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Wide receivers over-hyped

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

Mike from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I know you find players where you find players, but what is your initial thoughts on six of nine draft picks coming from non-traditional football schools?

Vic: I'm assuming you're including Rutgers among your non-traditional football schools, so I must ask: Do you realize that Rutgers is the birthplace of college football? I'm serious, Rutgers, not Florida or Florida State, invented college football. Rutgers and Princeton played the first game of intercollegiate football on Nov. 6, 1869, on a plot of ground where the present-day Rutgers gymnasium now stands. Rutgers won, 6-4. That's pretty good tradition, isn't it?

Mike from St. Augustine, FL:
When a complicated trade that involves picks and players happens on draft day (Browns/Jets), is that pretty much worked out ahead of the draft?

Vic: It doesn't have to be. The Browns and Jets probably had conversations before the draft, but the small return the Browns got from the Jets tells me the Browns just wanted out of that pick and were willing to do whatever it took to undercut the competition, which is to say the teams directly behind the Browns, and the Jets probably knew where to go to get a sweetheart deal. There was no doubt in my mind the Browns would be the team to do the deal with the Jets and I said it on the radio. They have a new regime and new regimes want extra picks so they can start cleaning house. The Browns traded back three times in the first round and took their picks count from five to 10.

Chadwin from Oak Ridge, TN:
Were you surprised the Jags did not draft a QB?

Vic: Yeah, I was, because I believed they have need for a young guy and I figured one would present himself at the top of their board in the late rounds. Don't forget, quarterbacks coach Mike Shula threw us that John Parker Wilson hint in one of our combine videos. The fact that the Jaguars didn't address that need confirms to me they stayed with their board because the need for a young quarterback is not a need that most need pickers would ignore.

Ryan from Clyde, OH:
I asked you last year who you thought had the best draft and you said the Cardinals, who ended up in the Super Bowl. What team, in your opinion, had the best draft this year?

Vic: I'll go with Philadelphia, especially when you consider that they used one of their picks to acquire Jason Peters. They selected two perfect-fit players in the first two rounds. Jeremy Maclin will team with DeSean Jackson to give the Eagles a talented receiving combination, but the best Eagles pick may turn out to be running back LeSean McCoy, who's perfect for what the Eagles do, which is to say throw to the running back. McCoy is a younger version of Brian Westbrook. He's an outstanding short-area receiver and cutback runner. Behind that big offensive line, McCoy will be on top of defenders before they see him. Tight end Cornelius Ingram is outstanding value in round five and the Eagles have true need at that position. Fifth-rounder Victor Harris is likely to make the move from cornerback to safety, where the Eagles must replace Brian Dawkins. The Eagles' third pick in the fifth round, offensive tackle Fenuki Tupou, offers rare size and upside that late in the draft.

Will from Jacksonville:
What's with all the undrafted free agents we signed?

Vic: Why not? The drafted players don't count toward the roster limit until they sign contracts, so why not load up on talent you can evaluate until the drafted guys starting signing and you have to start getting rid of people?

Miles from Jacksonville:
Dillard fell because of his 40 time. Is that the only reason? If so, that's a great pick.

Vic: I don't think that's the main reason because his 40 time isn't that bad. Derrick Williams didn't run any better and didn't catch nearly as many passes but Williams went in the third round. Why? Because Williams played at Penn State in the Big 10 and Dillard played at Rice in Conference-USA. Yes, there's a "small school" prejudice. The first 11 wide receivers selected are from the ACC, Big 12, SEC, Big East and Big 10. It's not until the 12th wide receiver selected that a player from a low-profile conference emerges. The second half of the draft is littered with wide receivers from Cal Poly, Brigham Young, Abilene Christian, Rice, McNeese State, Stephen F. Austin, Kent State, Nevada and Utah. The big schools and the big conferences get big exposure and they attract the most scouts. Wide receivers, as a group, are the most overrated, over-hyped, over-drafted and likely-to-fail picks in the draft. Players such as Dillard routinely slip through the cracks.

Brandan from Des Moines, IA:
After hearing Jack Del Rio talk about Mitch King after the combine, do you think the Jags will make a play at him in free agency?

Vic: I asked that very question following the draft and coach Del Rio said it was unlikely the Jaguars would sign King to an undrafted contract because it was unlikely he could make the team, the result of the Jaguars having drafted Terrance Knighton. "He's a good football player, too," said Del Rio, who was taken by surprise by my question because he had gotten so caught up in the picks that he failed to realize King hadn't been selected. I could tell by the look on his face that he truly likes King as a player, but they have to be fair to the undrafted guys. Don't bring in guys if they don't have a legitimate chance to make the team.

Gene from Jacksonville:
On the question of "Beanie" Wells, was the value just not there as you thought or was it more a question of need that made him fall all the way to 31?

Vic: I think he's the steal of the first round. All of a sudden, the Cardinals' luck is changing. My information is that two things caused Wells to fall: 1.) A nagging turf toe injury, which is an injury that has a tendency to linger. 2.) Ohio State didn't throw the ball to him and that caused his outstanding receiving ability to go largely ignored. The Jaguars were high on Wells. Running backs coach Kennedy Pola was crazy about him. Had the Jaguars traded back in the first round, he may have been their pick. Luck has a lot to do with the winners and losers in the draft. Arizona may have benefited from the Jets not trading with the Jaguars.

Benny from Jacksonville:
What did the Jags know about other teams' interest in Derek Cox that made them think he wouldn't be available in the fourth round?

Vic: When a bunch of scouts representing several teams have assembled to watch a player from William and Mary work out, and then that player runs a 4.4 40 and turns in an eye-popping performance, it doesn't take much to know those scouts are going back to their respective teams with a recommendation that they draft the guy. The only knock on Cox is that he's from William and Mary and, you know, that kind of disrespect is starting to grate on me.

Andrew from Toledo, OH:
I watched some Derek Cox highlights and I have to say he looks like a good tackler. This is what the Jags need, since Mathis is not all that physical. Do you think his tackling ability could be over-projected because of the talent he played in college?

Vic: You're a good scout. Cox is a good tackler and, yes, the Jaguars need one of those, especially given the rules changes. Form tacklers are going to be in great demand in this "new NFL" and Cox is a form tackler. He's not a lights-out hitter, he's a form tackler. The one advantage the scouts had in evaluating Cox is that William and Mary played against Virginia Tech and North Carolina State in the last seasons, which afforded the scouts a look at Cox playing against top-level competition and Cox played well in those games. Bill and Mary lost at N.C. State, 34-24, in the final game of the season and Cox intercepted a pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown. In last year's season-opener, Bill and Mary lost by only three points to Richmond, which went on to win the I-AA national title.

Mike from St. Augustine, FL:
I like what the Jaguars have done since Gene Smith has taken over and I'm very thankful for the hard work you and the website put in this weekend. I'm disappointed about the gratuitous and, in my estimation, needless shot at Gator and Seminole fans. You're better than that, Vic.

Vic: I'm really not. By the way, I'm still waiting for that guy to tell me I'm wrong.

Owain from Cardiff, Wales:
Now that you've explained the reasoning behind the Cox pick, what's your opinion? I always thought you didn't like gambling on boom or bust guys.

Vic: You're just not getting it. The Jaguars don't think it's a gamble. If he played at Notre Dame, nobody would have a problem with this pick, even though William and Mary would probably beat Notre Dame.

Chris from Crestview, FL:
I know what everyone is saying, but do you think the Jags picked according to BAP?

Vic: In my opinion, and it is formed from secret information I have acquired from reliable and anonymous sources I would go to jail to protect, the Jaguars absolutely drafted the highest-rated player on their board for every pick except the last one, Tiquan Underwood, who was only a player or two removed from the top spot. Why Underwood? Because the Jaguars wanted him and his speed and he was unlikely to sign with them in free agency after the team had already drafted two wide receivers. It was either draft him or lose him.

Matt from Toad Suck, AR:
The Jaguars don't know what they just signed in Nathan Brown.

Vic: Does he have freakish speed?

Jack from Hamilton, Ontario:
How about the Patriots draft? They always seem to come out on top.

Vic: Bill Belichick wheeled and dealed and I like trading back and adding picks and I love his Darius Butler selection, but I'm not sure how much else he got done. Sometimes you can over-do it. Sometimes you can just keep trading away from good players. We'll see.

Ron from Jacksonville:
You say wide receivers are a dime a dozen and you can get them late in the draft, however, if you look at the best wide receivers in the league (Fitzgerald, Burress, Moss, Holmes, Wayne, Boldin, Johnson, etc.), they're all first and second-rounders. I see few, if any, game-breaking wide receivers chosen in the late rounds. Can you explain why you feel WR can be drafted late?

Vic: You better look again. Steve Smith, Hines Ward and Terrell Owens were third-round picks. Derrick Mason was a fourth-round pick. Steve Breaston was a fifth-round pick. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was a seventh-round pick. Wes Welker and Nate Washington were undrafted, etc.

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