Jacksonville Jaguars Combine Wrap Up: How What Happened in Indy Affects the Jags
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Here's a recap of how the action from the 2013 NFL Combine in Indianapolis affects the Jaguars.
Gus Bradley Looks for a Leo
Thanks to NFL Draft Scout, we have access to the transcripts from all the major interviews from the Combine. Gus Bradley spoke to the media and offered some insights as to what the Jags are looking for, especially on defense:
Anybody that knows our scheme that we've incorporated, we like those rush-type people on the end. We call them 'Leo's.' We had some success in Seattle with them - with Chris Clemons, with Bruce Irvin so we'll take a hard look at the outside linebacker types in the draft.
We can see them work out with the linebackers and defensive line and we'll pay particularly close attention to that.
Bradley was also careful to say nothing meaningful about Blaine Gabbert. In one breath, he made it clear that he was not guaranteed to be the starter in 2013, but then praised him with his next comment. When asked about competition at quarterback, he said:
Not only at quarterback but throughout the whole team. I think our players will understand that. I think there will be a sense of discomfort with our players because we'll be bringing in a lot of competition and it doesn't matter what position.
Obviously we feel good about some of the skill sets we have on the team but the only way we'll truly get better is through competition and we're going to bring that in.
Bradley then went on to say that he thought Gabbert would handle the competition well:
I think he'll respond very well. It's hard because the only conversations we've had have been really general right now.
We've tried to form our own opinion of Blaine by watching tape and until we get a chance to watch him on the practice field, we're going to be excited about that. Thus far, our conversations at a personal level have been tremendous.
In other words, "We'll be fair, but he has to win the job."
His most interesting statements pertained to the read option fad sweeping the NFL. He perhaps tipped his hand as to what the Jaguars won't be looking for in a quarterback for the long term:
It's probably similar to the Wildcat in some ways. It made a lot of defensive coordinators nervous and how much you were going to see of it. I know in the offseason, we were going to put in extended periods of time into looking at what we need to do to slow that down a little bit. It puts some strain.
Is it here to stay? One of the things, in Seattle, they did a good job of,Russell was very sharp as far as executing - he would run out of bounds, he would slide, he would do things to keep him out of harm's way. That's the big thing with quarterbacks. - if they're going to keep the ball and run on the perimeter, they're really opening themselves up to some hits and injuries.
Franchise quarterbacks are so difficult to find, you really need to protect them. Most teams will have a conscious about that.
Caldwell Crushes the Old Regime
There are almost no words for how terrible Gene Smith was as a general manager, but David Caldwell found one: delusional. In his presser, he said:
The delusional part came from the amount of money they spent in free agency last year thinking they may be one or two pieces away and then to come back and have the end result be a 2-14 season. There is a good core of players here that we feel good about it.
We have our work cut out for us. We're going to have a very young team this season and it's going to be built through the draft and through college free agency.
In what should also come as great comfort to fans, he confirmed that the team takes advanced metrics seriously:
It's something we're heavily involved in and dealing with right now. It's just another part of the process – it can help us confirm some of the things we already know and can raise some red flags on some of the things we don't know.It pretty much confirms what we're seeing.
Geno Smith Emerges as the Top Quarterback And Alex Smith Won't be a Jaguar
One of the best things that could happen to the Jags would be for the Chiefs to trade for Alex Smith, burn their first pick on some one other than a quarterback and have someone trade up to get Geno Smith.
Two pieces of that puzzle fell into place. First, Geno Smith had a strong combine, and everyone has him as the top quarterback. Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated emphasized that Geno Smith's performance wasn't legendary, but it was strong enough to generate interest.
The second domino to fall was that rumors of an Alex Smith trade from San Fransisco gathered steam and prompted Caldwell to text the Florida Times-Union to declare that the Jags weren't the target.
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports sees the Kansas City Chiefs as a prime possible destination for the Alex Smith. If that's the case, the Chiefs could be free to use the first overall pick on a position other than quarterback.
There are still a lot of ifs and buts, but any situation where Geno Smith is on the board when the Jaguars pick is a great thing for Jacksonville. Anything that could get them extra picks early in a flat draft will help.
Star Lotulelei has a Heart Condition
Among the big names connected with the Jaguars is the big tackle out of Utah. Unfortunately, Mike Garafolo of USA Today reports that his agent says he has a heart condition and couldn't workout at the draft.
Lotulelei isn't necessarily off anyone's draft list. There will be more tests and information to come, but this recent news certainly won't help his case to be a top-three selection.
If the Jaguars do in fact use their pick, it seems like Bjoern Werner of Florida State continues to be the leading contender.
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