Jaguars second-round pick Cam Robinson is in a bit of a holding pattern as the team awaits the arrival of veteran Branden Albert. Robinson and Albert are expected to compete for the starting left tackle position during training camp.
Albert has been skipping voluntary organized team activities and has only sparingly communicated with the coaching staff. The Jaguars traded a 2018 seventh-round pick to acquire Albert and his $8.9 million salary in March.
Robinson has been working at tackle during workouts. He has impressed his teammates with his eagerness to learn.
“Cam’s been doing a good job," fourth-year lineman Brandon Linder said last week. "All he wants to do is get better. He’s coming out every day, listening to the older guys and stuff like that. He’s been showing good strides.”
OTAs focus heavily on technique. The coaching staff is teaching the players how to practice, which is especially important for the rookies.
The 6-foot-6, 326-pound lineman has been able to take what he has learned and adjust his technique during workouts.
“Cam’s learning every single day and he’s getting better every single day," guard A.J. Cann said. "I see things that are impressive for a young dude.”
Watford believes in Jaguars' talent
In March, veteran offensive lineman Earl Watford signed a two-year, $5 million deal with the Jaguars after four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
During his four-year stint in the desert, Watford and the Cardinals won 41 games and Arizona made the playoffs twice.
Watford (6-4, 295 lbs.) knows what a winning program looks like. He thinks the Jaguars have a talented group that could eventually surpass his success with the Cardinals.
Jacksonville's talent is part of the reason why he signed with the Jaguars.
“It’s a great opportunity for myself in my career at this point, but most of all I think this team has the pieces to make it all the way,” Watford said. “People are happy if we make the playoffs, win more games, but the bigger picture is there’s only one winner and that’s the ultimate goal. But right now, we’re taking it day-by-day, building on pieces, so we’re good.”
Watford's appeal comes from his versatility.
He has started games at right guard and right tackle. The James Madison alum has moved around even further as a backup lineman.
“It helps a lot because in this league you have to play multiple positions,” Watford said. “You never know what can happen, anybody can get hurt, it’s always the next man up. You want don’t want to have a lack in play because someone wasn’t prepared for it. Everybody needs to be ready to go where they need to be.”
Watford is currently battling for a starting guard spot with Cann, Linder and Patrick Omameh.
Journeyman Grant making the most of his opportunities
Jaguars cornerback Doran Grant has bounced around quite a bit in the NFL. The 2015 fourth-round pick spent his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He then served in short practice squad stints with the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants.
Grant eventually ended up with the Jaguars. He was on the team's practice squad from for the majority of last season.
The limited action amidst several stops could have easily hurt his confidence. Grant is a bottom of the roster guy and opportunities are limited.
However, during OTAs, Grant has been offered some relief. Cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Aaron Colvin have missed workouts due to undisclosed injuries, allowing Grant to play in their place.
Grant has broken up several passes and produced a few interceptions while playing with the starters.
“It’s done a lot for my confidence,” Grant said. “Being able to actually come out here and compete, feel like one of the players, I’m feeling pretty good.”
While Bouye returned to the lineup recently, the Jaguars are still missing quite a few defensive backs. In a time where teams work to improve technique and chemistry, the absences have been noticeable.
Grant believes improvement can be made by watching film of himself and his teammates. He also thinks communication is vital.
“It forces you study, it forces you to watch the film,” Grant said. “It forces you to communicate, just to make sure, because if you’re trying to find guys you’re comfortable with, you have to talk to everybody to make sure everybody is comfortable.”
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.