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We didn't have Mel

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

Will from Jacksonville:
What is wrong with the readers? I guess they forget that we have scouts that evaluate players 12 months a year and coaches who judge these players and make a value board. I have no doubt that Shack and Jack are smart enough to include the roster strengths and weaknesses as part of their value board. Then, if you draft BAP you are matching need with BAP. Your thoughts?

Vic: You do not include your roster strengths and weaknesses in assigning a grade to a prospect. You grade draft prospects solely on their ability to play football. You don't even grade them relative to the other talent in that draft. You assign a grade and then you rank them according to that grade. That's it; no other way.

John from Tampa, FL:
I think many of the readers and yourself are missing the point on BAP. BAP has been and will always be a subjective assessment. Each team's assessment will be different and there's no clear-cut way to objectively say who is better when comparing a skilled position player with a lineman. However, as you stated before, that is why the player personnel people get paid what they do.

Vic: You think I'm missing the point? You think I don't understand what best available player means? I'm stupid but I'm not that stupid. I learned what best available player means a long time ago, when I was a kid and we moved our hands up the barrel of a baseball bat to see who got first pick. The only difference between that and the draft is that we didn't have Mel Kiper.

Nathan from Richmond, VA:
I just wanted you to know that some of us out here get it. We really do. It's not about the player, it's about the pick. How much can you get for that pick that you have? You have to use that spot you have on draft day to improve your roster the best way possible. If there's no player there that you want, then recoup the value through a trade.

Vic: Yes, you do, in fact, get it. The BAP part is easy. You grade 'em, you rank 'em. Now, just pick from the top. The tough part is finding a way to retain the value of the pick you've been assigned and still address the needs of your team. That requires the expertise of a personnel man who's connected in the league and has "friends" with whom he might deal.

Mark from Panama City Beach, FL:
I loved your game-day blogs this past season. Is it possible you might consider doing one during the draft?

Vic: I plan to blog the first round.

Jorge from Mexico City, Mexico:
What are your thoughts on Kansas City and the AFC West?

Vic: The Chiefs, in my opinion, have the best running back in the league and maybe the best offense overall. Now they have a head coach who knows how to build a defense. It could make for a winning combination. San Diego is making the move to Phillip Rivers. Maybe he'll take the Chargers to a higher plane, or maybe Drew Brees had already done that. The Broncos may be facing a struggle. The situation in Oakland is dreadful.

Daniel from Jacksonville:
You're an angry man, Vic.

Vic: I was getting too soft. The column needed a little edge.

Seth from Jacksonville:
Last week on the radio, "Shack" Harris said the Jags have a BAP philosophy. He then said they would not draft a QB, WR or possibly a few other positions. How on earth is that a BAP philosophy?

Vic: I didn't hear the interview so I'm counting on your reporting skills. If he said that, then what he's describing is a marriage of reason and fundamentalism, which every personnel man will tell you is necessary in today's game. He's saying he'll draft the best available player, excluding those players at these positions. That's not a true BAP philosophy but it's standard operating procedure in the NFL. Please try not to be so rigid that you can't understand the logic behind that compromise. That's the message I'm trying to get across to fans who seem to be struggling with the difference between drafting for need and drafting the BAP. Don't be so rigid. Consider all of the options for recovering the value of that pick. Be open to compromise.

James from Levittown, NY:
Referring to the question David of Jacksonville had, Tony Boselli was the second overall pick. Get your facts straight. What do you say to that?

Vic: Wow! Second overall pick? You're not just being sarcastic, are you?

Josh from Pittsburgh, PA:
I love your value board. When can we expect the first Vic mock draft board? Also, how off were you on your last year's mock draft board?

Vic: We'll post a mock draft on on Wednesday evening, April 26, in conjunction with the mock draft we'll conduct on the "Jaguars This Week" radio show. We do it every year. I'll make a pick, then Brian Sexton will make a pick, then Jeff Lageman will screw it up and we'll continue that way through the first round. I think the picks will appear on as we make them on JTW. As far as last season, I don't have a number but I remember us having a pretty decent batting average and a few salient observations.

Wade from Jacksonville:
Will Alltel be open for a draft-day party?

Vic: I don't think they're going to do a draft-day party at Alltel this year but they may have something else in the works. We'll let you know when plans are ready to be announced. One of the problems with having the event at Alltel this year is that the Jaguars won't pick until number 28, which will probably be after six p.m. It's difficult to keep a party going that long.

Casey from Richmond, VA:
Do you think the Packers should try to appease Brett Favre and improve the team by signing overpriced free agents like Charles Woodson so he'll play one more year, or instead encourage him to ride off into the sunset as the greatest Packer ever and start concentrating on their future?

Vic: If I was in charge of the decision-making in Green Bay, the decision to move on would've already been made and he would've been made aware of that fact long ago. By the way, greatest Packer ever? Easy now.

Weaver from Jacksonville, AR:
I was continually frustrated by the number of times NFL officials injected themselves into the outcome of games last season by having to interpret nebulous rules and making calls after watching replays ad infinitum. With the rules changes, will this phenomenon be compounded?

Vic: Of course it will. The more rules you have, the more problems you're going to have applying them. I was asked last season what I would do to improve the officiating. I said I would tear out half the rulebook and reduce the size of officiating crews by at least one official.

Mike from Jacksonville:
The question about "tweeners" interested me. Who in the NFL today is a successful "tweener?" Robert Mathis?

Vic: Mathis is a very successful "tweener." He's an example of a "tweener" who has succeeded in a 4-3 scheme as a pass-rush specialist. Most of the "tweeners" have found success in 3-4 schemes. Joey Porter was a "tweener." I always thought Willie McGinest was a "tweener." I always thought Tony Brackens was a "tweener" and would've been an absolutely sensational rush backer in a 3-4 scheme. Lageman was a classic "tweener." The first real "tweener" I can remember is a guy named Fred Dean, who was a sensational pass-rusher for the Chargers in the late 1970's and early '80's. Dean was an undersized guy who played on a line with some real big guys and Dean put his right leg back on every down. When he went up against a tackle who couldn't deal with Dean's lightning-fast first step, Dean owned the day. Dean's success sort of gave birth to the role. I wonder how much of Dean's success influenced the role the Giants created for Lawrence Taylor. Was Taylor a "tweener?" Then came Charles Haley, another true "tweener."

Dennis from Orlando, FL:
Many experts are saying this draft is deep at tight end and that the Jags have a pressing need at the position. Do you agree and, if so, which tight end prospects interest you?

Vic: In my opinion, the tight end position isn't premium enough to say you have a pressing need at it. I think you can always find a veteran guy who can block a little and catch a little. On those occasions when you can find a special tight end, such as Tony Gonzalez, go for it. Otherwise, I tend to ascribe to the belief that every wide receiver you have can run faster, jump higher, catch better and do more with the ball after he catches it than the tight end can, so, throw it to a wide receiver. In this draft, the Gonzalez kind of guy is Vernon Davis, but he'll be long gone when the Jags pick. Here's a guy I like: Jeff King of Virginia Tech. He can block and catch but he's undersized and not real fast. He'll be a steal in the late rounds of the draft.

Jeremy from Jacksonville:
Bang it, baby, bang it!

Vic: Now stop. Doesn't it feel good?

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