AFC South: Kevin Norwood



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The pick: The Jaguars addressed perhaps their biggest need by selecting Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles.

My take: It’s a bit of a surprise pick because general manager David Caldwell has already named Chad Henne the starter in 2014 and they weren’t expecting a rookie quarterback to play right away. That means they’re not counting on getting anything from the third overall pick in the draft this season and possibly even into next season. The Jaguars have holes all over the roster and could have gotten immediate impact players by taking linebacker Khalil Mack, who went fifth to Oakland, or wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who went fourth to Buffalo. There’s no question the 6-foot-5, 232-pound Bortles is the most physically impressive quarterback in the draft. He has a big arm and moves well outside the pocket. However, he played in a spread offense that stressed shorter and more horizontal throws in college and will have to learn to play in the pocket.

Fixing flaws: Say this for Bortles: He's conscious of what he needs to do to improve. Analysts highlighted some poor mechanics and fundamentals on 2013 tape, specifically his lower body and footwork. Bortles obviously worked on that pretty hard in the first few months of 2014, because he was much cleaner in his mechanics at his pro day. His balance was better, the ball came out of his hand cleaner, his throwing motion was more economical and, as a result, he threw the ball harder and more accurately.

What’s next: The Jaguars don’t pick again until 39th overall (seventh pick in the second round) and still have pressing needs to address at pass-rusher and receiver. This is a deep draft at receiver, so the Jaguars could put off taking a receiver until the third round. Names to watch include Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews and Alabama’s Kevin Norwood, both of whom were on the South roster the Jaguars coached at the Senior Bowl.
MOBILE, Ala. -- It was a productive week for the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. The information the coaching staff gained by their hands-on experience with the players is invaluable and will certainly help in draft evaluations.

The coaches were able to see how the players handled themselves in meetings, transferred what they learned onto the field, and reacted to unfamiliar situations. That’s information they can’t get at the combine, a school’s pro day, or in interviews. That could be a tie-breaker on draft day.

Here are 10 players from the South team who could end up on the Jaguars’ roster -- either as draft picks or free agents -- by the start of training camp. Obviously, not all of them will be available, but it wouldn’t be surprising if three or four ended up in Jacksonville:

LB Jerry Attaochu (Georgia Tech): He’s one of the players the Jaguars tried out at their "Leo" position (hybrid end/linebacker) and that is where they would play him if they drafted him. He has a good burst off the line and was one of the more athletic linebackers on the roster.

QB Derek Carr (Fresno State): He had the best week of all the South quarterbacks. He’s more polished than the others, and you can tell he has benefited from his older brother’s help. He’s got a quick release, too, although he doesn’t have ideal size (6-foot-2). He’s likely the Jaguars’ top quarterback target if they opt to take a pass-rusher in the first round.

DE Dee Ford (Auburn): Ford is explosive off the edge and blew by offensive tackles all week. He’s only 243 pounds, but his quickness more than makes up for his lack of bulk.

WR Kevin Norwood (Alabama): The Jaguars need to add size to their receiving corps, and Norwood certainly brings that (6-2, 197). He’s got good hands and ball skills. He can make plays on 50-50 balls, which is something the Jaguars lack. The only drawback is he doesn’t have great speed.

C Bryan Stork (Florida State): He might be a little undersized, but the guys at Scouts Inc. -- Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl -- raved about his toughness all week. The Jaguars need a center to replace Brad Meester. Stork is smart and plays with a bit of a nasty edge.

DT Will Sutton (Arizona State): He was the most impressive defensive lineman all week. He doesn’t have ideal size (6-1, 315 pounds) so he’ll have to get by on his quickness. He’s more of a fit as a three-technique tackle, and he has shown the ability to rush the passer from the interior.

RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (Coastal Carolina): What stood out about him was his pass blocking. He was clearly the best this week, and had no trouble locking up linebackers. He has good size (6-0, 231 pounds), runs downhill, and also showed he can be a factor in the passing game.

DE Brent Urban (Virginia): He moves very well despite having a huge frame (6-7, 298 pounds) and did a good job shedding blockers and maintaining the edge. Though he’s more of a run-stuffing end, his length makes him a factor as a pass-rusher. He’s a fit for the spot that Tyson Alualu mans.

OLB Kyle Van Noy (BYU): His athleticism really showed up this week. He was one of several players the Jaguars tried at the "Leo" position, and he did a solid job.

CB Jaylen Watkins (Florida): He’s versatile enough to play inside and outside (he did both in college) and his man coverage skills were the best of the group. He had some good battles with former Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews, who was the best receiver this week. Watkins said his ability to recognize routes and his press coverage skills are because of his experience at Florida, where the Gators play nearly exclusively man coverage.

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