Jacksonville Jaguars: Storm Johnson

Examining the Jacksonville Jaguars' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)
General manager David Caldwell has said he likes to keep three quarterbacks, which means all three will have to be on the active roster, because Stanzi is ineligible for the practice squad. Stanzi should start the season as the No. 2 because he’s more ready to play than Bortles, but that will likely flip-flop at some point. Stephen Morris is a practice squad candidate.

RUNNING BACKS (5)

If the Jags elect to keep only four backs, Todman and Johnson likely would battle for the final spot. That is assuming Robinson continues to be very good in camp. He might end up getting more playing time than any of the other backs after Gerhart if he shows he can be a reliable pass-catcher. Johnson has to prove he can pass block and doesn’t have problems with ball security.

RECEVIERS (6)

The first four players should be locks, but it will be an interesting competition for the final two spots among Brown, Taylor, free-agent signee Tandon Doss, undrafted rookie Allen Hurns, and former practice-squad player Chad Bumphis. Doss missed most of the organized team activities and minicamp because of a calf injury, allowing Taylor, Bumphis and Hurns to get valuable reps. Doss was not a consistent receiver in his three seasons in Baltimore and has more value as a returner, but Sanders’ strength is as a punt returner and the Jags have other options at kickoff returner. I have Taylor narrowly beating out Hurns because of his experience, but I can easily see that being flipped if the Jags want to add more size. Hurns is 6-foot-3; Taylor is 6-0.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

Jensen flashed during OTAs and gets the edge over three other players. He’s a big kid (6-6, 270) who is a raw version of Lewis, one of the league’s best blocking tight ends. Jensen will need a year or two to develop and likely will be used as an extra blocker more than a pass-catcher.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)

Some of the battles for starting jobs along the line are going to be intriguing during camp. Joeckel and Beadles are safe, but every other spot is up for grabs. Even Pasztor, who started 12 games last season, is uncertain because we don’t know how his surgically repaired shoulder will hold up during camp. If it’s fine, then he will win the starting job at right tackle. McClendon and Linder are battling for the right guard spot, and Brewster is going to have to hold off Bowanko and two others to be the starter at center. Bradfield has value because he can play both tackle spots.

DEFENSIVE LINE (10)

This should be the biggest upgraded position on the roster thanks to the additions of Clemons, Bryant and Hood. Despite public perception, Alualu isn’t on the bubble for two reasons: He played solidly last season, and there really isn’t anyone else on the roster as talented as he is to back up Bryant. The Jags are excited about Smith, who could end up playing more than Davis as the No. 3 LEO (hybrid end/linebacker) by the time the season is over.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Either John Lotulelei or J.T. Thomas, two key special teams players last season, could stick if the Jaguars decide to keep an extra linebacker instead of five cornerbacks, or if Hayes’ surgically repaired knee doesn’t respond well. Reynolds did a solid job subbing for Watson (groin) during OTAs and minicamp at the new OTTO position (replaces strongside linebacker).

CORNERBACKS (5)

The Jags will have to decide whether to keep fourth-year player Mike Harris or Jeremy Harris, a seventh-round pick in 2013 who spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a back injury. The 6-2, 185-pound Jeremy Harris is a better fit for what coach Gus Bradley wants in his cornerbacks than the 5-10, 188-pound Mike Harris, who was a member of former GM Gene Smith’s final draft class. Blackmon has been working inside as well, which also makes Mike Harris expendable. Fourth-round draft pick Aaron Colvin will begin the season on the PUP list and doesn't count against the roster limit.

SAFETIES (4)
Chris Prosinski has seemingly been a bubble player since he was drafted in the fourth round in 2011, but there is too much competition for him to survive this time. Martin started 36 games for Carolina in his first five seasons, and that experience gives him the edge. Evans seems to be the name everyone mentions when talking about the first Caldwell draft pick to get cut, but though he might lose his starting job to Guy, he’s likely to stick around at least another year.

SPECIALISTS (3)

These guys should have little or no competition to make the roster.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars return to the practice fields for a mandatory minicamp on Tuesday-Thursday. The workouts on Tuesday (10:40 a.m. - 1 p.m. ET) and Wednesday (10:55 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. ET) are open to the public but fans must register at Jaguars.com.

Here are five things to watch during the minicamp:

The health of the receivers: At one point the Jaguars were down seven receivers because of injuries, which forced the team to sign undrafted rookie Brandon Wimberly and claim Kevin Smith off waivers from Arizona. That really impacted the offense during the final two weeks of organized team activities because the Jaguars were forced to rely on undrafted rookies, former practice squad players, and only one receiver who had caught a pass in a game (Kerry Taylor). Mike Brown (groin) and Ace Sanders (hamstring) returned to the field last Thursday and Cecil Shorts (calf) said he was hoping to return this week. The status of second-round picks Allen Robinson (hamstring) and Marqise Lee (ankle), Tandon Doss (calf), and Lamaar Thomas (knee) won't be known until Tuesday.

The running back battle: Denard Robinson, Jordan Todman and Storm Johnson are fighting for playing time behind starter Toby Gerhart. Robinson looked very good in OTAs and dropped just one pass in the nine workouts -- a significant improvement from his rookie year. Johnson was impressive as well, but he still has to prove he can take care of the ball and can pass block. Todman is the only proven player behind Gerhart but he's going to have to hold off Robinson and Johnson to stay No. 2.

Blake Bortles' progress: After a shaky performance early in OTAs the Jaguars' first-round draft pick bounced back nicely and finished strong. Coach Gus Bradley said Bortles is beginning to look more poised in the huddle and on the field. The interesting thing to watch is how comfortable he is getting with the offense. He's had time to assimilate what they've installed so far so he should be more decisive in his decisions and throws when they run that part of the offense. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and Frank Scelfo are working with Bortles on his lower-body mechanics as well, which should help with velocity and accuracy.

Branching out: Defensive end Andre Branch is one the players that Bradley has consistently praised throughout OTAs. It's hard to judge offensive and defensive linemen until the pads go on, but Branch's quickness off the ball has been noticeable. Branch may never be the elite pass-rusher the Jaguars envisioned when they took him in the second round in 2012 but he's far from the bust he looked like in the first season-and-a-half of his career.

Center of attention: I get a lot of Jaguars fans absolutely crushing center Mike Brewster in my weekly chats, but Bradley said he did solid work in OTAs. Again, it's hard to tell how well linemen are playing until they're in full pads, but the fact that Bradley has praised Brewster should be encouraging.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Here are highlights from the weekly Jacksonville Jaguars chat. You can find the full transcript here.

Kirk (Duval): Out of all of the players new to the roster that you have personally watched, who passed the "eye test" early on that has you excited to watch once the season starts?

DiRocco: That's a good question. Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee top the list, but that's not really going out on a limb. Chris Clemons is obvious, too. Telvin Smith is another because he can really run. If they can bulk him up without affecting his speed then he could be a big-time player. Another young guy I'm intrigued by is TE Marcel Jensen. He's huge (6-6, 270) but really raw. I don't know if he'll make the active roster but I think the Jags would really like to keep him around and see how he develops.

James (Jacksonville): There is a lot of talk about a franchise going to London in the next few years. Do you think Shad Khan isn't committing to a game in London past 2016 because he doesn't want to compete with a potential London-based team?

DiRocco: I wrote a story today about how beneficial playing a home game in London has been for the Jaguars. I think it would continue to be a financial boon for the team to play a home game there on a somewhat regular basis. Every year is asking too much, but three out of five isn't unreasonable provided the team can maintain the marketing rights it has in the UK. As for a team based in London, I don't see that being as close to a reality as some. There are many issues to be worked out, not the least of which are the huge taxes that non-native athletes who play for teams in the UK must pay.

Jarrod (Jacksonville): Mike, this year is Josh Scobee's 10th year with the Jaguars. Will he be making it to a 15th year or will his salary get too large? (assuming he's still hitting the uprights from 50+)

DiRocco: Actually, this will be his 11th season. He's only under contract through the 2015 season, but he most certainly could still kick effectively for several more years. He keeps himself in good shape and he has not had any nagging injuries. It just depends on how much the Jaguars are willing to spend on a kicker and how much money Scobee wants.

Joey Higgins-Luckow (Madison, WI): Branching off your stricter suspension rules, I've never understood why the NFL is so forgiving on DUI's. I'm a 49ers fan and even I would have banned Aldon Smith for life by now. First time, year suspension. Second time, you're done. Simply no reason for it. I believe teams even pay for luxury cab rides to get home. Completely puzzling to me. Sure, the NFL stepped up when [Donte] Stallworth hit and killed someone. But how about we actually punish the action, not just if the action leads to unfortunate results!

DiRocco: Wholeheartedly agree on a zero tolerance penalty for DUIs. Storm Johnson is a seventh-round pick. His salary for 2014 is $420,000. Patrick Lewis was an undrafted free agent and his base salary last season was $405,000. My point is even the lowest-paid players can afford a cab. There is never an excuse for driving while under the influence.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Storm Johnson isn't worried about where he fits in the competition to get playing time behind starter Toby Gerhart.

He's concentrating on just making the 53-man roster and is focusing his energy on earning a spot on special teams first, writes Florida Times-Union columnist Gene Frenette.

"I’m happy to help my team any way I can -- kickoff return, punt coverage, punt return, whatever," said Johnson, who rushed for 1,139 yards and 14 touchdowns at Central Florida last season. "I'm just trying to get my foot in the door."

The Jaguars drafted Johnson in the seventh round and he is competing with Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson to be the No. 2 back behind starter Gerhart.

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

ESPN's Ed Werder reports that the Jaguars don't plan to cut suspended receiver Justin Blackmon. Here's my analysis piece on why.

CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco writes that center is the Jaguars' weakest position.

The T-U's Ryan O'Halloran writes that receiver Cecil Shorts isn't worried about his calf injury.

The T-U's Hays Carlyon writes that quarterback Blake Bortles bounced back with a good workout on Tuesday.
It's getting close to the time when the NFL will announce which team will be featured on "Hark Knocks," the HBO series that documents everything that happens during a team's training camp and preseason. The Jaguars appear to be one of eight finalists, writes NFL.com's Dan Hanzus.

Hanzus writes that he has no inside knowledge of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's thinking, but here are the top eight teams he believes are under consideration: Jaguars, Raiders, Steelers, Bills, Cardinals, Giants, Rams and Bears. Hanzus believes the Bears are the most likely candidate because of quarterback Jay Cutler and his wife, Kristin Cavallari, who appeared on TV shows "Laguna Beach" and "The Hills."

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 running back Storm Johnson likes to think he's the type of player who can put the focus back on the running game.

NFL.com's Chris Wesseling projects the Jaguars' starting lineup.

CBSSports.com's Larry Hartstein writes that three-receiver formations have become standard in today's NFL.

Former Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli told CBS Sports radio that he doesn’t see how it’s logical for former players to file a lawsuit against the NFL since they knew the risk.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars begin organized team activities (OTAs) on Tuesday. While the players are only allowed to wear helmets and are restricted to six hours of work per day it marks the first time the veterans and rookies will be together, so it’s the first chance to get a glimpse at how the team may look in September.

Here are five things to ponder during the 10 OTAs and mandatory minicamp over the next four weeks:

Gerhart
The running back depth chart: Despite the Jaguars' confidence in Toby Gerhart, there is still some doubt among those outside the team over his ability to be a feature back. He has not done it since his days at Stanford, spending the past four seasons backing up Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. The plan is around 20 touches per game, but if he’s not able to handle that workload or be productive, there are not a whole lot of options behind him. Second-year player Jordan Todman, who backed up Maurice Jones-Drew last season and ran for 109 yards in his only start of the season, is the only proven ball carrier behind Gerhart. Denard Robinson has to fix his ball security issues. Seventh-round pick Storm Johnson has quickly become a fan favorite, but he was taken that late for a reason. Moments after drafting him, coach Gus Bradley said Johnson really struggles in pass protection and he also has trouble holding onto the football. After Johnson, it’s undrafted rookies Beau Blankenship and Terrance Cobb.

Who’s No. 5-6? There are four locks to make the team at receiver: Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders, Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson. After that, there’s a wide-open competition for the fifth and sixth spots between Mike Brown, Kerry Taylor, Chad Bumphis, Damian Copeland, Tandon Doss, Allen Hurns and Lamaar Thomas. Doss has more career catches (26) than any of the others, plus he’s got good size (6-foot-2, 205 pounds). However, his issue in Baltimore the past three seasons was running routes consistently and drops. He is a solid kick returner and that gives him an advantage over the others. Brown and Taylor were on the roster last season and have valuable experience in offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch’s system, but so does Hurns, a former Miami standout who played two seasons under Fisch as the Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator.

Henne
Bortles vs. Henne: It’s not really a competition between first-round pick Blake Bortles and veteran Chad Henne at this point, but it will be interesting to see them throwing together. The thing to watch will be the 11-on-11, in which Henne should have a significant advantage. He is completely comfortable in the offense and therefore his throws should be quicker and more decisive. If Bortles looks comparable, that may be a clue the competition in training camp may start off closer than most anticipated.

Joeckel’s return: Luke Joeckel spent only about a quarter at left tackle before suffering a fractured ankle that kept him out for the rest of the 2013 season. He spent all of training camp and the first four weeks at right tackle, so this will essentially be his rookie season at left tackle. Defensive coordinator Bob Babich will at times put four leos on the field on third down, so it’ll be interesting to watch Joeckel match up against some of the pass-rushers. One matchup I’d like to see is Joeckel vs. rookie Chris Smith, who doesn't have prototypical leo size (he’s 6-1) but has long arms and is very quick off the line. The Jaguars want to see Joeckel play the way he did before getting injured against St. Louis when he pretty much stoned Robert Quinn, who went on to record 19 sacks last season.

Safety dance: Johnathan Cyprien is the starting strong safety. That’s set in stone. But the situation at free safety is less certain. Josh Evans (sixth round) and Winston Guy (waiver wire) shared the spot last season, but the Jaguars signed a pair of undrafted rookies -- Craig Loston and Jerome Junior -- to compete with Evans and Guy along with Chris Prosinski, Joe Young and Sherrod Martin. Evans really shouldn’t have been on the field as much as he was last season but was forced into action because of an injury to Dwight Lowery in Week 3. That experience should give him an advantage going into OTAs. This position battle will be one of the more interesting ones to watch throughout training camp and preseason.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Taking a deeper look at each of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ nine draft picks:

Running back Storm Johnson

Round drafted (pick): Seventh (No. 222 overall).

Height and weight: 6-foot, 216 pounds.

Stat(s) to know: In two seasons at Miami and one at Central Florida, Johnson rushed for 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns. … He is the 10th player in UCF history to rush for at least 1,000 yards when he gained 1,139 yards in 2013. … He averaged 5.3 yards per carry in his career.

Where he fits: The Jaguars’ depth chart at running back is a bit jumbled. Free-agent signee Toby Gerhart is No. 1, but there’s still some uncertainty about his ability to be a feature back. The Jaguars believe he can, but he has not done it since his days at Stanford. He spent the past four seasons backing up Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. Behind Gerhart is second-year player Jordan Todman, who backed up Maurice Jones-Drew last season and ran for 109 yards in his only start of the season. In addition, second-year player Denard Robinson is finally spending an entire offseason at one position, and Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said he’s eager to see how much Robinson has improved. Johnson would be fourth on the depth chart, ahead of undrafted rookies Beau Blankenship and Terrance Cobb. Johnson will get a lot of work during the preseason and could quickly rise to No. 3 if Robinson continues to have problems with ball security.

Concern(s): He was a seventh-round pick for a reason. Just moments after drafting Johnson, Bradley told media at a news conference that Johnson’s two biggest weaknesses are pass protection and ball security. Those are the two things that will keep a running back off the field no matter how talented he is at carrying the ball.

Rookie projection: Johnson and Robinson end up fighting for the No. 3 spot all season, which means limited carries. Robinson touched the ball just 20 times in 2013 and that would be a reasonable expectation for Johnson as a rookie.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have a bit of a streak going after signing a draft pick for the third consecutive day.

Cornerback Aaron Colvin, the team's fourth-round pick, signed his contract Wednesday afternoon. He receives a $453,153 signing bonus and the four-year deal is worth $2,673,152.

UPDATE: The Jaguars signed fifth-round pick Chris Smith on Wednesday as well. The former Arkansas defensive end agreed to a four-year deal worth $2,407,252 with a signing bonus of $187,252. Smith is projected to play the leo spot, which is a hybrid end/linebacker, but enters training camp fourth on the depth chart behind Chris Clemons, Jason Babin and Andre Branch.

The Jaguars signed sixth-round pick Luke Bowanko on Monday and seventh-round pick Storm Johnson on Tuesday.

Colvin is probably going to begin the season on the PUP list because he suffered a torn right ACL on the second day of Senior Bowl practices. He's likely not going to be cleared for full contact until later in training camp and GM David Caldwell is planning on Colvin getting on the field in the second half of the season, though how much depends on his grasp of the defense.

The 6-foot, 192-pound Colvin fits the Jaguars' profile for defensive backs and should become the eventual starter opposite Dwayne Gratz.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars now have two of their nine draft picks under contract after seventh-round pick Storm Johnson signed his four-year deal on Tuesday afternoon.

The former Central Florida running back received a $62,728 signing bonus and his four-year contract is worth $2.28 million.

Sixth-round pick Luke Bowanko signed his four-year contract worth $2.31 million on Monday.

That leaves the Jaguars with seven unsigned players, including first-round pick Blake Bortles, the No. 3 overall selection. It shouldn’t be long before they’re all under contract, though. The NFL’s current collective bargaining agreement has taken a lot of the mystery and drama out of signing draft picks. Teams, players and agents pretty much know what a player’s signing bonus and salary will be based on where they were picked.

So it’s not hard to figure out the size of the contract and signing bonuses the seven unsigned picks will receive.

The folks at OverTheCap.com and spotrac.com have put together a rookie wage scale estimate that so far has proven to be accurate. The estimates have been spot on with the reports of contract numbers for picks that have signed.

Here is what they have estimated for the seven unsigned picks:

Bortles (No. 3 overall): $13,341,672 signing bonus and a four-year deal worth $20,654,796. Since he is a first-round pick, the contract also includes an option year that the Jaguars can activate. If they do so, Bortles’ salary in 2018 will be the transition tag number for quarterbacks in 2017.

WR Marqise Lee (No. 39 overall): $2,082,924 signing bonus and a four-year deal worth $5,174,016.

WR Allen Robinson (No. 61 overall): $873,360 signing bonus and a four-year deal worth $3,510,870.

G Brandon Linder (No. 93 overall): $533,600 signing bonus and a four-year deal worth $2,771,100.

CB Aaron Colvin (No. 114 overall): $453,152 signing bonus and a four-year deal worth $2,673,152.

LB Telvin Smith (No. 144 overall): $211,052 signing bonus and a four-year deal worth $2,431,052.

DE Chris Smith (No. 159 overall): $187,252 signing bonus and a four-year deal worth $2,407,252.
There may be a lot of enthusiasm around Jacksonville because of the addition of quarterback Blake Bortles and receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson, but that feeling about the Jaguars isn't the same in other places.

Especially Las Vegas, where oddsmakers have again tabbed the Jaguars as the worst team in 2014.

Not only does sports book CG Technologies have the Jaguars underdogs in their first 15 games of 2014, but LVH sports book sets the team's over/under victory total at 4.5.

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

The T-U's Vito Stellino writes that running back Storm Johnson needs to work on his ball security and pass protection to make the team.

The T-U's Ryan O'Halloran writes that undrafted rookie running back Terrance Cobb is familiar with the role of being an underdog. He also writes that the Jaguars are the only team in the NFL with just one quarterback with game experience on the roster.

Here is the weekly Jaguars mailbag.
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.
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars' draft picks and undrafted free agents have been assigned jersey numbers.

Here's a look at the draft picks and some interesting tidbits about their numbers:

QB Blake Bortles: 5. Other players to wear that number include quarterbacks Quinn Gray and Trent Edwards.

WR Marqise Lee: 11. The best guy to ever wear that number was WR Reggie Williams, which isn't saying a lot.

WR Allen Robinson: 80. TE Kyle Brady wore that number, so that's a good omen. Then again, so did WR Jerry Porter, perhaps the worst free-agent signing in team history.

G Brandon Linder: 65. The Jaguars cut Will Rackley and gave his number to Linder on the same day.

CB Aaron Colvin: 41. The greatest name in Jaguars history wore that number: Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (2011).

LB Telvin Smith: 50. Smith admitted to failing a drug test at the combine and the Jaguars badgered him about it. He's got a lot to prove because the guy who just finished wearing that number, Russell Allen, had impeccable character.

DE Chris Smith: 98. DT John Henderson terrorized opposing linemen in this number.

C Luke Bowanko: 70. Let's hope Bowanko isn't a superstitious guy. Nobody has worn this number for more than a season.

RB Storm Johnson: 34. Backs Alvin Pearman and Stacey Mack are probably the best that have worn this number.

Without going over every single one of the 17 undrafted free agents, most of whom won't make the team, here are some more interesting jersey-related tidbits:

RB Terrance Cobb is wearing No. 38, which has been worn by such Jaguars immortals as C.C. Brown and Darcel McBath. ... If WR Damian Copeland makes the active roster and appears in a game, he'll be the 14th player in Jaguars history wearing No. 83 to do so. ... LB Trevor Gillette can become the first player in team history to appear in a regular-season game wearing No. 47.

Jacksonville Jaguars mailbag

March, 29, 2014
3/29/14
8:00
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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.

 

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