Jacksonville Jaguars: Mario Williams

Projecting possible Jaguars picks

February, 13, 2014
Feb 13
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars fans, would you be happy if you came out of the upcoming draft with Mario Williams?

What about Clay Matthews? Or Tony Romo?

It's possible, sort of. NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah took five of the top prospects in the NFL draft and compared their potential careers with NFL veterans. Among the five were three players the Jaguars could take with the No. 3 overall pick: Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack and Johnny Manziel.

Or, as Jeremiah compared them to: Williams, Matthews and Romo.

Jeremiah writes that the 6-foot-6, 258-pound Clowney compares to the 6-6, 290-pound Williams because of their size, length power and explosiveness. Houston bypassed several big-time offensive players, including quarterback Matt Leinart and running back Reggie Bush, and took Williams with the No. 1 overall pick in 2006. The Jaguars could do the same thing and take Clowney instead of the top quarterbacks in the draft, including Manziel.

If Clowney could mirror Williams' career, that would turn out to be a sound decision. Williams has 76.5 sacks in eight seasons, including 23.5 in his last two seasons in Buffalo.

The 6-3, 245-pound Mack compares to the 6-3, 258-pound Matthews because of his violent hands, explosion off the line of scrimmage and his relentlessness, Jeremiah writes. Matthews has 50 sacks in his first five seasons, including 23.5 in his first two years with Green Bay.

Jeremiah's Manziel-to-Romo comparison is based on the fact that both have strong enough arms to make any throw, are able to throw on the run and from unorthodox positions, have good pocket awareness and are able to escape pressure. The 6-1, 210-pound Manziel is a much better runner than the 6-2, 219-pound Romo, but it'd be hard to be disappointed if Manziel put up the same kind of passing stats that Romo has in 10 seasons: 64.6 completion percentage, 29,565 yards, 208 touchdowns and 101 interceptions.

My take: The Clowney-Williams comparison makes the most sense because both players have freakish athletic ability to go along with size and speed. If Clowney runs at next week's combine, he's going to generate amazing buzz because he's capable of running in the 4.4s. That seems absurd considering his size, but Jaguars receiver Ace Sanders, who played with Clowney at South Carolina, told me he witnessed Clowney run a sub-4.5 40.

The concern with Mack is the level of competition against which he played while at Buffalo, but he is quick, athletic and has good pass-rush skills. He also holds the NCAA career record for forced fumbles (16) and tied the career mark for tackles for loss (75). The previous record for forced fumbles in a career was 14 and it was held by several players, including Terrell Suggs and Ryan Kerrigan.

Comparing Manziel to any NFL quarterback is tough because he doesn't really completely match anyone. He's a better passer than Michael Vick and Colin Kaepernick, both of whom are better runners.

Five things to watch: Jaguars-Bills

December, 14, 2013
Here are five things to watch in Sunday's Jacksonville Jaguars-Buffalo Bills game at EverBank Field:

Pre-game warmups: If you get there early enough, check out how running back Maurice Jones-Drew, receiver Cecil Shorts, and safety Johnathan Cyprien are moving around. Jones-Drew (hamstring) and Cyprien (thigh) are doubtful while Shorts (groin) is questionable. All three will test their injuries during warm-ups to see if they’re able to play. Coach Gus Bradley said it didn’t look good for Jones-Drew and Cyprien.

Pass rush: The Bills lead the NFL in sacks (44), including 12 by defensive end Mario Williams and eight by defensive end Jerry Hughes. The Jaguars’ offensive line has only given up three sacks in the last two games and effectively neutralized Houston’s J.J. Watt. Williams is the right defensive end and will line up against Cameron Bradfield so keep an eye on that battle.

Trickery: Two weeks ago Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch had Jones-Drew throw a touchdown pass. Last week it was receiver Ace Sanders. What kind of trick play does he have ready for the Bills? Fisch said he doesn’t like to call them trick plays, though. "We want our guys to believe that they’re not trick plays, just part of the offense," he said. "I think that was something I got from Coach [Steve] Spurrier. If we call a double pass it just happened to be a play that we called that game and it could have been like any other play."

Getting his chance: The team’s decision to cut defensive end Jeremy Mincey means more playing time for first-year player Ryan Davis, who was signed from the practice squad on Nov. 15. He has been nearly as effective as Mincey (three sacks, three quarterback pressures). Davis has one sack and four quarterback pressures in just four games. In the first game that Mincey missed after he was late for a team meeting, Davis came up with a game-saving interception in the final minutes.

Secondary issues: The Jaguars are giving up more than 300 yards per game passing since the bye week, but Bills quarterback EJ Manuel has had a rough rookie season and is coming off his worst performance. The Jaguars’ pass rush has been better the past few weeks and the hope is putting pressure on the inexperienced Manuel will result in turnovers. Manuel, however, has shown flashes of elite ability and if there’s any team he’s going to carve up it’ll be the Jaguars, who may be down Cyprien.

Get to know the Buffalo Bills

December, 10, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Buffalo Bills aren't exactly heading to Jacksonville on a roll.

They have lost five of their last six games and have scored more than 17 points just once in the last five games.

The Jaguars, however, do have momentum. They’ve won four of the last five games, including three in a row.

Something will have to give when the teams square off at EverBank Field on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on CBS.

Here’s a look at the Bills:

Record: 4-9.
Last week: lost to Tampa Bay Oakland 27-6.
Coach: Doug Marrone, first season (4-9).
Offensive coordinator: Nathaniel Hackett.
Defensive coordinator: Mike Pettine.
Series record: tied 6-6.


QB EJ Manuel: The rookie quarterback from Florida State has had good days and some terrible days. Last Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay was one of the latter. He completed 18 of 33 passes and threw four interceptions in the loss to the Bucs.

RB C.J. Spiller: Spiller and Fred Jackson share the workload and both have similar numbers. Spiller has 149 carries for 678 yards while Jackson has 157 carries for 645 yards. Jackson has more touchdowns (7-2) but Spiller is more explosive (seven runs of 20 or more yards). However, Spiller is a bit of a feast or famine back. He’s had four games this season in which he has averaged 2 or fewer yards per carry.

TE Scott Chandler: He has 43 receptions for 515 yards and two touchdowns. He’s also averaging 12.0 yards per catch, which is better than receiver Stevie Johnson (51 catches, 593 yards, 11.6 yards per catch).


LB Kiko Alonso: The Bills’ second-round pick out of Oregon is one of the leading candidates for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He leads the Bills in tackles (131) and interceptions (four) and also has two sacks for a defense that ranks sixth against the pass and 15th overall in the NFL.

DE Mario Williams: He’s having one of his better years as a pass-rusher. He is third in the NFL with 12.0 sacks, which is the second-highest total in his career and just two sacks shy of his career-best 14.0 sacks in 2007 for the Houston Texans.

DT Marcell Dareus: He’s one of the better defensive players that most people don’t know about because he plays for a team that’s not on television much. Dareus has seven sacks, three pass deflections, and 60 tackles


Marrone had the captains speak to the team following the loss to the Bucs. He also allowed anyone else who wanted to say a few words to speak as well. … Marrone also said after the Tampa Bay loss that the team is scaling back the offense a bit for Manuel. They feel they may have been giving too much in the game plan and thinning that out will help Manuel become more effective. ... S Jairus Byrd has four interceptions this season and 22 in his career, which puts him 10th on the Bill's all-time list.