Report Card Grades for the Jacksonville Jaguars' Undrafted Free-Agent Signings

Giancarlo Ferrari-King@@GiancarloKingFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2014

Report Card Grades for the Jacksonville Jaguars' Undrafted Free-Agent Signings

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Jacksonville Jaguars immediately continued to work on their roster after the 2014 NFL draft came to an end.

    Exploring every nook and cranny of the undrafted free-agent market, Jags general manager David Caldwell lured a bunch of guys over to Jacksonville who potentially could help this team transition into the future.

    The first question on most peoples minds is naturally going to be, who are these guys? Looking at the list of names who will be headed to rookie camp, we're able to dive into all facets of their respective games.

    Grading each prospect based on talent, past production and schematic fit, a letter grade was assigned.

    Here's a look at the report card grades for all of the Jaguars' undrafted free-agent signings.

WR Allen Hurns, Miami

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Jaguars' decision to revamp their wide receiving corps continued when the team brought in Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Allen Hurns as an undrafted free agent.

    Hurns was a big part of the Hurricanes' passing attack over the last three seasons he spent in Coral Gables.

    A favorite target of Canes quarterback Stephen Morris, Hurns' biggest season came in 2013. Piecing together a quality campaign where he managed to haul in 62 receptions for 1,162 yards and six touchdowns, the 6'1" wide receiver will now try his hand in the NFL.

    Despite not being drafted, he does have certain traits you like to see in a wide receiver. He works well in open space and can hurt a defense with his great speed.

    Finding ways to create separation from opposing cornerbacks is going to determine whether or not Hurns is able to earn himself a roster spot.

    He may not be a game-breaker, but because of his skill set, there's no harm in bringing him into rookie camp and checking out what he's got to offer.

    Grade: B-

DT Deandre Coleman, California

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    Talking about where the team could use a little help during his post-draft presser, via Jaguars.com, Caldwell said, "I think we’re booked up on defensive ends; we need to look more for the interior guys."

    Enter Cal big man Deandre Coleman.

    As crazy as it sounds, Coleman is actually pretty nimble for a guy who measures in at 6'5" and 314 pounds.

    Because of that, he has the ability to play either a 3-technique defensive tackle or a run-stopping 5-technique defensive end.

    Signing Coleman is a good way to try and find more depth on the defensive line. There were times throughout the whole draft process that he was actually forecasted to be a second- or third-round pick.

    He's a raw talent, there's no doubt about that. The problem is, he's never found a way to put his ability to good use on a weekly basis.

    Grade: B

S Craig Loston, LSU

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    If you're looking for a safety who can eviscerate people, LSU's Craig Loston should be on your iPhone's favorite's list.

    Loston comes to Jacksonville fresh off being one of Les Miles' Baton Rouge bullies.

    A school that breeds NFL-caliber talent—currently there are 53 players from LSU who are on NFL rosters, not counting Loston.

    The Jags have a duo of young safeties in Josh Evans and Johnathan Cyprien. They won't be replaced anytime soon.

    But with Loston, head coach Gus Bradley gets an enforcer.

    He isn't great in coverage, but what he can do is play up in the box and make wide receivers hear footsteps down the middle of the field.

    Loston also may be able to provide value as a special teams player early on.

    If he winds up making the roster, the Jaguars will have themselves a hard-hitting safety who will not only need to fine-tune his technique but also learn how to play smarter overall. 

    Grade: B

WR Damian Copeland, Louisville

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    Garry Jones/Associated Press

    The wide receiver express continued to barrel its way down the tracks when the Jaguars signed undrafted free agent Damian Copeland to a contract.

    Copeland played his college ball at Louisville alongside Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

    Last season he pieced together a solid season for the Cardinals, hauling in 58 receptions for 780 yards and five touchdowns.

    At 5'11", 184 pounds, the only real place for him on this roster would be as a slot wide receiver—a role that second-year man Ace Sanders should be thrust into this season.

    He has sure hands but runs into trouble when it comes to his route running and top-end speed.

    Copeland will have to compete with guys like Kerry Taylor, Allen Hurns, Tandon Doss and Mike Brown for a spot on the Jags' 2014 roster. 

    Grade: C+

QB Stephen Morris, Miami

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    It looks like the Jaguars will have two Florida quarterbacks on their roster heading into camp.

    The front office reached an agreement with Miami field general Stephen Morris to come in and compete this summer.

    Morris is a captivating prospect. At 6'2" and 213 pounds, he doesn't have that "prototypical" husky frame you'd want in a signal-caller. But the guy is a heck of an arm talent.

    Doug Farrar of SI.com mentioned that, "At the Senior Bowl, Morris was nicknamed 'Tin Cup' by some scouts, due to his propensity for making the impossible throws seem routine…and the routine throws seem impossible."

    Morris's biggest issues stem from his inconsistent play. For a kid who can go out there and heave the ball 60 yards downfield without breaking a sweat, he can never quite figure out a way to put it all together.

    The Jaguars could always use more depth at quarterback and Morris could provide that.

    Remember, Morris worked with Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch when Fisch was the Hurricanes' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2011 until he left the team in 2013. 

    Grade: B+ 

OLB/DE Marcus Whitfield, Maryland

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Maryland's Marcus Whitfield is a multifaceted player who spent time lining up as a 3-4 edge-rusher as well as a 4-3 defensive end.

    Whitfield isn't an awe-inspiring athlete but he does have a good feel for getting after the quarterback.

    Last season, after switching over to a 3-4 scheme, he put together his first quality year as a Terrapin. An impressive 15 tackles for loss and nine sacks later, he lands on the Jaguars' roster listed as a linebacker.

    You could make a case for him being a "Leo" defensive end, but that role doesn't seem to suit his abilities. He doesn't showcase any burst coming out of a three-point stance.

    Whitfield will have to transition into a 4-3 strong-side linebacker if he wants to stay in Jacksonville. That transition may not be difficult based on the notion that he's adept at tackling and has a high football IQ.

    The Jags have a need at linebacker which means signing Whitfield was a smart decision. 

    Grade: B+

TE D.J. Tialavea, Utah State

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    USA TODAY Sports

    One of the more confusing signings the Jaguars made after the draft was bringing in Utah State's D.J. Tialavea.

    Tialavea only has 17 career starts to his name at the collegiate level, so anything positive he accomplished can only be looked at in a vacuum.

    However, the problem is that Tialavea didn't really do anything statistically to impress while at school. With just 30 receptions for 198 yards, his time as an Aggie was riddled with injuries.

    Right now, he doesn't look like much more than a blocking tight end. With the Jaguars bringing two other guys to compete for the position, it's going to be tough sledding for the Utah State big man. 

    Grade: D+

CB Rashaad Reynolds, Oregon State

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Like Craig Loston, Oregon State cornerback Rashaad Reynolds was a player projected to be a mid-round pick.

    NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki gave him a 5.47 grade. If you aren't familiar with his grading scale, that puts Reynolds right below the category of "chance to become an NFL starter."

    Nawrocki would go on to explain why he felt that way about the Oregon State cornerback:

    Athletic, sticky coverman whose position-specific traits and consistent performance inspire confidence he has what it takes to contribute readily in the pros. Has starter-caliber physical ability, a natural feel for the game and sterling intangibles. Underrated, low-risk prospect.

    Reynolds comes to a Jaguars' secondary that already has a trio of talented cornerbacks. Alan Ball, Will Blackmon and Dwayne Gratz all managed to finish with positive grades last season, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). 

    Despite the fact that they played well, that doesn't get rid of the need for more cornerbacks—especially ones who are ball hawks.

    It's a shame that Reynolds missed out on all the draft weekend festivities. However, it worked out for the Jaguars. This was one of the better undrafted free-agent signings Caldwell made. 

    Grade: A-

TE Marcel Jensen, Fresno State

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Unlike his rookie counterpart D.J. Tialavea, Fresno State's Marcel Jensen is a special athlete with pass-catching ability.

    Strictly talking from a measurables point of view, Jensen looks the part of an effective tight end. Listed at 6'6" and 259 pounds, he has great hands and can jump out of the building.

    Despite playing in a pass-friendly scheme at Fresno State, it's a little disconcerting that Jensen wasn't overly productive.

    Last season, he managed to corral just 26 passes for 353 yards receiving and three touchdowns.

    But stats aside, Jensen has everything physically you'd want in a tight end.

    Marcedes Lewis and Clay Harbor will be the team's top options heading into camp, but based on talent alone, Jensen could end up procuring himself a roster spot. 

    Grade: B+

OT Josh Wells, James Madison

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    Don Petersen/Associated Press

    James Madison's Josh Wells is a 6'6", 315-pound offensive tackle who played his college ball at a small football school.

    For what it's worth, he certainty looks the part of an NFL offensive lineman.

    The Jaguars could use more bodies on their offensive line. However, Wells' lack of experience playing at a high level will hurt his chances of being anything more than a practice squad player this season.

    Allowing him proper time to work on his game and improve his technique is the best way to put his physical gifts to good use. 

    Grade: C

OG Tyler Shatley, Clemson

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    Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press

    Offensive guard Tyler Shatley comes out of Clemson looking to put his robot-like strength to good use.

    At his pro day, Shatley hoisted up 40 reps on the bench press. A performance worthy of an audience at Muscle Beach, the Clemson guard will attempt to parlay his strength into a roster spot.

    The news that the Jaguars released offensive guard Will Rackley, via Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, bodes well for a player like Shatley. If the team wants to add more weight to their line, he could be the guy they go after.

    A converted defensive player, Shatley has spent the last two seasons as an offensive guard in Death Valley. Of course he'll have to continue to develop his technique, but being "raw" may actually work to his advantage.

    The Jaguars' coaching staff will see a guy with the strength of Bill Goldberg who could be molded into a zone-blocking menace. 

    Grade: A-

TE Reggie Jordan, Missouri Western State

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    Colin E. Braley/Associated Press/Associated Press

    Missouri Western State's Reggie Jordan is the final tight end who will try to become a factor in the Jaguars' passing attack this season.

    Jordan is the most well-rounded tight end of all three undrafted candidates.

    On tape this guy can come down with anything thrown in his direction. He catches the football at its highest point which is a trait you love to see out of tight ends or wide receivers.

    Jordan's great hands combined with his athletic ability—he ran a 4.77-second 40-yard dash at the combine—makes him valuable.

    Like any rookie, Jordan is going to have to show the Jags' coaching staff that he can create separation and improve his route-running ability.

    Still, there's a lot to like about this young man.

    Grade: B+

RB Terrance Cobb, University of Cumberlands

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    All the running back chatter in Jacksonville has been about UCF's Storm Johnson.

    But did you know Johnson wasn't the only tailback Caldwell and Co. went after over the weekend?

    University of Cumberlands' Terrance Cobb is so "under the radar," he could be nominated as King of the small-school prospects.

    He played his college ball in a run-friendly scheme, which always makes it more of a quandary to judge him as a prospect. But what you do see on tape is that he has enough speed to slip away from defenders.

    Regardless, Cobb is going to have prove himself if he wants to crack a running back depth chart that already has four solid options on it—Toby Gerhart, Denard Robinson, Jordan Todman and Johnson. 

    Grade: C+

Additional Undrafted Free Agents

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    USA TODAY Sports

    K Jeff Budzien, Northwestern

    Northwestern's Jeff Budzien likely won't replace longtime Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee this season. That being said, there's nothing wrong with a healthy dose of competition.

    If he can survive rookie camp, it will be interesting how to see how that narrative unfolds in the dog days of August.

    Grade: C

     

    P Chad Zinchini, Tennessee Tech 

    For all of the jokes about the Jaguars taking punter Bryan Anger over Russell Wilson in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, the odds of replacing him are just as ridiculous.

    Anger has managed to become a productive punter with a booming leg. At 25 years old, it also helps that he's still under contract until the end of the 2016 season.

    Blend together all of those factors and you realize that Tennessee Tech's Chad Zinchini doesn't have a great chance of supplanting him as the team's No. 1 punter. 

    Grade: D

     

    DT Ricky Havili-Heimuli, Oregon

    Oregon's Ricky Havili-Heimuli was mainly used as a rotational piece on the Ducks' defensive line, which leaves a lot to be desired.

    The 329-pounder figures to be a defensive tackle in the Jaguars' 4-3 alignment.

    If he can show off enough strength and run-stopping ability in camp, there is an outside shot he could dip into the Jaguars' roster entering the preseason because of his size.

    Grade: B- 

     

    All combine results courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker, unless noted otherwise. All UDFA signings via Jaguars.com, unless noted otherwise. All CFB stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com. All player information via NFLDraftScout.com (h/t CBSSports.com) unless noted otherwise.