The trend of college quarterbacks converting to wide receiver is waning, and it's one the Jaguars might want to forget after the Matt Jones first-round debacle. Former Liberty quarterback Mike Brown is doing his best to create a position-change success story, even though he has an advantage Jones didn't have—he's only been a full-time quarterback for the last two seasons.
Brown was actually the Big South offensive player of the year in 2009 as a sophomore, making him the first sophomore to win the award in conference history. It's no coincidence that Brown's wide receiver coach at Liberty, Charlie Skalaski, joined Jacksonville's staff as an assistant to head coach Mike Mularkey.
Roger Gonzalez of the Daily Progress reports that Skalaski recommended Brown to the Jaguars for a tryout, and Brown made the most of the opportunity, getting signed to free-agent contract after the rookie minicamp.
Skalaski thinks Brown "absolutely" has a chance to make the team. He has been lining up in the slot, where the gold standard is Wes Welker. Skalaski pointing out that legendary wide receiver coach Jerry Sullivan sees some Wes Welker in Brown is especially illuminating because Sullivan was the wide receiver coach in Miami during Welker's rookie season of 2004.
It's not just wide receiver coaches that like Brown. Skalaski said the whole staff has an "extremely favorable impression" of Brown. General manager Gene Smith agreed that Brown has made a "positive first impression." Smith called Brown a "savvy" football player with good hands and quickness to create separation at the top of his routes.
Brown's "try hard" attitude and hunger stands in stark contrast with Mike Thomas, who seemed to be going through the motions in 2011. If he keeps this up, asking Brown to beat out Cecil Shorts to be the team's fifth receiver might be aiming low. Thomas should be on notice that while his guaranteed money could assure him of a roster spot, it won't guarantee playing time.