Jaguars rookie Blair Brown adapting to the speed of the NFL, focusing on the mental side of the game

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jaguars fifth-round pick Blair Brown was able to stand out during his senior season in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The linebacker was a big fish in a small pond, offering NFL potential in an overlooked division.

He has quickly learned it won't be that easy at the NFL level. Jaguars practices have a bit more urgency than Ohio University's workouts.

"The practice structure, it's a lot different from the transition from college to the NFL," Brown said on Thursday.

"It's just so much faster. The first day - actually the first couple of days I was out here - it was kind of hard to keep up, but I feel like I'm getting used to it. Yeah, it's way faster than college."

The 6-foot, 238-pound linebacker produced 266 tackles (25.5 for loss) and 5.5 sacks during his time with the Bobcats. He was a first-team All-MAC selection as a senior and ranked first in the nation in tackling efficiency, according to Pro Football Focus.

None of that matters at this point.

Brown is re-learning the linebacker position at the NFL level. In the early stages of the offseason program, Brown and his younger defensive teammates are being forced to observer instead of attack.

They aren't allowed to tackle. Instead, they are working on being in the right place at the right time.

"It's a lot of mental [work]," Brown said. "Right now, we're just trying to get down the defense and just get in our run fits and read blocks, so it's a lot of mental stuff. As a linebacker, we're kind of getting our hands on linemen, so that's pretty good, but it's all kind of mental right now."

Brown will serve as a backup weak-side linebacker for the Jaguars behind veteran Telvin Smith. While he probably won't see a ton of time on defense, he has to be prepared in case his number is called.

The rookie is also focused on special teams. The bulk of his work - at least early on - will be in the game's third phase.

He is preparing to be an asset in that department.

"As of right now, I'm working on everything, just trying to get better at everything," Brown said after practice. "I'm talking to all of the older guys, trying to get my position down as best as I can, but a lot of what's going to happen this year I feel like is going to be special teams and I feel like I'll play a good role on our special teams."

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

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