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Lazard looking to make an impact with the Jaguars after a stellar career at Iowa State

Lazard said going undrafted gave him a "sickening" feeling.

Jaguars rookie wide receiver Allen Lazard was among the team's most heralded undrafted additions of this past weekend.

Lazard never aspired to receive that designation. The 6-foot-5, 227-pound wide receiver thought he would be selected as early as the third round of the draft.

As he sat in a Buffalo Wild Wings in Ames, Iowa, watching name after name come off the board, Lazard wondered when it would be his turn to find his first NFL home. His moment of realization came after 256 other prospects were drafted and the selection process was complete on Saturday afternoon.

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Lazard said going undrafted gave him a "sickening" feeling. He wanted to be the first Iowa State Cyclone player to be drafted since 2014. He wanted to start a new draft tradition for the school that has meant so much to him and his family throughout his life.

The former four-star prospect from Urbandale, Iowa has been a Cyclone fan since he was a child. His father, Kevin, played for Iowa State from 1990 to 1993. His brother, Anthony, earned his spot on the team as a walk-on in 2013.

Lazard's passion for the Cyclones runs so deep that the then-highly regarded high-school recruit picked Iowa State over notable schools like Notre Dame, Stanford, Nebraska and Iowa.

"My dad did go here and played here, so growing up not too far from campus, it was easy to become a fan, watching the Cyclones play every Saturday," Lazard said during a phone interview with First Coast News on Thursday.

"When it came to the recruiting process, it was just really hard to see myself in another team's jersey. I think that's just what really solidified my commitment, that I couldn't see myself in a Notre Dame jersey or a Stanford uniform."

Lazard made the most of his four-year tenure with the Cyclones. He owns seven program records and is called "the greatest wide receiver in Iowa State history" on the football team's official website.

Lazard led the Cyclones in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns for three-straight seasons. He is one of only two Iowa State players to be named a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection.

On top of all of those accomplishments, he was able to play with his older brother, Anthony, during his college career.

"That was unbelievable," Lazard said, regarding his time with his brother at Iowa State. "I remember the first time he was able to play with me here in college. It was just a great, unbelievable experience just to play alongside him."

Anthony graduated in 2016 and is now a strength and conditioning coach at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri. Lazard said his older brother had to earn his playing time the hard way at Iowa State, an approach the NFL rookie will need to replicate during his career with the Jaguars.

The standout wide receiver will leave Ames in just a few days to take part in Jacksonville's rookie minicamp. It will be a different atmosphere than the one he has been raised in at Iowa State, a place he holds near and dear to his heart.

"I think it's a really a diamond in the rough of a college town, especially for football," Lazard said. "It's a great atmosphere every Saturday and I'm going to miss playing at Jack Trice Stadium for sure."

While Lazard was a productive wide receiver during his college career, there's been some speculation that his position could change in the NFL. The Jaguars view him as a wide receiver, but other teams inquired about his willingness to play tight end during the draft process.

"I got [the tight end question] quite a bit to be honest," Lazard said.

The rookie stated that some teams were worried about his speed, which he claims is an underrated aspect of his game. Despite his big size, he ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Lazard will mostly be looked at as a red-zone weapon early in his career, so his speed may not even matter all that much to begin with. The rookie models his game after Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans, who isn't much faster than the undrafted prospect from Iowa State (4.53 40-yard dash in 2014).

Evans is a massive threat in the red zone. Like the former Pro Bowl wide receiver, Lazard knows how to use his size to his advantage inside the 20-yard line.

"That's where I thrive," Lazard said, regarding his use in the red-zone offense. "I'm able to use my size and my strength to tower over [defensive backs] and be able to go up and get jump balls."

The Jaguars are missing a tall target at wide receiver. When Jacksonville called Lazard to sign him as an undrafted free agent, he saw it as an opportunity to bring his unique traits to the Jaguars' offense.

"Obviously, I was still down in the dumps a little bit, still hurt, but once I started getting those free agency calls, I knew I needed to start looking for where the best fit for me to have success [was]," Lazard said.

"It was easy for me, once I got that call from Jacksonville and have them on the table and what they saw me as. I just knew right away that it was the best spot for me to succeed."

Lazard said the team plans to use him as a red-zone weapon. That role appealed to the rookie, as did the team's recent success and depth chart.

Now in control of his own destiny, Lazard will look to outwork his competition, fueled by the fire that sparked when he was labeled as an undrafted free agent. He is out to prove his fall off draft boards was a massive mistake.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.