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Tough draft to predict


Draft talk is usually a lot of fun, but the banter this year is starting to become a little annoying. What is it about this draft that has caused fans and draftniks alike to get so wild with their opinions and predictions?

E-mail to "Ask Vic" the past few days has demanded the Jaguars do everything from trading up to pick Cedric Benson to trading away this year's first-round pick for a first-round pick in next year's draft.

Fan opinion wants the Jags to pick everyone; not just one guy, but every guy. Of the 32 players who will be selected in the first round of this weekend's draft, potentially 25 of those players will have been targeted by fans as the guy the Jags should pick. Now, if you do the math, the majority of those guys will probably be selected by teams ahead of the Jags, right? And you can't pick a guy who's already been picked, right?

OK, what's the problem with this draft? Why are fans and draftniks acting so irrationally?

Well, the problem lies with the great divergence of opinion on this year's talent pool. We knew who the top guys were last year. We knew Larry Fitzgerald, Eli Manning, Roy Williams, Robert Gallery, Kellen Winslow, Sean Taylor, etc. were going to be top-10 picks. In fact, it wasn't until the ninth pick of the draft, when the Jaguars selected Reggie Williams, that we had a surprise selection.

This year's draft, however, doesn't offer that kind of predictability. For example, there are two quarterbacks in this draft who are considered to be top guys and the top two teams in the order have desperate need at the quarterback position, but we can't say for sure that either team will pick one of those quarterbacks.

We feel pretty sure that Benson, Ronnie Brown and Braylon Edwards are sure-fire top-10 picks, but we don't have the kind of consensus we had last year. Even the draftniks are in extreme disagreement.

Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers, for example, is a player thought to be on the rise. A lot of draftniks believe Rogers is one of the gems of this year's crop, and that Rogers has passed both Adam Jones and Antrel Rolle in the rankings. One draftnik, however, says Rogers is the most overrated player in the draft.

Then there's Oklahoma defensive end Dan Cody, a big guy with size potential and huge upside. Nobody plays harder than Cody and when you couple all of that with the fact that he plays a position of great demand, you would think Cody would be a certain top-10 pick. He almost certainly, however, won't be a top-10 pick because there's the matter of a depression issue in his background, and that immediately brings to mind the Vikings' selection of Dimitrius Underwood, and that's causing teams to take Cody's name off their boards.

This draft is full of risky players. Derrick Johnson is having his instincts and toughness questioned. Erasmus James has a history of injuries and is feared to have a hip problem. Travis Johnson is a one-year wonder, David Pollack is awfully small for a defensive end, Shawne Merriman is a classic "tweener," and Troy Williamson is coming out as a junior and played in a 1950's pass-offense at South Carolina.

Maybe it's time we all take a chill pill and leave this to the experts. Hey, the personnel boys get paid to get this right. It's not our job, it's theirs. It's a crystal-ball business, right? All we have to do is look back and say they should've done this or they should've done that.

But that's not fair or fun. We all need to go on record with ourselves. Make your pick, then stand by it. Here's who I think the Jags will pick, in order and according to availability.

  1. Carlos Rogers
  1. Jammal Brown
  1. Mark Clayton
  1. Fabian Washington
  1. Heath Miller
  1. Thomas Davis
  1. Troy Williamson

I'm assuming, of course, that a lot of other players who might be ranked higher will be gone. That might be a mistake.

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