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We're all draft-eligible

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

Eric from Lakeland, FL:
My question is about these young guys entering the draft, such as Larry Fitzgerald and Mike Williams. I was watching SportsCenter a few nights ago and the reporter had mentioned that five high school kids have also declared themselves eligible for the 2004 NFL draft. I was wondering if, with your inside knowledge on rookie scouting and such, if you could tell us who these kids are. Also, did any of them workout or plan to workout?

Vic: Your question confirms that those five kids have achieved exactly what they wanted: infamy. I read a humorous report on their bios. One kid is from a school that didn't even have a football team. It's all a spoof; they're poking fun at the ridiculousness of our draftmania, and I salute them. My laptop has as much chance of playing in this league as they do. So, let's all chill out, push back, take a deep breath, forget about 40 times, three-cone drills and shuttle runs, and regain our perspective. At some point in our lives, we're all eligible for the NFL draft.

Joe from Green Cove Springs, FL:
If the Jaguars pick other than a WR in the first round, and Rashaun Woods, Michael Clayton and Michael Jenkins are all available at the Jaguars' second-round pick, who would be a better fit for the Jaguars and who is the more polished WR out of that group and might contribute right away?

Vic: My understanding is that Rashaun Woods is that player.

Rob from St. Augustine, FL:
I disagree with Jesse. I think our signings have been great, but I have a question. Why are we getting all hyped up about how good we're doing with the salary cap (with the loss of Brunell, Brackens, etc.) when we never use that money? You get happy with what we're doing but never use it.

Vic: What? What have the Jaguars used to sign Todd Yoder, Tommy Hendricks, Mike Compton, Lewis Sanders, Dewayne Washington, Deon Grant, Greg Favors and Juran Bolden? The Jaguars are in the process of signing more free agents than at any time previous in their history, other than in their inaugural year, when they began with an empty roster. You guys aren't getting it. The Jaguars are in the process of producing the largest net gain in free agency in the league. Just because the names don't excite you doesn't mean they're getting these guys for free rounds of golf.

James from Augusta, GA:
The people I work with say, "No big names, no big gain," well, in my opinion, I think we have made great moves in free agency, because if the players we picked up don't "cut the muster," so to speak, then we can get rid of them and not lose too much. What's your take on this?

Vic: James, I buy cheap watches, but they tell me the right time. And when they break, I throw them away because they were cheap. It saves on watch repair.

Steve from Jacksonville:
Forgive my ignorance, but in the salary-cap era, how is the extra money spent by teams who play in or win a Super Bowl? If the team gets the extra money, what does it go toward, if not salary? And if it's extra bonus money for players, does that in any way count toward that team's cap?

Vic: Postseason money is all free. You don't have to cap it; just spend it.

Tommy from Jacksonville:
So who would you pick at number nine if you were the Jaguars?

Vic: I love your directness, so I'm going to give you a direct answer, and not just best available player, though, in fact, that's who it would be. If you've been keeping up with my value board, you've probably noticed a certain player on the rise. That player is DeAngelo Hall, and I suspect he will continue to rise on my board and might be my best player available when it's the Jaguars' turn to pick. I don't want to hear about all of the cornerbacks the Jaguars have signed. I don't approach the draft in terms of need. I consider value only, and Hall is great value. He's a cut-the-field-in-half cornerback who scores touchdowns returning punts. I don't know how it gets much better than a player who scores and stops the other team from scoring.

Dave from Saint Marys, GA:
I have read your columns almost every day for a few years now and I must say you have converted me on salary cap strategy. My question is: With the recent practice of frequent team changes for players, is it possible for the Jaguars to keep (if it's worth keeping) this core team together for more than three years? Or is that just not the way the system works anymore?

Vic: This is not a game of maintenance. It's a game of replacement. Next!

Daniel from Arcola, IL:
How did Roy Williams and Kenechi Udeze perform in their pro-day workouts yesterday?

Vic: Both players turned in athletic workouts. Roy Williams was sensational, as expected. He ran a sub-4.4 40 and was stellar in the agility drills, as expected. Athleticism is not the issue with Williams; consistency and big-game production are the concerns. Kenechi Udeze reportedly ran a 4.77, and the Jaguars consider that a good time for a big guy, but the problem is Udeze weighed in at 273 pounds, and that's not an especially big guy. Will Smith is only an inch shorter and eight pounds lighter and he ran in the 4.5s. Udeze's workout undoubtedly made him a Jaguars candidate, but I have to believe it also brought Smith more decidedly into the mix.

Mike from Jacksonville:
With the Redskins throwing millions of dollars at their team in order for a quick fix, do you think they will finish up like the Jags and have to start again?

Vic: Yes.

Chad from Palatka, FL:
I can tell some of these fans just don't know jack when it comes to free agency. In the past the Jags have not had any depth; well, they addressed that problem in free agency this year. My question is do you think FSU's Boulware will be available for the second-round pick? He should address the long-term LB problem.

Vic: Michael Boulware is thought to fit at about where the Jaguars are scheduled to select in the second round, but I have my doubts on his availability because Boulware will be very tempting for 3-4 teams who love Boulware's speed, athletic ability, blitz and big-play potential. He's a guy who really needs to be in the right system, and I think the 3-4 is best-suited for him. He's an undersized guy who may require more open-space freedom than the 4-3 permits.

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