JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Myles Jack attended schools on opposite coasts and never played against each other, but the Jacksonville Jaguars' top two draft picks certainly have something in common:
A boatload of frustration.
Both players suffered meniscus injuries that kept them off the field for significant periods of time and were ecstatic to step on the field when training camp began Thursday. Jack's right knee injury was more serious and cost him the majority of the 2015 season at UCLA; Ramsey only missed organized team activities and minicamp. But both are healthy now and eager to figure out where they belong in the Jaguars' defense.
"I just missed this game," Jack said. "My junior year I got injured the third game of the season, so I was a fan of football. I had to watch a whole college season, an NFL season. I was watching Arena ball. I just missed football that much.
"Just to be back out here, it's just fun playing football again."
The past two days have been the most Jack has played since Sept. 17, when he hurt his knee during practice. Jack, whom the Jaguars took with the 36th overall pick, wasn't allowed to participate in OTAs because of the NFL's graduation rule, but he did get on the field for the team's three-day minicamp. However, he got limited reps because he was still overwhelmed a bit with learning the defense, and because he was far behind the rest of the team due to his absence.
To try and catch up, Jack and Jaguars linebacker Jordan Tripp worked out with Seattle linebackers K.J. Wright, Brock Coyle, Bobby Wagner and Kevin Pierre-Louis during the time between June's minicamp and training camp. Wagner and Wright played for Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley when he was Seattle's defensive coordinator.
"Working together and talking about the defense, how they run stuff and how we run stuff, since it's kind of from that same family tree," Jack said, describing the workouts. "Just hearing how those guys see stuff and seeing their vision and their bigger picture of the defense, especially since they won a Super Bowl, how they did it. It's just cool hearing little tips and secrets to how they did it."
Jack said he had a better day Friday than he did Thursday. He's still trying to absorb the defense and he's spending the majority of his time at middle linebacker behind Paul Posluszny. Once Jack gets comfortable there, the Jaguars will start giving him reps at other spots and determine how much he'll be used on third down to take advantage of his speed and coverage ability.
"He's like a sponge in the locker room," Bradley said. "He appears to be a pretty quick study. What I see is even though he might make some mistakes out there, he's playing off his instincts and he's playing fast. And that's what you hope. Sometimes you don't want to overcoach that so much that you take away that part [about playing fast], and that's not what's taking place."
Ramsey, from Florida State, has been one of the more impressive players through the first two days of camp. He ran down receiver Marqise Lee on an end-around on Thursday and held his own against tight end Julius Thomas in pass coverage. Ramsey has been getting reps outside and at the nickel spot, too, which is something the Jaguars weren't sure they'd be able to do, but he has picked things up quickly.
"I was really impressed with him at nickel," Bradley said. "He really jumped in there and boy, it seemed like a lot of the techniques came natural to him. I kept a close eye on him, and that was impressive."
That's coming after Ramsey, whom the Jaguars drafted fifth overall, missed all of OTAs and minicamp after suffering a partially torn meniscus in his right knee during offseason conditioning, an injury he admitted he didn't handle well mentally.
"I feel most people don't realize playing football in the NFL has been a dream of mine since I was 4 or 5 years old," Ramsey said. "You make it there and then you have an injury. It is kind of like you get to your dream and then it is taken away from you, just like that.
"It was tough on me. I had tough days. I was frustrated. I just wanted to play football."
Now they both are.