JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Like most rookies on the Jaguars' roster, Leon Jacobs has been going through an adjustment period during his first NFL offseason. However, unlike the vast majority of his fellow first-year players, Jacobs' ability to adapt to his surroundings may lead to a starting role within the Jaguars' defense.
The seventh-round pick has received reps at the strong-side (SAM) linebacker position during the offseason. While the starting spot at SAM is currently filled by second-year linebacker Blair Brown, the depth chart at the position hasn't been set in stone.
"There is a good competition at that linebacker spot for our depth," defensive coordinator Todd Wash said. "We feel that we have six or seven guys that can really play. We will let that shake out once we get into training camp.”
Jacobs worked alongside Brown during organized team activities and this week's mandatory minicamp. Brown is new to the SAM role as well, which puts Jacobs in position to potentially overtake his more experienced competition.
"It's really similar to what I did last year," Jacobs said, regarding the SAM linebacker role. "The coaches incorporate some of the things that I learned at Wisconsin."
Before becoming a permanent linebacker for the Badgers, Jacobs played some snaps at fullback during his college career. The 6-foot-1, 246-pound rookie believes his work on offense helped him become a better defensive player.
"You can tell by tempos and the [offensive] lineman, you can read that, that helps you," Jacobs said. "On defense, that helps you decide whether it's a run or a pass."
Wash has seen Jacobs' brain in action on the practice field. The defensive coordinator has been impressed by the rookie's physical ability and football acumen.
“He is big and strong," Wash said. "You can see him just physically; he is rocked up. He is very heavy handed. He is fast and a quick learner. He really does a nice job of what we are asking him to do, understanding the checks that are within his position, and we look forward to seeing him in pads.”
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.