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You need some luck on draft day

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

Jon-Michael from Starke, FL:
Which teams are good cap-wise and which teams are bad cap-wise?

Vic: Oakland, Denver and Tennessee are at the top of the bad scale, and Arizona, Baltimore and Minnesota are the three teams in the best salary cap shape.

Wayne from Lincoln, NE:
What is the status of Zach Wiegert for next year?

Vic: He is an unrestricted free agent and is likely to play elsewhere.

Kelly from Jacksonville:
I need your honest opinion. This is not so much a Jaguars question as it is a "city of Jacksonville" question. You see, I was in the middle of all the action in San Diego during Super Bowl week and I saw the impact it had on the city. It was the coolest thing I've ever seen. I fear Jacksonville won't be able to accommodate the fans of the world's biggest sporting event. I don't mean hotel accommodations, I mean all the activities and events that lead up to the game itself. Am I wrong for thinking my beloved city can't handle it, or is it still too early to tell? I hope you have an answer for me.

Vic: Kelly, you've asked the $64,000 question. I can't give you an absolute answer, but I'll give you some food for thought. I can remember covering Super Bowl XIV, where the AFC headquarters was significantly south of Los Angeles, the NFC headquarters was significantly north of LA, and the game was to be played due east in Pasadena. I believe that when you connect the dots it's a 90-mile drive. And it worked out fine. When Jacksonville was awarded Super Bowl XXXIX, I thought a similar regional concept would be a big hit. The shoreline from St. Augustine to southeast Georgia offers inexhaustible entertainment resources, but Jacksonville is promoting a more centrally-located event, for the obvious reasons of increased economic gain. I think there's a risk in that because Jacksonville, clearly, does not offer the resources San Diego, New Orleans or Miami do. I'm putting my faith in Wayne Weaver and the Jacksonville Super Bowl host committee. Weaver has a great track record for getting it done and on time.

Patrick from Fountain Valley, CA:
I strongly believe the Jags need to build up the defense in the draft, however, I also believe the offensive line needs some help, too. Where do you think the Jags should go in the first round?

Vic: Directly to the best player available.

Dan from Chicago, IL:
In my opinion, one of the most questionable positions on the Jags is linebacker. I feel like we have some great young athletes there, but I also think we could use some upgrades, or at least depth. What is your opinion, and which young LBs do you think have a future?

Vic: In my opinion, Akin Ayodele defines what this team needs at linebacker; big, strong, fast and athletic players who have a run-and-hit mentality. For now, I have to stop there.

Paulette from Jacksonville:
We Jag fans aren't interested in how great the team will be in a couple of years. After three losing seasons, we want a championship now. Tell me why free agency doesn't work. If we've got the money, buy the big-time players and let's win lots of games next year. All our Jaguars players leave in a couple of years when they can make more money elsewhere.

Vic: Paulette, yours is a plan for long-term ruin.

Chris from Jacksonville:
I'd like to hear your thoughts on the decision by committee. Do you think this is a marriage that can work here or do you think this is something that could perhaps spell trouble for the future?

Vic: It can work, as long as everyone's agenda is the same: For the good of the franchise.

Tom from Mt. Kisco, NY:
From observing the most recent draft analysis, it seems to me the Jaguars' first-round pick falls too high for them to go after a top WR, such as Charles Rogers or even Andre Johnson. Although I know you are opposed to drafting for need rather than talent, who do you think would be the best player available to the Jags who could not only make an impact but who could also implement the new schemes of coach Jack Del Rio and his staff?

Vic: There is a player in this draft I would love to see fall to the Jaguars. His name is Terrence Newman of Kansas State. I consider him to be a true Rod Woodson-type player; cornerback, punt-returner, play-maker. I have not seen another player of his talent in this year's draft class. He's projected to go around the fifth pick, but I can't help but be reminded of Woodson's draft, 1987. Woodson was projected to go in the same range. He was clearly the athlete of the class; a player for the ages. But the Browns and Cardinals jumped up and addressed needs by mindlessly selecting linebacker Mike Junkin and quarterback Kelly Stouffer, Buffalo went for need in picking linebacker Shane Conlan, and Woodson fell to the Steelers with the 10th pick. That's what I would like to see happen for the Jaguars with Newman. A little luck doesn't hurt.

Jim from St. Marys, GA:
Did I remember this correctly regarding your preseason assessment that Tampa Bay's football team was too old to compete for the Super Bowl title? I believe Jeff Lageman disagreed with your assessment. How about for the 2004 season, do you think Tampa Bay has a chance to compete for the Super Bowl?

Vic: You're right, Jim. So was Jeff. I was wrong. I give the Bucs credit. They did it, and when they lost to the Steelers on Monday night in the next-to-last game of the season, I thought they were dead for sure. Yes, I do think they're old and they clearly have mortgaged their future by trading all of those high picks for Jon Gruden, but it bought them a Super Bowl and they deserve to bask in the glow.

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