The Jaguars are in the middle of their first rookie minicamp under Head Coach Doug Marrone.
The former offensive line coach has 64 players at practice this weekend. The group includes seven draft picks, 16 undrafted free agent, two first-year players and 39 tryout players.
With that many bodies on a practice field, it seems likely that some players would get lost in the shuffle. Still, Marrone said there was a possibility that a tryout player could be added to the roster.
The coaching staff will probably pay attention to the draft picks over everyone. That can make finding a potential gem or two very difficult for evaluators.
These workout invitees are attempting to earn a contract and live a dream. Unfortunately, most are likely to get ignored.
Marrone wants to have the best roster possible entering training camp. With one open spot left on the roster, at least one tryout player may have a shot.
"When I'm looking at the [90-man roster], in my mind, when I see the number 90, which is what we can go to camp with, I want to feel good about going into camp with 90 players that have the ability to help our football team win in some capacity," Marrone said. "Offense, defense and special teams, whatever it may be."
The Jaguars are looking for players that can be successful with their strategies. If a player is underperforming or improvising too often, they could be putting themselves in a pretty poor situation.
"I think at this point, what I have always told the players, is no one is going to make the [final 53-man roster] today," Marrone said. "But you can get cut today if you don't do what we tell you to do and that's the kind of thing about intelligence, playing right, playing smart."
The rookies are not wearing pads this weekend and really haven't done a lot of team drills. That can make evaluating the players even more difficult.
"When we start OTAs and we have someone who is on the ground all the time, potentially where he can injure someone, that player is going to be gone," Marrone said.
"I'm getting that player out of here, because he's going to hurt the team. Now that same player that's doing everything right, is he going to make the team? No, because we're in pajamas. Until we get into full pads, I can't really tell you who can play football and who can't."
Fournette wants to learn with and from new teammates
The rookie minicamp has allowed for the team's new recruits to get know each other. First-round pick Leonard Fournette has been quick to get familiar with his fellow draft picks.
Fournette has even made plans for after minicamp with one of his fellow rookies. He and fourth-round wide receiver Dede Westbrook plan on studying together until the next phase of organized team activities.
"After [rookie minicamp], me and Dede are going to stay here," Fournette said. "Get more into the playbook, get more understanding because we're not done. In order to be the best, you have sacrifice a lot of things."
Speaking of the best, Fournette was quick to compliment Westbrook when asked about the standout of his first minicamp.
"I like Dede," Fournette said. "I think Dede is fast, he competes, we go after each other in any of the type of drills we do."
Fournette has also been working with seventh-round pick Marquez Williams. The fullback will play a key role in helping Fournette pick up yards. The running back is working with Williams to better understand their roles and the Jaguars' playbook.
"I met [Marquez Williams], he's a good dude," Fournette said. "We're learning from each other and we're going to be back there together at the same time and just helping each other out along the way."
More News and Notes
- The Jaguars have discussed signing a fourth quarterback to the roster before training camp.
With limited practice sessions compared to the old days, Marrone said a fourth arm isn't necessarily a need. However, he would like to have the option of a fourth quarterback.
The Jaguars brought in Western Michigan's Zach Terrell, Minnesota's Mitch Leidner and UCF's Justin Holman to compete at the minicamp. Marrone said the fourth quarterback would need to be worthy of a roster spot.
- In other quarterback news, Marrone said starting quarterback Blake Bortles is headed in the right direction with his altered throwing motion.
"I think [the motion has] improved, there's no doubt about it," Marrone said.
- Marrone said Fournette will have to earn his carries. While the team eventually wants him to be the "bell cow" back, he has to show he can handle that amount of work.
For what it's worth, Fournette agrees with that approach.
"I'm still learning from the vets," Fournette said. "I know T.J. [Yeldon], I know Chris [Ivory]. I've been knowing them since I was in high school. I've known T.J. since high school and so has Chris. Just going in under those guys and learning from them as much as I can."
- Rookie left tackle Cam Robinson has been getting back into football shape this weekend. He says there is a difference between being in NFL Combine shape and actual football shape.
- Robinson said he has been impressed by the other offensive linemen at practice. That group includes former Appalachian State center Parker Collins and first-year guard Nila Kasitati.
The rookie said Marrone has been tough on him but attributed that to his coaching style.
- Veteran offensive tackle Branden Albert still hasn't contacted Marrone. The head coach said he is more hurt than angry about the situation. However, he understands the business aspect of the NFL.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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