Jaguars rookie evaluations

October, 30, 2013
10/30/13
11:45
AM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Now that the Jaguars have reached the midpoint of the season, it's time to take a look at how the 10 rookies on the roster have fared and project their impact in the second half.

S Johnathan Cyprien: He is one of only two players to have been on the field for every defensive snap. He's third on the team with 47 tackles and has forced three fumbles. The second-round pick from Florida International is the physical presence the team wants in the secondary, but he's still getting out of position too often and missing too many tackles. He needs to become more consistent.

[+] EnlargeJohnathan Cyprien, Josh Evans
AP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackJaguars rookies Josh Evans, left, and Johnathan Cyprien need to capitalize on opportunities to make big plays.
S Josh Evans: The sixth-round pick from Florida has played every snap since stepping in for an injured Dwight Lowery against Seattle. It's trial by fire for Evans, who wasn't expected to see this much action this season. But there was no point in taking him out after Lowery's injury. He's having the same problems as Cyprien: He's not cashing in on chances to make big plays. Things are beginning to slow down for Evans (34 tackles) but he has to do a better job of translating his work on the practice field to Sundays.

CB Dwayne Gratz: Gratz started the season opener but suffered a high ankle sprain and missed the next five games. He is slowly working back into the lineup The injury obviously delayed his development and Will Blackmon is playing well enough that Gratz may continue to work as an extra defensive back or sub for a drive or two each game.

DT Abry Jones: The undrafted free agent from Georgia earned praise from head coach Gus Bradley toward the end of the preseason but has played in only three games. He has made just one tackle. Jones' playing time likely won't increase in the second half of the season.

LB John Lotulelei: Lotulelei, an undrafted free agent from UNLV, has played just one snap on defense since the team claimed him off waivers from Seattle on Oct. 3 but has been a big contributor on special teams. He has only one tackle but has already forced a fumble. Don't expect to see him on defense much in the second half of the season.

CB Demetrius McCray: The Jaguars' seventh-round pick has played in six games but got the bulk of his playing time on defense against Seattle (65 plays) because of an injury to Alan Ball. He has five tackles and two pass breakups but is also a key special teams player. Unless there's a rash of injuries, McCray won't play much defense at all in the second half (since the 65 plays vs. Seattle, he has played just five snaps).

LB LaRoy Reynolds: The undrafted free agent from Virginia has not played a snap on defense but is third on the team in special teams tackles (five). At some point the team may want to give him a look on defense late in the season, but his main role is as a special teams player.

WR Denard Robinson: The team was struggling to find a role for the fifth-round pick from Michigan. They tried him at receiver and wildcat quarterback, but issues with his hands ended those experiments. They seem to have settled on him as a running back and he got the most action of his career last week against San Francisco (11 snaps, four carries for 15 yards). He'll get more work behind Maurice Jones-Drew in the second half of the season.

WR/PR Ace Sanders: The fourth-round pick from South Carolina has had an up-and-down first half. He played a lot of snaps and caught 16 passes, but he had several drops the first few games. He also had a punt return for a touchdown called back because of a penalty. He then suffered a concussion against Denver and missed the San Diego game. With Mike Brown's emergence, Sanders played just four snaps on offense against San Francisco. He'll get more snaps on offense than that, but certainly not as many as early in the season. He's also convinced he'll take a punt back for a TD, which is the main role for which the Jaguars drafted him.

LS Carson Tinker: The undrafted free agent from Alabama beat out veteran Jeremy Cain to win the job and has been largely anonymous -- which is what you want out of your long snapper because that means he's doing his job -- with the exception of one bad snap against Denver.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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