The Jaguars hosted their annual pre-draft press conference on Friday, six days before the actual action begins in Philadelphia.
The yearly meeting between the head football minds of the Jaguars and the Jacksonville media provides some insight into the process.
Here are some notable nuggets from the event:
- When asked about the possibility of adding Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, the team's leadership refused to address their draft board.
Mixon was caught on camera striking a woman in a sandwich shop in 2014. Some teams have reportedly taken him off their draft boards.
- Head coach Doug Marrone said that he wants his team's identity to be "big, strong, fast, tough and smart." That is a more specific adage than his predecessor's "believe in victory" motto.
- General manager Dave Caldwell said that he didn't need to change his draft philosophy significantly with the arrival of VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. The two have found an understanding. Coughlin said the leadership trio is in agreement with player evaluations.
- Caldwell was quick to note that the team "has to win now," when asked about prospects that could benefit the long-term. He mentioned Lerentee McCray as a pass rusher, when asked about the depth on the edge. However, the general manager admitted that he is never done with addressing any position.
- Caldwell also said the Jaguars haven't made a decision on quarterback Blake Bortles' fifth-year contract option. He mentioned that a decision will be made before the May 3 deadline to extend the deal. Marrone admitted that Bortles needed to take time in California to get his game straightened out.
Caldwell said he wouldn't alert Bortles beforehand if the Jaguars were to select a quarterback.
- Coughlin said there is always consideration for a trade down in the draft. He said that teams always call, but some calls may not be genuine in interest.
Coughlin has not had a Top 5 pick in quite some time. Regarding the early pick, Coughlin noted "we feel like we're going to get a good football player."
- Speaking of trades, Caldwell said he feels like the team has tradable assets. It's a matter of whether or not the team wants to deal them and what assets they could get for those players.
- Marrone was asked about the team's leadership structure and how it could handle a player with character concerns. The head coach said he is still getting a feel for the team's locker room leadership. He isn't sure how the group would react to or handle a character concern addition.
- Coughlin on LSU running back Leonard Fournette: "He's a good football player."
Caldwell said it's easier to draft running backs in the first round now because of the structured salaries. Before the salaries were structured, rookies in the first round were given roughly around the same negotiating power at every position.
- Caldwell said the graduation exemption rule will not impact the drafting of players. However, it will likely impact the additions of undrafted free agents.
Linebacker Myles Jack was forced to miss rookie minicamp and most of last year's offseason program due to the rule.
The rule is defined by the league as "each team must independently verify the final-exam dates for all of the schools for its draftees and free agent rookie signees."
- Best line from Coughlin on the day: "Patience isn't a very good word in this business."
The Jaguars' football boss made the comment when he was asked about the patience given to young pass rushers in the league.
More News and Notes
- Left tackle Branden Albert did not give Marrone a "head's up" about his exclusion from the voluntary workout phase of the offseason program. Albert and Marrone have not communicated since the launch of the program. The head coach said he found that "surprising."
Tight end Marcedes Lewis is also absent from the program. However, he remains in contact with the team and Marrone said he is "dealing with some stuff" in Los Angeles. Marrone and Lewis have agreed that the player should return as soon as possible.
- Caldwell said Jaguars running backs Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon are coming off strong offseasons. He still would be open to adding a running back to the mix.
- Marrone said he is currently concerned about the 77 players on his roster. He hasn't really studied the allocation of positional depth.
He also said he will move around offensive linemen to figure out where the depth and talent is. He wants to start the best five linemen.
- The Jaguars added former Cleveland Browns safety Tracy Howard off waivers. Howard played in 15 games (three starts) as an undrafted rookie last season. He produced 20 tackles.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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