NFL Nation: Jeremiah Attaochu

NFC wrap-ups: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South


SAN DIEGO -- A wrap-up of the San Diego Chargers' draft. Click here for a full list of San Diego's draftees.

Best move: The Chargers moved up seven spots in the second round to grab Georgia Tech pass-rusher Jeremiah Attaochu at No. 50. A good athlete with natural pass-rush skills, Attaochu immediately upgrades San Diego’s defense at a position of need. He will get good mentoring and skill development from veterans like Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson. And similar to Bruce Irvin two years ago for Seattle, Attaochu can be successful early as a rookie situational pass-rusher in a limited role.

[+] EnlargeJason Verrett
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsCornerback Jason Verrett is still rehabbing from shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.
Riskiest move: The Chargers bucked the NFL trend of drafting bigger cornerbacks by selecting TCU's Jason Verrett in the first round. At 5-foot-9 and 189 pounds, Verrett checks all of the boxes in terms of toughness, speed, football awareness and ball hawking skills. But there will be questions about whether Verrett can play on the perimeter against bigger receivers in the NFL. Verrett is still rehabbing from shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum and could miss the beginning of training camp. So how much Verrett can contribute at the beginning of the regular season remains a question mark. However, he showed durability in college, playing in 37 games in three seasons for the Horned Frogs.

Most surprising move: One of the team’s most obvious needs heading into this year’s draft, the Chargers passed on more well-known defensive linemen like Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III and Penn State’s DaQuan Jones in earlier rounds to select Arkansas State product Ryan Carrethers. At 6-2 and 330 pounds, Carrethers is a workout warrior. He benched 225 pounds 36 times at his pro day, squats 700 pounds and can power clean 400 pounds. He finished second on the team in 2013 with an impressive 93 tackles, including eight tackles for a loss. Carrethers also totaled four sacks and two blocked kicks. He’ll compete with Sean Lissemore for the starting nose tackle job on San Diego’s defense. "He’s a powerful, stout player inside," Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. "He also has some uncommon production for a nose tackle. He had a lot of tackles, TFL’s [tackles for loss] and sacks at Arkansas State. He really played well against the bigger schools."

File it away: The selection of Notre Dame offensive lineman Chris Watt in the third round fills a need for more depth at interior offensive line. A three-year starter at left guard, Watt is considered a versatile performer who could also be trained to play center by offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. Watt provides some insurance for the Chargers in dealing with Jeromey Clary. The 30-year-old starting right guard is to make $4.55 million in nonguaranteed, total compensation in 2014. The Chargers have already asked receiver Eddie Royal, Johnson and Freeney to take pay cuts this year. Clary is highly thought of at Chargers Park, but if Telesco asks the Kansas State product to take a pay cut and he balks, the Chargers potentially could have an answer at right guard in Watt.
NFC wrap-ups: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South


ASHBURN, Va. -- A wrap-up of the Washington Redskins' draft. Click here for a full list of Redskins draftees.

Best move: Trading out of the 34th pick overall and picking up another third-round choice. The Redskins did not have a first-round pick, so being able to pick up another choice among the top three rounds was a strong move. The Redskins might have stayed at 34 had linebacker Marcus Smith still been available. The Redskins saw a couple other players they liked get picked as well, so trading back was a no-brainer. Plus, they liked a handful of pass-rushers, so they knew someone they liked would still be around at 47.

[+] EnlargeMorgan Moses
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesOffensive lineman Morgan Moses, taken in the third round, has a chance to develop into a starter.
The Redskins were able to get a player who might help their pass rush in linebacker Trent Murphy and then two players who could be future starters on the offensive line in tackle Morgan Moses -- whom many experts said could go in the first round -- and guard Spencer Long. Though you can debate if the Redskins reached on Murphy -- they liked his all-around game better than Jeremiah Attaochu's -- the bottom line is they found three players who can possibly help instead of two. Murphy could be insurance if Brian Orakpo leaves after this season via free agency. Or Murphy, Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan could form a strong pass-rush group.

Riskiest move: Long from Nebraska in the third round. There is a chance that Long becomes a solid player for the Redskins. One scout called Long a potential longtime starter at center (though the Redskins, for now, view him as a guard). The scout considers him a smart, tough player with good size, so perhaps he works out well -- and might ultimately end up being a steal. However, Long is coming off an ACL tear. It’s always hard to say a team could have waited and still gotten their man with the next pick, but in this case, that could be true. This is more of a pick for 2015 and beyond than anything else, so there is a definite benefit to selecting him. But if he doesn’t pan out, the perception will be that they reached in the third round for a guy who had been hurt.

Most surprising move: Drafting kicker Zach Hocker in the seventh round. The Redskins have Kai Forbath, who has made 35 of 40 field goals in two seasons with Washington. The Redskins don’t like to draft players they feel have no shot at making the roster, so they clearly expect Hocker to do more than compete with Forbath. Hocker could be better than Forbath on kickoffs, too, which would please the Redskins. Still, it’s a bit surprising they ended up drafting more kickers than safeties. But the coaches entered the draft feeling like they had enough competition there already. The same is true at inside linebacker.

File it away: Bashaud Breeland could develop into a solid player and help the Redskins in a variety of ways, perhaps even at safety at some point. The Redskins did not need a cornerback to come in and play immediately; they did not view anyone after the second round as being better than their top three. But Breeland can help right away on special teams -- another area of need. In college, he blitzed well from corner and was never afraid to mix it up against the run. He also plays a physical style the coaches love. The knock on Breeland is speed, so he’ll need some work, but he has a chance.
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SAN DIEGO -- Led by one of the best passing offenses in the history of the game, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos thwarted the San Diego Chargers' effort to reach the Super Bowl for the first time under quarterback Philip Rivers.

[+] EnlargeJeremiah Attaochu
Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsJeremiah Attaochu's selection at No. 50 signifies a clear effort by the Chargers to improve their pass defense.
After the season was over, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco and the rest of the team's personnel department made preparations to fix San Diego's deficiencies defending the pass. Through the first two days of the draft, the Chargers made an effort to close the gap with the AFC's favorite to return to the Super Bowl.

San Diego finished last season at No. 29 in passing defense, giving up 259 yards a contest. The Chargers also allowed 58 passing plays of 20 yards or more, tied for No. 24 in the NFL.

San Diego selected fiesty TCU cornerback Jason Verrett in the first round and moved up seven spots in the second in a trade with Miami -- giving up the No. 57 and No. 125 picks -- to grab Georgia Tech pass-rusher Jeremiah Attaochu at No. 50.

Those selections represent an effort for the Chargers to get better at defending the pass in 2014.

“As far as pass defense goes, it's rushing the passer and covering people,” Telesco said. “So it's not rocket science. We've got to get to the quarterback a little more, and we've got to cover people. Luckily we've got two guys that are high-energy players and high-motor players that also have really big-time athletic skills.”

At 5 feet 9 and 189 pounds, Verrett has the versatility to play on the perimeter or in the slot and the physicality to get to the quarterback as a blitzer.

Telesco said Attaochu, a quick-twitch pass rusher at 6-3 and 252 pounds, was the guy San Diego wanted on Day 2.

“He's a player that we had targeted early on,” Telesco said. “He'll get to the quarterback. That's his big thing. He's a relentless pass rusher with a huge motor. But then he combines that with an excellent first step, which is big for pass rushers.”

Telesco said Attaochu has played outside linebacker and defensive end, so he's a scheme fit for what defensive coordinator John Pagano wants to do.

Chargers coach Mike McCoy said Attaochu, a native of Nigeria who just started playing football his freshman year of high school, will have the benefit of learning from one of the best pass rushers in the game in Dwight Freeney.

“That's the first thing that I told him -- that you're very fortunate to be able to work with someone like Dwight Freeney,” McCoy said. “When Dwight came in here last year, from Day 1 up until the last game of the season, he was a true pro. Even before he got hurt, he was always out there trying to help the younger guys.”

Along with Freeney serving as mentor, McCoy said Attaochu can learn from the example fellow pass-rusher Jarret Johnson sets by the way he works.

Attaochu should be an attentive student.
videoSAN DIEGO -- The pick: Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech

My take: The Chargers needed to add juice to an ailing pass rush that struggled to consistently get pressure on the quarterback last season. At 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds, Attaochu fits the bill. He’s athletic (4.59-second 40-yard dash time) and he’s productive, finishing as the leading pass-rusher in Georgia Tech history with 31.5 sacks. With aging pass-rushers in Jarret Johnson and Dwight Freeney, the Chargers needed a long-term answer at the position to pair with budding star Melvin Ingram.

A different kind of football: A native of Nigeria, Attaochu grew up playing soccer and was first introduced to football as a ninth grader at Archbishop Carroll High in Washington D.C. He picked up the game quickly, serving as the team captain his junior and senior seasons.

What’s next: The Chargers moved up seven spots to select Attaochu at No. 50, trading the No. 57 and No. 125 selections to the Miami Dolphins. San Diego made a similar trade last year in the second round, moving up seven spots by trading the team’s second- and fourth-round selections to the Arizona Cardinals to select middle linebacker Manti Te'o at No. 38. The Chargers still have four selections left in the draft, including a third-rounder at No. 89.
IRVING, Texas -- ESPN Insider Mel Kiper Jr. has offered up his second-round mock draft and he has the Dallas Cowboys taking Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy with the 47th pick overall.

You need to be an Insider to see all of the picks Insider, but Ealy to the Cowboys makes some sense considering the Cowboys need help along the defensive line.

The guy I would prefer is Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence, but he is not available in Kiper’s second-round mock. I believe Lawrence is the best right defensive end available and would be able to step in to play right away. Ealy is more of a left defensive end -- and possibly a tackle -- and the Cowboys would appear to have plenty of those guys in Anthony Spencer, Jeremy Mincey, Tyrone Crawford and George Selvie.

In addition to Ealy, he had Timmy Jernigan, Jeremiah Attaochu and Ra'Shede Hageman available at the Cowboys’ pick.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Armed with three selections on Day 2 of the NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers are spending the day plotting their strategy for picks Nos. 53 (second round), 85 and 98 (both in the third round).

After taking Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round -- a move that ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. called one of the winners of Day 1 Insider -- the Packers reset their draft board to reflect the best players still available.

If their grades on the players still available at 53, 85 and 98 fit their needs, here is who they might consider:

Linebackers: Notes: Borland, Brown and Skov would all project as inside linebackers in the Packers’ 3-4 scheme. Kiper Jr. ranked Van Noy, an outside linebacker, as the fifth-best player still available Insider, and Borland as the 12th. In his second-round mock draft Insider, Kiper Jr. predicted Borland to the Packers at No. 53. He wrote: “This would be a steal. He's not a physical freak, but Borland is a football freak. Slots in next to A.J. Hawk.”

Tight ends:
Amaro
Notes: If the Packers are going to get an impact tight end, they probably need to do it on Friday, because the drop off after these four is significant. Seferian-Jenkins and Amaro are receiving tight ends in the mold of Jermichael Finley, while Fiedorowicz and Niklas are more traditional players. Scouts Inc. has the Packers taking Amaro in its updated second-round mock draft Insider.

Receivers:
Lee
Notes: Lee could be one of the first players off the board when the draft resumes, so it's unlikely the Packers would be in position to take him unless they traded up. Keep in mind that they cannot trade No. 98 because it is a compensatory pick at the end of the third round. Lee and Landry are smaller receivers in the 5-foot-11 range, and Ellington is even smaller at 5-9 3/8. The Packers might want to go bigger at this spot, because they already have a dynamic slot receiver in Randall Cobb.

Centers:
Notes: The Packers are high on second-year pro JC Tretter as their possible next starting center, but the former collegiate tackle has yet to play an NFL snap at any position. There is a good chance all of these centers will be available at No. 53, with Martin and Richburg as likely late second-round picks who also could slip into the third round.
There is frustration out there now, confusion amongst at least part of the Detroit Lions' fan base as to what the team did Thursday night.

Ebron
The Lions avoided defense and drafted a tight end (Eric Ebron) who is essentially a receiver. Though it might work out, the Lions play in the NFC North, so they still have to find enough good players to defend the best running back (Adrian Peterson), one of the top quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers) and one of the best receiving tandems (Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery) in the NFL.
If there was a question about whether defense was a priority in the division, Green Bay, Chicago and Minnesota all chose defensive players.

This, though, is something the Lions can begin to remedy on Day 2 of the NFL draft, which begins at 7 p.m. on Friday with the second and third rounds. Here are 10 players to pay attention to as we assemble a second-day board.

1.CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska: He is the best cornerback left on the ESPN.com board and the No. 40 player overall. He has the size the Lions covet in their secondary -- listed at 6-foot-2 5/8 -- and has major potential. Not as polished as some of the first-round cornerbacks, but his size and speed could end up making him one of the top cornerbacks in this class after converting from wide receiver midway through his college career. Had 50 career tackles and seven career interceptions.

2.LB Kyle Van Noy, BYU: He’s the third-highest outside linebacker left on the ESPN.com board, behind Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu and Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence. He can play against the run or the pass and should be able to stay on the field for three downs. He played in 52 games, had 226 tackles, 62 tackles for loss, 26 sacks and seven interceptions.

3.LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech: He is the highest-rated outside linebacker left on the ESPN.com board and the No. 30 player overall. Has good size at 6-foot-3 1/4. Doesn’t have fantastic instincts -- Van Noy is probably better there -- but is a good player who could make a difference immediately. Georgia Tech’s career sack leader with 31.5. Had 134 career tackles.

Jernigan
4.DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State: Doesn’t have ideal size but is very, very good against the run. Wouldn’t be pressured to start right away, but could become a rotational player with Nick Fairley immediately and eventually take over there. Had 63 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last season for the Seminoles.

5.DL Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame: Personally love his game. Has the size where he could play left defensive end for the Lions in a 4-3 or get rolled inside to project as a tackle at some point. Had 19 career sacks and 127 career tackles. Really good pass-rusher who can also defend the run.

6.CB Pierre Desir, Lindenwood: Did not face elite talent but has the size Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin wants at 6-foot-1. Could end up as somewhat of a project at cornerback, but was named the country’s top “small school” defensive back last season.

McGill
7.CB Keith McGill, Utah: We've talked a lot about size with cornerbacks and McGill is the tallest cornerback in the draft. The No. 9 cornerback on the ESPN.com board, he grades out with above average cover skills and run support. Does not have great hands, though.

8.WR Cody Latimer, Indiana/Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt: I’m cheating here with two players, but these would be the two wide receivers I’d covet in the second round if the Lions just decide to go all-in on offense and roll with the defense they have. Both have extremely good size and could give the Lions a front line of every pass catcher other than Golden Tate being at least 6-foot-2. That said, if the Lions went offense in the second round, too, there would be some issues.

Ealy
9.DT Kony Ealy, Missouri: Is good against the run and the pass, and easily could have been a first-round target. Can theoretically play both inside and outside, much like Tuitt. Had 53 career tackles, 27.5 of them for loss and 14 of them sacks.

10.CB Bashaud Breeland, Clemson: A little bit under the preferred 6-foot mark, but is a physical player who can become a starter. Physical. Had 159 tackles and six interceptions in his career.

Other players to watch: S Terrence Brooks, Florida State; S Brock Vereen, Minnesota; DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota; DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame; CB Phillip Gaines, Rice; DB Jaylen Watkins, Florida; LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin; LB Trent Murphy, Stanford; C Marcus Martin, USC; C Weston Richburg, Colorado State; QB Aaron Murray, Georgia; QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Let's get this out of the way from the top: We know Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson does not draft for need -- or so he says.

But in the months leading up to this week's draft, Thompson and his scouts have spent hundreds of hours not only discussing the prospects who will be available to them but also their current roster and its strengths and weaknesses.

With that in mind, let's break the 12 position groups that make up the roster into four parts based on the following categories of draft needs.

We will define them this way:

Part 1: Negligible -- positions where there is little or no need.

Part 2: Non-essential -- positions where there is a need but it is not paramount to fill.

Part 3: Secondary -- positions where there is a need but not at the critical level.

Part 4: Pressing -- positions where it is imperative that help be found.

On Monday, we looked at the negligible needs, Nos. 10-12.

Next up are the nonessential needs.

7. Quarterback: It's too early to start thinking about a replacement for Aaron Rodgers, who turned 30 last December and is under contract through 2019, but they need to find the next Matt Flynn -- a long-term backup who can be counted on to win games just in case. Flynn is back under a one-year deal, but coach Mike McCarthy has said he would like to develop a young quarterback. Is that Scott Tolzien? Perhaps, but don't be surprised if they bring in a mid-to-late-round quarterback.

Possible players of interest: AJ McCarron, Alabama; Tom Savage, Pittsburgh; David Fales, San Jose State; Keith Wenning, Ball State; Brock Jensen, North Dakota State.

8. Cornerback: The Packers committed to Sam Shields this offseason with a four-year, $39 million contract just as free agency opened, but veteran Tramon Williams is in the final year of his contract. Casey Hayward is expected to be back from the hamstring injury that ruined his 2013 season, and there's depth with Micah Hyde, Davon House and James Nixon, although Hyde may move to safety. If the right corner fell to the Packers, Thompson might jump at the chance.

Possible players of interest: Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State; Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech; Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State; Keith McGill, Utah; Stan Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska.

9. Outside linebacker: Like defensive end, this is another position where there's plenty of talent depending on who lines up where. Beyond Pro Bowler Clay Matthews, there's Julius Peppers (who will play a combination DL-OLB), former first-round pick Nick Perry, former second-round pick Mike Neal and second-year players Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer.

Possible players of interest: Anthony Barr, UCLA; Kyle Van Noy, BYU; Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech; Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State.
MOBILE, Ala. -- It was a productive week for the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. The information the coaching staff gained by their hands-on experience with the players is invaluable and will certainly help in draft evaluations.

The coaches were able to see how the players handled themselves in meetings, transferred what they learned onto the field, and reacted to unfamiliar situations. That’s information they can’t get at the combine, a school’s pro day, or in interviews. That could be a tie-breaker on draft day.

Here are 10 players from the South team who could end up on the Jaguars’ roster -- either as draft picks or free agents -- by the start of training camp. Obviously, not all of them will be available, but it wouldn’t be surprising if three or four ended up in Jacksonville:

LB Jerry Attaochu (Georgia Tech): He’s one of the players the Jaguars tried out at their "Leo" position (hybrid end/linebacker) and that is where they would play him if they drafted him. He has a good burst off the line and was one of the more athletic linebackers on the roster.

QB Derek Carr (Fresno State): He had the best week of all the South quarterbacks. He’s more polished than the others, and you can tell he has benefited from his older brother’s help. He’s got a quick release, too, although he doesn’t have ideal size (6-foot-2). He’s likely the Jaguars’ top quarterback target if they opt to take a pass-rusher in the first round.

DE Dee Ford (Auburn): Ford is explosive off the edge and blew by offensive tackles all week. He’s only 243 pounds, but his quickness more than makes up for his lack of bulk.

WR Kevin Norwood (Alabama): The Jaguars need to add size to their receiving corps, and Norwood certainly brings that (6-2, 197). He’s got good hands and ball skills. He can make plays on 50-50 balls, which is something the Jaguars lack. The only drawback is he doesn’t have great speed.

C Bryan Stork (Florida State): He might be a little undersized, but the guys at Scouts Inc. -- Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl -- raved about his toughness all week. The Jaguars need a center to replace Brad Meester. Stork is smart and plays with a bit of a nasty edge.

DT Will Sutton (Arizona State): He was the most impressive defensive lineman all week. He doesn’t have ideal size (6-1, 315 pounds) so he’ll have to get by on his quickness. He’s more of a fit as a three-technique tackle, and he has shown the ability to rush the passer from the interior.

RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (Coastal Carolina): What stood out about him was his pass blocking. He was clearly the best this week, and had no trouble locking up linebackers. He has good size (6-0, 231 pounds), runs downhill, and also showed he can be a factor in the passing game.

DE Brent Urban (Virginia): He moves very well despite having a huge frame (6-7, 298 pounds) and did a good job shedding blockers and maintaining the edge. Though he’s more of a run-stuffing end, his length makes him a factor as a pass-rusher. He’s a fit for the spot that Tyson Alualu mans.

OLB Kyle Van Noy (BYU): His athleticism really showed up this week. He was one of several players the Jaguars tried at the "Leo" position, and he did a solid job.

CB Jaylen Watkins (Florida): He’s versatile enough to play inside and outside (he did both in college) and his man coverage skills were the best of the group. He had some good battles with former Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews, who was the best receiver this week. Watkins said his ability to recognize routes and his press coverage skills are because of his experience at Florida, where the Gators play nearly exclusively man coverage.
PHILADELPHIA -- The NFL scouting combine is about a month away. So Saturday’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., is your last chance to eyeball some of the players the Philadelphia Eagles could select in the draft in May.

Based on a number of sources and a little logic, here are five players to keep an eye on:

Cornerback Stan Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska. As Jimmy Kempski of philly.com noted, the Eagles' staff spent a good deal of time chatting with defensive players after the practice sessions this week. Jean-Baptiste, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound converted wide receiver, has the size and the cover skills the Eagles are looking to add to their secondary. Watch Jean-Baptiste with an eye on whether he’s willing to tackle, especially when playing the run.

Safety Deone Bucannon, Washington State. You may have heard the Eagles have had a tough time filling the safety position. The 6-1, 216-pound Bucannon plays with a “nasty edge,” according to Greg Bedard of MMQB.com. That’s an element the Eagles have lacked since Brian Dawkins, and is probably a more pressing need than corner right now.

Outside linebacker Trent Murphy, Stanford. Could he be the defensive equivalent of tight end Zach Ertz, the Stanford tight end the Eagles took last year? Chip Kelly definitely remembers those who played well against his Oregon teams. Murphy is 6-6, 261 pounds. The Atlanta Falcons' coaches have him playing defensive end this week, but that should be seen as a testament to Murphy’s versatility. He had 15 sacks as a linebacker during his senior season.

Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech. Sheil Kapadia over at Eagles 24/7 did a piece about how the 6-3, 252-pound Attaochu might fit in the Eagles’ scheme. Unlike Murphy, Attaochu could be around in the second round if the Eagles go for a defensive back or wide receiver in the first round.

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt. It is considered a deep draft for big-bodied wide receivers, and it would make perfect sense for the Eagles to grab one in the first round. Texas A&M’s Mike Davis and Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin won’t be on the field Saturday. The 6-3, 210-pound Matthews will.

Jaguars Senior Bowl primer

January, 20, 2014
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MOBILE, Ala. -- Nearly the entire Jaguars football staff is on hand for the Reese’s Senior Bowl. The Jaguars will coach the South team and the Atlanta Falcons will coach the North team, but each will switch rosters for a day on Thursday so they can interact with all the players.

Here’s a primer of what to expect:

Help wanted: Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said he expected his staff to remain intact, but linebackers coach Mark Duffner left the team on Sunday night to take the same position with the Miami Dolphins. Duffner just finished his eighth season with the team. Defensive coordinator Bob Babich, who spent seven seasons as a linebackers coach with the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams, will work with the linebackers this week. In addition to being a college all-star game, the Senior Bowl is also part coaches convention. Unemployed assistants are here trying to land jobs and head coaches are also here trying to fill staffs.

Keep your eye on: The Jaguars certainly have a lot of needs to fill, beginning with quarterback and pass rusher. So naturally all the quarterbacks -- particularly Derek Carr, Tajh Boyd and David Fales -- are players to watch during the practices and games. Though he is unable to play because of a torn ACL he suffered in late November against Kentucky, Aaron Murray is here to participate in meetings and interviews. It’s a smart decision and one that GMs will like.

As for those pass rushers, Jeremiah Attaochu (who played linebacker at Georgia Tech), Michael Sams, Kareem Martin, Chris Smith, and James Gayle are defensive ends to watch. At outside linebacker, Trent Murphy and Christian Jones are worth watching.

Unfortunately, two of the country’s top pass rushers won’t be here. Buffalo’s Khalil Mack has opted not to participate and UCLA’s Anthony Barr will miss the week because of an undisclosed injury. Both are considered top-10 draft picks.

Some other players to watch: WR Jordan Matthews, TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE Jacob Pederson, G Cyril Richardson and C Weston Richburg.

What you’ll get: Each day I’ll provide Jaguars news and notes as well as observations from practice. I’ll concentrate on players at positions that correspond to the Jaguars’ top needs (QB, DE, OLB, interior OL, RB, WR) but there will be other players as well. I’ll have several blog posts a day and you also can follow me on Twitter @ESPNdirocco.

ETC.: Among the other players who either opted out or cannot participate because of injury are RBs Carlos Hyde (opted out), Andre Williams (injury) and Tyler Gaffney (injury), OTs Jake Matthews (opted out) and Taylor Lewan (injury), WR Tevin Reese (injury), and DT Dominique Easley (injury).

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