vic: You're confused? Don't you think the Jaguars would've traded down if they had found a trade partner? I have no doubt GM Gene knew he was making a pick that would be viewed as unconventional. He knew the pick would be more palatable if he could move down and make it, plus, he wanted more picks. He explained that there were no takers and that he was unable to even create much in the way of discussion with other teams. Meanwhile, he knew another team was hot on Alualu's trail and he talked about monitoring that team's contact with Alualu, so it sounds as though he was concerned about the possibility of that team coming up to get Alualu. Clearly, the Jaguars had targeted Alualu. He was their guy. The more work they did on him, the more he moved up their board. What if C.J. Spiller or Rolando McClain, for example, had still been available? Would Alualu still have been the Jaguars' pick? That's what we'll never know, but I'll tell you this: I got a tip on Wednesday from a source I trust that Alualu was their guy. More on that later.

"Scarf Man" from Jacksonville:
I have two tickets to a Notre Dame home game this season with your name on them. I've brought Pitt fans, a Georgia Tech fan, a Gator fan, Washington fans and Air Force fans to South Bend for games and they all left town wearing giddy, child-like grins. Much like a summer evening at Fenway or a Sunday afternoon at Lambeau, taking in a football Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium epitomizes what we love about sports: history, tradition, legend, mystique.

Vic: When I was a kid, I sat in Pitt Stadium on a blue-gray November day to watch John Huarte lead the undefeated and number one-ranked Irish against a middle-of-the-road Pitt team whose quarterback was Fred Mazurek. In the pregame, the Notre Dame band assembled in the end zone for its charge onto the field. At that point, a scratchy, old Pat O'Brien recording was played over the PA system. I can remember the words verbatim: "Ladies and gentlemen, presenting, the nation's only, band, of the Fighting Irish." At that point the band charged onto the field to the strains of the Notre Dame victory march and I wet my pants. It was one of the best football games I ever saw. Notre Dame won by two points, when Mazurek's knee was incorrectly ruled to have touched down on a fourth-and-two play with Pitt in Notre Dame territory and on the move. Notre Dame got jobbed out of the national title on a terrible call in the USC game, the final game of the year. Two years later, the Irish were undefeated and top-ranked when they went back out to Los Angeles. This time, they hung one on the Trojans they'll never forget, 51-0. It was payback for the jobbing they got two years earlier. You don't have to tell me about Notre Dame tradition.

Raymo from Jacksonville:
Just got finished reading Rick Riley's column on the draft. He put together a tally showing all 32 teams and their count of Pro-Bowl seasons each pick has had from 1997-2007. The Jaguars rank 30 out of 32 with only nine Pro-Bowl seasons. No surprise that Indy and Pitt have the best track records in the draft.

Vic: You are what you draft.

Matthew from Bartow, FL:
I can't imagine how much hate mail you will receive about this pick. I, however, refuse to bash a player I don't know.

Vic: Yours is the most sensible, rational and intelligent statement I read all night. How can you bash a guy you didn't even know existed?

Jay from Jacksonville:
Good call on "Jaguars This Week."

Vic: If you wanna hear an audio clip from the Wednesday radio show, click on this link. I got the tip that morning and I immediately started snooping around. Who gave me the tip? Well, it wasn't GM Gene or head coach Jack or director Terry. Their lips were sealed. Never once in the process did they ever mention Alualu's name. It was as though they had discovered gold and were protecting their strike until they could stake a claim. I have my ways, however, and the info I got checked out. Who gave me the tip? Well, it was my old buddy Tony Pauline. I don't usually give up my sources but in this case I want him to get the credit. He called it and I went with it on the air, and I'm not talking about a subtle hint. If you listened to JTW and it went over your head, then you need a new head. What I didn't know is that the Jaguars loved Alualu enough to make him the 10th pick. That's why Pauline was calling me. He wanted to know if they'd pick him 10th or if picking Alualu was tied to a trade-down scenario. We agreed that it was likely tied to trading down. We were wrong.

Tommy from Newark, DE:
Did you leave Alualu off your all-important value board intentionally to distract us or was he a late addition on your radar screen?

Vic: I left him off my board because the board was posted on Tuesday and I didn't get the tip until Wednesday. That's one reason. The other reason is that I knew very little about him. I keep telling you people that I'm not a scout, I'm a reporter and I use information I gather as a reporter and combine it with opinions I formed from spending my Saturdays in the fall watching college football to create a value board that should not be taken too seriously. It's supposed to be for fun only. Frankly, I think I'm done making value boards. I think that's all for me because it's causing me way too much angst. Next year, the fans can go find somebody else to beat up. I'm tired of it.

Ed from Jacksonville:
I'm impressed with your value board; 26 out of 32. Wow! You do know your stuff. Next year, how about two more rounds?

Vic: Yeah, sure. Thanks for the kind words but that's all for me. I love the draft but this one was not fun for me. I'm going to leave the hate for Mel to have. It kind of hit me yesterday when I overheard someone say that they hate Mel Kiper, but they like to listen to what he says so they can talk to their friends about it and they can hate Kiper together. That's too much hate for me.

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