Among the several notable athletes at the University of Miami's pro day, one in particular stood out from the crowd.
It wasn't future Carolina Panthers fifth-round pick Corn Elder. It wasn't future Detroit Lions sixth-round pick Brad Kaaya.
It wasn't even future Cleveland Browns first-round pick David Njoku.
It was Hurricanes fullback and future Jaguars seventh-round pick Marquez Williams.
While he clearly wasn't the most talented player in Coral Gables on that day in March, he was easily the hardest to miss.
The boulder-shaped fullback took part in several drills, showing impressive speed for a man of his size. The big man showed off his change-of-direction, balance and receiving ability in front of scouts from every team in the league.
Longtime Jaguars scout Tim Mingey was in attendance to watch Williams perform.
A graduate student from Division 2 Mars Hill University, Williams only played one season at Miami. He had to make the most of his field drills to catch the scouts' attention.
He easily accomplished his goal.
Williams told reporters that he had dropped from 280 pounds to a svelte 259 pounds since the end of the season.
Losing more than 20 pounds helped Williams on that hot day. He ran in the 4.78-second range in the 40-yard dash, despite still looking like a brick house.
The 6-foot-1 fullback said he used to run much quicker during his prep days.
"When I was in high school, I ran a 4.6," Williams said. "Back when I was 230 [pounds]."
Williams felt "great about the number." He also felt good about his positional drills.
"I was able to take off some of the weight, and move a little better and that [show] I could a little bit," Williams said. "I don't think I did quite as well as I wanted to in the short shuttle, as far as just showing my agility, but overall [I showed] that I could run, that I could trim down and that I could catch the ball out of the backfield."
Williams plays a position that has lost its luster in the NFL. Some teams don't even use a fullback.
Williams told First Coast News that fullbacks need to play to their strengths to get attention.
"I think at the fullback position, you just have to find your own niche, you have to find your what you're good at, and just really work at that," Williams said. "Also, playing fullback, even though they're not used in many offenses, you also have to know how to play special teams. I think it's more mental as far as what you can do and then finding your own niche and just working on that."
Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell said Williams was a "bowling ball" on Saturday after drafting him with the 240th pick in the NFL Draft.
The Jaguars want him to knock down defenders like bowling pins, so first-round pick Leonard Fournette can break free for big gains.
Brown has the "makeup to be a great special teams player"
The Jaguars drafted Ohio linebacker Blair Brown with the team's fifth-round pick this past weekend.
The 5-foot-11, 238-pound defender is expected play weak-side linebacker for Jacksonville. He is also going to be asked to play a lot of special teams.
"He is a run and hit guy, very aggressive, instinctive," Jaguars Assistant Director of College Scouting Paul Roell said.
"He is the type of guy where he has all the makeup to be a great special teams player, but what we are trying to do is build up the depth, so if by some unfortunate circumstance we lose one of our starters we have a guy who can step in and we don’t lose a lot from a speed, athleticism standpoint. The fact that he can play both [MIKE and WILL linebacker] is a huge plus because you always want to cross-train your linebackers, especially in the nickel package. He can do both in that one too."
Brown totaled 266 tackles (151 solo), 25.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks during his college career. He missed just three tackles last season and led the Bobcats with 128 takedowns as a senior.
“I think it was my best season because I really didn’t get injured at all," Brown said. "I was able to play every single game.”
The Jaguars think he can evolve into a very good player on defense. He will play mostly special teams as a rookie, but his future may be in the starting lineup at linebacker.
“Yeah you can even see it on film," Jaguars Director of College Scouting Mark Ellenz said.
"He’s got a lot of range to get outside. He comes down hill. He comes down hill with purpose. He’s got a lot of good edge to him as we like to call it, very physical player, really loves football. He’s into it. Kind of meets all the criteria that we’re looking for in a linebacker.”
- The Jaguars signed/drafted four players who played or were invited to the Reese's Senior Bowl in January.
Illinois defensive end Carroll Phillips, Tennessee State cornerback Ezra Robinson and Syracuse wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo were signed to undrafted free agent deals on Monday. Illinois defensive end Dawuane Smoot was drafted in the third round on Friday.
I was looking through my Senior Bowl notes and found this gem from my recap of Day 3 of practices:
"It was a good day to be a pass rusher on the North side. Illinois defensive end Dawuane Smoot has shown an awesome ability to bend around the edge. He has a particularly strong motor."
While I hadn't watched his tape prior to his selection by the Jaguars, Smoot did make an impression in Mobile.
- Along with the Senior Bowl signees, the Jaguars signed four players who were invited to or played in the East-West Shrine Game.
Middle Tennessee State running back I'Tavius Mathers and cornerback Jeremy Cutrer, Utah defensive end Hunter Dimick and Texas A&M offensive guard Avery Gennesy were all invited to the all-star in St. Petersburg.
Here is what I saw from Mathers:
"Middle Tennessee running back I'Tavius Mathers (5'11", 205 lbs.) really stood out to me. His ability to cut outside and take a corner for a big gain is impressive. He has good hands and displayed solid vision in practice. He is likely to be a gadget player in the NFL.
Mathers actually showed some power too, as he decleated Temple cornerback Nate Hairston (6-foot, 192 lbs.) as the defender tried to push him out of bounds."
I can recall the "decleating" quite vividly. Here's Mathers just going through drills:
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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