Jacksonville Jaguars: Jay Prosch

Jaguars preview: Make-or-break stretch

August, 27, 2014
Aug 27
The Jaguars will face four teams that made the playoffs in 2013 and three of those will come in the first four weeks: at Philadelphia, vs. Indianapolis, and at San Diego. The remaining game in the first month is at Washington, and that's a tough start to the schedule for a franchise that has won just six games in the past two seasons and needs a good start. The Jaguars need to at least be competitive in that stretch to show that the franchise has made some progress in Year 2 of the rebuild. Getting blown out, like they did in the first eight games of 2013, will ruin the offseason momentum generated by the development of Bortles and the stadium renovations that include two pools and the world's largest video boards.

Complete Jaguars season preview.
MOBILE, Ala. -- Here are 10 observations/thoughts from Monday's Senior Bowl practices and interviews:

1. Though there was only one period at the end of South team practice in which the entire offense faced off against the entire defense, Monday was a good day to evaluate the quarterbacks. It was mainly from a mental standpoint, Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said. The offense was put in Sunday night and Monday was the first chance to see how well the quarterbacks transferred it from the meeting room to the field. Fisch said he was pleased with the way Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois), Derek Carr (Fresno State) and David Fales (San Jose State) handled that. There were mistakes and issues, but all the quarterbacks did a solid job.

2. There isn't a lot of size among the quarterbacks for either team, with the exception of Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech), who measured in at an impressive 6-5 5/8 and 250 pounds. Fales (6-1) and Carr (6-2) were both listed at 6-3 on the pre-measurement roster.

[+] EnlargeDee Ford
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillDee Ford, who had 2 sacks in the national title game against Florida State and 10.5 sacks for the season, impressed on Monday at Senior Bowl practices.
3. Maybe it's my SEC background (I covered Florida and the league for 13 seasons), but defensive ends Dee Ford (Auburn) and Chris Smith (Arkansas) were noticeably quicker than the other defensive linemen. It really showed during one-on-one pass-rush drills. Offensive tackles Joel Bitonio (Nevada), Wesley Johnson (Vanderbilt), Ja'Wuan James (Tennessee), Morgan Moses (Virginia) and Billy Turner (North Dakota State) really struggled with those two players on the edge. Turner had a particularly hard time, which is partly to be expected because of the step up in competition. However, it was a bit surprising to see Johnson, James and Moses have issues. The layoff is partly to blame.

4. Ford had 10.5 sacks, including two in the national title game against Florida State, and was consistently beating the tackles around the edge. It'll be interesting to see how he handles coverage responsibilities. He's not really big enough to play a down end (6-2 1/4, 243 pounds) so he'd likely fit in the Jaguars' scheme as a leo.

5. Jon Halapio (Florida) had a rough start in one-on-one run-blocking drills -- defensive tackle Will Sutton (Arizona State) threw him aside pretty easily -- but he rebounded to have a solid performance in the pass-rushing drills. He handled Sutton and tackle Deandre Coleman (California) in pass-rush drills.

6. From the Don't Read Too Much Into This Department: Jaguars GM David Caldwell wandered over to watch some of the one-on-one run-blocking drills and stood next to end Ed Stinson for a while. The two appeared to be chatting while Stinson was sitting out some drills. Stinson weighed in at 292 pounds so he'd be a better fit for the spot that Tyson Alualu plays. The Jaguars were satisfied with the way Alualu played the run last season but they'd like more pass-rush production out that spot.

7. Here's a name to keep an eye on as the draft rolls into the later rounds: defensive tackle Caraun Reid (Princeton). He had a really strong day in run-blocking and pass-rushing drills. He moves very well for his size (6-2 1/8, 301 pounds) and showed good strength and quickness. He tossed guard Gabe Jackson (Mississippi State) aside and got underneath center Bryan Stork (Florida State) and drove him back.

8. Another small-school player that caught my eye was running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (Coastal Carolina), mainly because he's the biggest running back participating this week (6-0, 231 pounds). He had a couple nice runs during the short 11-on-11 period. He ran for 1,742 yards and 27 touchdowns and averaged 6.3 yards per carry last season. He has lost only 20 yards in 356 career carries.

9. Receiver Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) made a nice catch with a DB all over him during 11-on-11. Matthews (6-2, 209 pounds) is a physical player who caught 201 passes the past two seasons. He has good hands, knows how to use his body, and will make the tough catch. He doesn't have top-end speed, but he'll be one of the first several receivers drafted.

10. I wasn't that impressed with fullback Jay Prosch (Auburn), who struggled whenever he had to block an end or on the edge. Granted, there were only a few live periods but he seemed to be much better whenever he had to take on an inside linebacker.

Jaguars bowl guide, part III

January, 3, 2014
Jan 3
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The NFL draft is five months away, but you can do a little scouting over the next few weeks by watching some of the 35 bowl games. It’s a good chance to see some of the players the Jacksonville Jaguars may be interested in drafting, whether the first round or later rounds.

The Jaguars’ biggest needs are quarterback, pass-rusher, interior offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, running back and receiver. Each Friday until the bowl season ends, I’ll give you a list of the games you should watch that involve teams with players at those positions in which the Jaguars could be interested.

Some will be possible first-round targets. Others will be mid- or late-round targets.

One caveat: there are a lot of draft-eligible underclassmen who have yet to declare whether they will return to school. Until they do, they will be included in this list. They’ll be marked with an asterisk (*).


AT&T Cotton Bowl (7:30 p.m. ET, Fox)

Oklahoma State vs. Missouri

Why to watch: Missouri defensive end Michael Sam (6-2, 249) fits the profile of the Jaguars’ LEO position, which is a hybrid end/linebacker. The Jaguars may try to load up on those kinds of players so they can put four on the field on obvious passing downs. Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert has elite speed and rebounded from a disappointing junior season. I don’t think the Jaguars need to address corner in this draft, but he could be too tempting to pass up.

Discover Orange Bowl (8:30 p.m., ESPN)

Clemson vs. Ohio State

Why to watch: Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has slipped down a lot of rankings but he still remains one of the most exciting players in college football. He needs to refine his work in the pocket and the way he sees the field because he’s often too quick to take off and run. There’s some concern about his height (6-1) but he’s got a strong arm. Receiver Sammy Watkins* is one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football. He’s got great hands, speed and run-after-catch ability. Brandon Thomas can play guard or tackle and that versatility helps. Outside linebacker Vic Beasley* (6-3, 225) has 12 sacks this season and more than 20 in his career.

Ohio State’s Braxton Miller* is an elite athlete playing quarterback. His mechanics, ability to read defenses, and accuracy need a lot of work, but he’s dynamic in the open field. Buckeyes running back Carlos Hyde is a physical runner with good size (6-0, 238) and the ability to be a factor in the passing game. He’s not shifty in the open field but he can make guys miss. He may go higher than the Jaguars want to select a running back. Jack Mewhort is Mel Kiper Jr.'s No. 3 senior tackle and he says Mewhort plays like the QB off the line. I don’t think OT is as high a priority as some do, but he’s someone who could be on the radar. Tight end Jeff Heuerman* (6-6, 250) is a name to keep in mind for the later rounds. Outside linebacker Ryan Shazier* isn’t a pass-rusher but excels in coverage. Cornerback Bradley Robey fits the Jaguars’ description of what they want in a corner: big (5-11, 193) and physical.


BBVA Compass Bowl (1 p.m., ESPN)

Vanderbilt vs. Houston

Why to watch: Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews is Kiper's top senior receiver. He’s got good size (6-3, 201 pounds), can make all the catches, and was extremely productive (211 catches for 2,657 yards and 13 TDs in his final two seasons). The only thing he doesn't have is top-end speed. The Jaguars need to add a bigger receiver. Commodores OT Wesley Johnson projects as a guard in the NFL. He'll be a mid- to late-round pick.


Vizio BCS National Championship (8:30 p.m., ESPN)

Florida State vs. Auburn

Why to watch: Every player on FSU’s offensive line has the ability to play on Sundays. Offensive Cameron Erving* is pretty raw but he’s athletic enough to fit at left tackle. Guards Josue Matias* and Tre’ Jackson* are maulers who also move well. Kiper believes center Bryan Stork could be starting next year. Tight end Nick O’Leary* (6-3, 250) isn’t going to help much as a blocker but is a matchup issue in the passing game. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan* is disruptive in the run game despite being a little light at 298 pounds. His quickness is his biggest asset. Outside linebacker Christian Jones can play every linebacker spot. Outside linebacker Telvin Smith is undersized at 210 pounds. Safeties Lamarcus Joyner and Terrence Brooks* are both solid in man coverage of slot receivers. Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson* is a former guard who has developed into a potential first-rounder. His athleticism is his biggest asset. Jay Prosch is one of the country's top fullbacks.