Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel

Undrafted rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns has taken advantage of the injuries that affected the Jacksonville Jaguars' receivers. The additional reps the former Miami standout took got him noticed and he has earned a longer look during training camp, writes Ken Hornack of Fox Sports Florida.

"Coming in as an undrafted free agent, you're not looking to get that many reps," Hurns said. "But when some guys go down and you get an opportunity, you've got to make the most of it."

His teammates have noticed.

"Allen Hurns had a heck of a camp," quarterback Chad Henne said. "I'm excited to see what he does in training camp once we get the pads on. He's a big, strong receiver and understands the offense ... Just a really reliable guy."

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

USA Today's Jim Corbett writes that offensive tackle Luke Joeckel says Johnny Manziel, his former teammate at Texas A&M, is just being himself.

The Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran lists four things he learned from the last month of organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp. The Jaguars also signed three tryout players.

The T-U's Vito Stellino writes that Gus Bradley warned his players about staying out of trouble during their break.

Bradley will serve as the grand marshal at a parade in his hometown.

Here's the reaction from Bradley and several players about the release of Jason Babin.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles is not interested in jetting around the country, hitting Las Vegas or riding any inflatable swans.

He's much more low-key than Johnny Manziel, which is another example of the laid-back dynamic of the Jaguars' quarterback situation, writes USA Today's Jim Corbett.

"I'm not going anywhere," Bortles said. "I might go home to Orlando to get some clothes. But Johnny's not doing anything wrong. He's 21.''

Jaguars fans are excited about Bortles just as Cleveland fans are excited about Manziel, but Bortles has the benefit of a calm environment in which to develop without any pressure to play this season because Chad Henne is the starter.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

NFL.com's Mark Sessler has Gus Bradley at No. 18 on his list of 25 figures that will make a leap in 2014.

The Florida Times-Union's Hays Carlyon writes that linebacker Dekoda Watson has a lot of catching up to do when he returns from an injured groin.

The T-U's Vito Stellino writes that the Jaguars are going to make some minor changes to their training camp schedule to help avoid injuries.
The Jaguars say they want to keep rookie quarterback Blake Bortles on the bench during the 2014 season so he can develop without the pressure of trying to win games. CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora doesn't believe that'll happen.

In a piece in which he predicts when quarterback changes involving the rookie class may come, he writes that Bortles will be the starter in Week 1.
"... While I believe you can do worse than Chad Henne as your starter, you can also can do a heck of a lot better. With all of the young receivers drafted there the past few years, the Jags' desire to build off last season's strong finish and playing in a division that might be the NFL's worst, I feel Bortles starts to close this gap quickly. As much as the Jags might want to hold him off, I'm not sure they give him a redshirt year. I believe he establishes himself as the best quarterback on their roster in the preseason and the Jags end up letting him open the season under center. ..."
Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

ESPN's Mike Sando takes a look at how Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel may fare if they play this season .

NFL.com's Elliot Harrison has the Jaguars 28th in his post-draft power rankings.

NFL.com's Bucky Brooks writes that the Jaguars got the biggest draft steal in the AFC South when they picked cornerback Aaron Colvin. Here's the rest of his division analysis.

SI.com's Don Banks delves into how the Jaguars use analytics in scouting and the draft.
Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said his goal is to find four or five eventual starters out of this year's draft, which begins with tonight's first round.

To do that, though, he's going to have to hit on all three picks in the first three rounds, writes the Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran. The bulk of the Jaguars' 11 picks come in the 105-179 range. They have two in the fourth round, three in the fifth and two in the sixth.

"Things can change quickly in this league and to stay on pace you want to have three [starters taken per draft]," said NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout. "But when you look at teams who turn things around, they have a draft with five starters. That will turn your franchise around really quick."

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

SI.com's Don Banks writes that he's heard that Johnny Manziel would not like to play in Jacksonville.

NFL.com's Albert Breer lists the Jaguars among the six teams that can control the draft because of their 11 picks.

O'Halloran also writes that the Jaguars have used the extra two weeks before the draft to comparison shop.

The T-U's Hays Carlyon has the Jaguars taking quarterback Blake Bortles in his final mock draft.

NFL.com's Mike Mayock has the Jaguars taking linebacker Khalil Mack in his mock draft.

CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco has the Jaguars also taking Mack in his final mock draft.
Which player should the Jacksonville Jaguars take with the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft? It’s a question GM David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are trying to answer before the first round on Thursday. Not that they are asking, but I’m here to offer some help. Every day until the first round I’ll argue for a certain player. We're going to go with the caveat that each of the players is available when the Jaguars make their selection.

Today I wrap up the series with a push for a trade.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars still have a lot of work to do on the roster.

Matthews
Evans
They need upgrades at nearly every position, with priorities on quarterback, pass rush, receiver and running back. The best chance to find players to fill those roles -- at reasonable cost, which is also important -- is through the draft.

The best way to attack those needs is by trading the No. 3 overall pick.

The Jaguars have 11 picks, and general manager David Caldwell said he would ideally like to have 12-14. Any team that wants to move up to third would have to part with at least three picks, most likely including a second- and third-rounder. Though the roster has improved since Caldwell and Gus Bradley arrived in early 2013, it wouldn’t be out of the question for 10 or more draft picks to make the roster.

There have been rumblings that Atlanta (No. 6), Tampa Bay (No. 7) and Detroit (No. 10) want to move up for a shot at a quarterback, receiver Sammy Watkins, or linebacker Khalil Mack. They would be the most likely trade partners, because Caldwell would rather stay inside the top 10 if possible.

Dropping out of the top four picks pretty much prevents the Jaguars from landing any of the general-accepted four blue-chippers: Watkins, Mack, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and offensive tackle Greg Robinson. But this is a deep draft on offensive talent, and that is where the Jaguars are going to focus most of their attention after a defensive-oriented draft in 2013.

Caldwell would still be able to land a quality receiver, whether it’s Texas A&M’s Mike Evans or LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. Or he could take Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard to pair opposite Dwayne Gratz. Or Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who was perhaps the best player at the Senior Bowl. Or one of the quarterbacks, whether it's Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, or Teddy Bridgewater.

Caldwell also could go with Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews, who draft analysts believe is among the safest picks in the draft. A league source said last week that Caldwell might be targeting Matthews, which if true would mean the Jaguars will have drafted offensive tackles in back-to-back years. They took Luke Joeckel with the No. 2 pick in 2013.

Caldwell said last week that the Jaguars’ chances of trading down would increase if Houston is unable to move the No. 1 pick. As of last Friday Caldwell said he fielded calls from two teams, but declined to say which teams. An educated guess would be that Atlanta is one of the teams based on their reported desire to trade up and Caldwell’s relationship with Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff.

The Jaguars’ roster still has a lot of holes. Trading down for more picks gives them a better chance of getting those filled as quickly as possible.
Forget a safe pick. The Jacksonville Jaguars need to swing for the fence.

Florida Times-Union columnist Gene Frenette writes that general manager David Caldwell needs to take a risk and draft a quarterback with the No. 3 pick in Thursday's first round. Frenette writes that being irrelevant for so long means that any gamble the Jaguars take with a high pick really isn't much of a risk because they don't have much to lose.

Being safe certainly hasn't worked. The Jaguars have had just three winning records in the past 10 seasons, the last coming in 2007. During that time, they drafted only one quarterback. Blaine Gabbert didn't work out, but at least the Jaguars took a chance.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

The T-U gathered reader reaction to the news that Frank Frangie is replacing Brian Sexton as the Jaguars' play-by-play radio announcer.

NFL.com's Marc Sessler lists Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne among the veterans around the league on offense that could lose their job to rookies.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com and The Sports Xchange writes that the Jaguars are likely to target a QB in the second round.

The Monday Morning Quarterback's Greg Bedard writes that the Jaguars should draft Johnny Manziel.
ESPN's Mel Kiper said he would be surprised if the Jacksonville Jaguars took quarterback Johnny Manziel with the No. 3 pick on Thursday night.

But he also believes Jacksonville would be the best fit for the former Texas A&M standout.

His reasoning: The presence of a veteran quarterback, the fact that Manziel can fit any system and the boost in visibility the franchise would get. It's Kiper's second reason that's the most intriguing. Here's what he wrote:
Secondly, the whole "system fit" concept is a little overstated with Manziel. I hear people say you want a system that emphasizes movement, and allows Manziel to freelance. But Manziel's improvisational skills are going to manifest within any system. When current Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley was in Seattle, he saw Russell Wilson move around a lot, but a lot of Wilson's movement came outside the design of the play. Moreover, no QB in this draft was more accurate from the pocket than Manziel was last year at Texas A&M. Manziel is going to improvise, but the system doesn't have to be the genesis of that.
Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

The Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran writes that Tanard Jackson's suspension could be a clue for what to expect regarding Justin Blackmon. He also reacts to Ourlads Scouting's prediction of seven Jaguars picks.

Todd McShay has flip-flopped on which player he expects the Jaguars to take in his sixth mock draft .
Which player should the Jacksonville Jaguars take with the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft? That's a question that GM David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are trying to answer before the first round May 8. Not that they're asking, but I'm here to offer help. Every day until the first round I'll argue for a certain player. We're going to go with the caveat that each of the players is available when the Jaguars make their selection.

Today I make the case for quarterback Blake Bortles. Monday will be quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Remember all that stuff we talked about Thursday regarding Johnny Manziel?

The ability to make plays outside the pocket, to improvise, to extend plays? That all applies to Blake Bortles, too. But there's one additional thing that he has that Manziel doesn't.

Size.

There are no concerns about the former Central Florida standout's frame. He's 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds -- close to ideal size for an NFL quarterback.

[+] EnlargeBlake Bortles
AP Photo/Michael ConroyBlake Bortles' ability to tweak his mechanics so quickly bodes well for his mental maturity.
Bortles isn't as accomplished as Manziel on the collegiate level, but numerous scouts and analysts believe his best football is ahead of him and what happened during his pro day is their best evidence.

There were concerns about Bortles' mechanics and scouts, and analysts dissected his flaws on tape after the Knights' season ended. The biggest issues were 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.

That he was able to clean up those issues relatively quickly is a huge plus about his mental makeup. In addition, there's the report by the Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran on a Jacksonville radio show that Bortles took over the room during a meeting with Jaguars coaches and personnel.

Considering that GM David Caldwell recently said the No. 1 quality he wants in a quarterback is leadership, that's another argument for the Jaguars to take Bortles with the No. 3 overall pick.

There are additional concerns about Bortles because he played in a spread offense and threw a lot of one-read passes. He didn't have to sit in the pocket and go through three or more reads. A lot of the throws were short passes, too. Evaluating him means projecting that he'll be able to adjust to a pro-style offense and become more comfortable taking snaps under center.

But he's the most physically impressive of the big three quarterbacks and he does have the ability to escape and turn a broken play into a big one. There's also less of a worry about him getting hit than Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater. His size will allow him to take more punishment.

The Jaguars have said they don't want a rookie quarterback to play right away. They want him to sit and learn behind Chad Henne. That would benefit Bortles because he has the most upside of any of the top quarterbacks in the draft.

Taking Bortles may not help in 2014, but it would pay off in 2015 and beyond.
Jaguars leo Jason Babin knew that to stay in Jacksonville he was going to have to take a pay cut.

No problem.

"It's a free market and you're only worth what someone is willing to pay you," Babin told Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union. "No matter how you feel about your abilities, that's the cold, hard fact."

Babin said he spoke with other teams but they were offering numbers similar to what he signed for (three years, $8.28 million) and he wanted to remain in Jacksonville because his family likes it here.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

The T-U's Hays Carylon writes that safety is not a high priority in the draft.

NFL.com's Bucky Brooks did a four-round mock draft. His picks for the Jaguars: quarterback Johnny Manziel, defensive end Kyle Van Noy, running back Tre Mason, cornerback Rashaad Reynolds, and linebacker Christian Kirksey.

NFL.com's Adam Schein lists linebacker Khalil Mack as a perfect fit for the Jaguars.

Mel Kiper and Todd McShay did a three-round mock draft. Their picks for the Jaguars included a quarterback in the second round -- just not one that many expected.
Which player should the Jacksonville Jaguars take with the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft? That's a question that general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are trying to answer before the first round on May 8. Not that they're asking, but I'm here to offer some help. Every day until the first round I'll argue for a certain player. We're going to go with the caveat that each of the players is available when the Jaguars make their selection.

Today I make the case for quarterback Johnny Manziel. Friday will be quarterback Blake Bortles.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There is no Andrew Luck in this draft, a can't-miss quarterback that can carry a franchise for 10-15 years.

But there is one available that abused one of the country's top college defenses coached by one of the greatest college football coaches of all time. Twice.

He made All-Americans look confused and silly. He made high draft picks look like walk-ons getting their first playing time. He had coaches throwing up their hands because they didn't know what more they could possibly do to stop him.

So when it's time for the Jaguars to make their pick in next week's NFL draft, they should select Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.

The Jaguars finished 22nd in passing, 31st in rushing, and 31st in total offense and averaged just 15.4 points per game last season, so they desperately need a playmaker on offense. There has been no bigger playmaker in college football than Manziel the past two seasons. He threw for 7,820 yards and 63 touchdowns and ran for 2,169 yards and 30 touchdowns while playing in the toughest conference in the nation.

In two games against Alabama and Nick Saban, Manziel accounted for 907 yards and seven touchdowns of total offense. The Aggies beat the Crimson Tide, which would go on to win the national title, in 2012 but lost by a touchdown in 2013. He rushed for 190 yards in those games and most of that came on scrambles outside the pocket.

Then again, a lot of his passing yards came that way, too, with him running around, juking defenders, and finding receivers for big gains.

Granted, that style is not going to be as successful in the NFL. Manziel has to learn to play more from the pocket and quit taking off and running at the first sign of trouble. He has to refine his fundamentals and mechanics so he's not relying on his strong arm and athleticism. He has to get stronger so his somewhat slight frame (5-foot-11 3/4, 207 pounds) can better handle the pounding he's going to take at the NFL level.

That's what coaches are for, though. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo can fix those problems (all but the height, obviously).

But it's the other stuff that makes Manziel special. The ability to escape from trouble, improvise, extend plays with his legs, and make big plays. That's instinctual, and it's Manziel's greatest asset. You have to have all those things to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. Robert Griffin III does, and so does Luck. Unless a quarterback is operating at the level occupied by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, he's got to have the ability to make plays outside the pocket.

Caldwell and Bradley still have work ahead in improving the talent level on the roster. The team won't contend for the playoffs until they do. But adding Manziel can speed up the process a bit.

Though it shouldn't factor into any football decision, there's also this: Adding Manziel would make the Jaguars instantly relevant nationally. The NFL would surely flex a couple Jaguars games to get Manziel on national television. Fans, tired of being the butt of jokes around the country, would revel in the attention.

Manziel isn't a perfect quarterback, but he is the best choice for the Jaguars.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are unlikely to invest a high pick in a linebacker, writes the Florida Times-Union's Hays Carlyon.

That means Khalil Mack isn't going to be the player the Jaguars take with the No. 3 overall pick next week. The position will be addressed but it seems more likely that it would be done in the later rounds. The Jaguars want linebackers who can run and they'll be able to find those kind of players in the fourth and fifth round.

"We’re very scheme specific, especially the outside linebackers,” Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said. “I would say it’s typical [the overall linebacker class]. Lately, there haven’t been a lot of great linebackers. I would rather have us teach them how to cover. If you can find a guy that can rush, you will always be getting some value.”

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

The San Francisco Chronicle's Vic Tafur writes that former Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said he doesn't believe the running back position has been devalued and wondered why teams gave Ben Tate and Toby Gerhart a bunch of money in free agency.

The T-U's Ryan O'Halloran writes that ESPN analyst Jon Gruden really likes quarterback Johnny Manziel and would have taken Teddy Bridgewater off his draft board had he still been coaching.

NFL.com's Adam Schein writes that the Jaguars are one of nine franchises that should draft a QB. He remains skeptical that the Jaguars will do it in the first round, though.

The Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer lists the following players as the five safest picks in the upcoming draft: offensive tackle Jake Matthews, receiver Sammy Watkins, Mack, linebacker C.J. Mosley and guard Zack Martin.

It's interesting that Matthews makes that list because the Jaguars had the former Texas A&M standout in for a visit and a league source says he's one of the players Caldwell may take with the No. 3 pick.
With the extra time before the NFL draft, something has to fill the time. One of the things is the quarterback-dropping theory.

Instead of two or three teams in the Top 5 taking either Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles, those three players are dropping down the mock draft lists into the middle of the first round. One scenario even has Bridgewater lasting until the first pick in the second round.

While writing about the theory, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora says the first team he sees taking a quarterback is Jacksonville at No. 3. The Jaguars went the safe route last season by drafting offensive tackle Luke Joeckel but he expects GM David Caldwell to think long and hard about taking Manziel or Bortles.

La Canfora writes "If I'm picking here, I take Johnny Football, and, after more than just dabbling with the idea of acquiring Tim Tebow a few years back, I wouldn't blame owner Shahid Khan one bit if he was engaged with the concept of having JFF bring his brand to a franchise long-starved for real national appeal."

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

The Florida Times-Union's Vito Stellino writes that Denard Robinson is putting his disappointing rookie season behind him and is excited about having a defined role as a running back in 2014.

Stellino also writes that the third day of the draft is critical to the Jaguars' rebuilding process.

In his 2013 NFL draft do-over, NFL.com's Bucky Brooks says the Jaguars should have taken linebacker Kiko Alonso with the No. 2 overall pick and not Joeckel.

CBSSports.com's Pat Kirwan has the Jaguars taking linebacker Khalil Mack in his latest mock draft.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said on The Dan Patrick Show that the Houston Texans have to pick defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick,

Jacksonville Jaguars mailbag

April, 19, 2014
4/19/14
8:00
AM ET
Got questions about the Jacksonville Jaguars? I'll try to answer a representative selection of them every Saturday. Submit your questions via Twitter to @ESPNdirocco.

 
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Here are highlights from the weekly Jacksonville Jaguars chat. You can find the full transcript here.

Tom (NYC): Obviously Jags want to build talent on the roster through the draft, but all of their multiple-pick rounds are 4th and later. Call me a pessimist but isn't it difficult to find starters in this league that late? Obviously there are some positional exceptions, but I'd feel better if they had a couple of 2's and 3's instead of three in the fifth and two in the sixth. Thanks for the chats, you do a great job.

DiRocco: Thank you. You can find starters in the league, and good ones, in the third and fourth rounds. You can't have elite players at every position. Those guys are the ones you get in the first and second rounds, usually, and then you use the third-fourth rounds to find solid starters. After that, it's sort of hit and miss. You're trying to find role guys or you take a chance on a guy. But, yes, the Jaguars would like more second- and third-round picks. They could get some by dealing the No. 3 pick. We'll have to see.

Joey Higgins-Luckow (Madison, WI): Think it's realistic the Jaguars pass on the quarterback position all together this year, and just build the rest of the positions on the team? I know they like him, but could they really go into the season with just [Chad] Henne and no young quarterback to turn to if Henne doesn't play very well?

DiRocco: No chance. They'll take at least one.

Jason (Washington, DC): What reasons do the Jags have to pass up on [Johnny] Manziel?

DiRocco: His frame is a concern. There's no guarantee that he can become a pocket passer. He's reckless with his throws at times. He doesn't make all his reads before running. Sometimes he'll pass up a sure, easy throw to try and make a big play. But he's a heckuva player, a fantastic broken-play guy, and he's got that "it" factor.

Damian England [via mobile]: I'm a fan of Khalil Mack and hes my choice at 3. If the Jags do go down the route of taking Mack at 3, where does he fit into the Jags defensive scheme?

DiRocco: He plugs right in as an every-down LB. He can play strongside linebacker on first and second down and the leo on third down. He's athletic enough that he could also play weakside linebacker, too. He'd be hard to keep off the field.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Teddy Bridgewater's second visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars certainly indicates genuine interest on the part of general manager David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley.

They spent time with him at the combine, had a private meeting at his pro day and already played host to him on a visit, so it's unlikely they'd waste any additional time and money on Bridgewater if he weren't a legitimate target. But where?

The Jaguars pick third, but it seems unlikely that they would take the former Louisville standout there. Based on recent reports and mock drafts, Bridgewater is dropping in the first round because of his shaky performances at his pro day and in private workouts. ESPN's Mel Kiper actually had him going to Houston with the top pick in the second round in his latest mock draft.

The Jaguars pick seventh in the second round (39th overall) and have 11 total draft picks. One theory has Caldwell putting a deal together to move back into the latter part of the first round -- likely the late teens or early 20s -- and selecting Bridgewater. Saturday's visit could be a final under-the-hood exam to make sure he's the right fit for offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's system.

Caldwell hasn't said which of the big three quarterbacks he likes the best, but he has said it's harder to evaluate quarterbacks who played in spread offenses in college and project how their skills will translate at the NFL level. Bridgewater played in a West Coast pro-style offense at Louisville while Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles played in spread offenses. Draft analysts have said Bridgewater has the best pocket presence of the three and appears to be the most pro-ready of all the quarterbacks in the draft.

But his pro day performance was a bit unsettling -- Bridgewater said it was because he didn't wear a glove like he normally does -- and this latest visit may just be a chance for Caldwell and Bradley to get another look at him.

Regardless of which quarterback the Jaguars take, or when they take him, Caldwell is not budging on Chad Henne as the starter heading into 2014. He wants the rookie to sit back and learn. Maybe it's Bridgewater.

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