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NFL Scouting Combine: “They all went off”

Posted Mar 2, 2018

Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette remains an influence for former college teammate and RB Derrius Guice of Louisiana State University

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Derrius Guice almost certainly won’t be drafted by the Jaguars.

But Guice said a prominent Jaguars player just as certainly influenced how he will approach the NFL – and how he has approached the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.

Guice, a running back from Louisiana State University and one of the 2018 NFL Draft’s top players at his position, said he has drawn advice from his former LSU backfield mate: Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette.

“I was actually talking to him the night before I got here, asking him for advice and stuff,” Guice said this week. “I asked him what I should focus on, coming to the Combine. He was just like, ‘Resting.’’’

Guice is considered by many analysts the ’18 draft’s second-rated running back behind Saquon Barkley of Penn State, with many analysts projecting him to be selected late in the first round or early in the second.

Fournette, selected by the Jaguars No. 4 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games as a rookie. The Jaguars won 10 games compared to three in 2017, and Fournette was the latest early-round running back selected to achieve early success in recent seasons.

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns as a rookie after being selected No. 4 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, and Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley – the No. 10 overall selection in ’15 – rushed for 1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns this past season.

“Todd Gurley, Leonard – they all went off this year,” Guice said. “It really did help the running backs showing everybody how we are one of the most important needs of the offense.”

Combine notes:

*NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell, one of the NFL’s more respected analysts, joined Jaguars.com Live Thursday, discussing a variety of topics including the recent contract extension signed by Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.  “I wasn’t surprised,” Cosell said. “From what I know about [Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Tom Coughlin, I don’t think they’re in the market to spend $25, $30 million on a quarterback; I don’t think they see that as the way they want to go about building a team.” Cosell added of Bortles, “You could argue Blake had his best year [this past season], though I do think they ran an offense that in many ways did not want to expose some of Blake’s limitations. I think that’s going to have to change. Not 100 percent. Obviously, they’re not going to become a pass-first offense and chuck it all over the field. They’re not going to do that. But there are times you have to be a little more aggressive with your quarterback throwing the football.” …

*Count Cosell among those who believes the Jaguars need to improve the offensive line. “Obviously, it’s a team built on running the football,” he said of the Jaguars. “Their o-line has to be solid, and as much as I like Fournette, I think he’s a back that needs a good offensive line – or a quality offensive line … it doesn’t have to be the best in football. My sense from watching the tape all season is that their O-line has to play better than it did a year ago. Now, whether it’s the same players or whether there are different players at various positions – that’s up to the Jaguars.” …

*Cosell also called tight end a “really important” position the Jaguars “need to get an answer to,” saying “in the nature of this offense, with a quarterback like Blake Bortles – who is now clearly going to be the quarterback – a tight end is critical. He [Bortles] needs the feel of a check down, of a safety valve. He’s not necessarily a turn-it-loose, make-stick-throws-down-the-field kind of quarterback. … I think they need a tight end that has some athleticism. All tight ends should be able to worth the short, intermediate areas, but you’d love to have a tight end with some vertical seam ability. Even if you’re not going to throw that a lot, you need to have a tight end that can stretch the field.” Cosell said he likes South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst, a projected first- or second-round selection. …


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