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NFL Scouting Combine: Notes and observations

Posted Mar 1, 2018

Senior writer John Oehser’s notes and observations from the first two days of the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The official stuff is in the books.

Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell held podium sessions Wednesday that essentially marked the end of the Jaguars’ official statements from the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.

So, what’s left?

For the Jaguars personnel types and coaches, it’s a heavy dose of interviewing, observing and scouting – continuing preparing for April’s 2018 NFL Draft. For decision-makers, it’s likely continuing to work toward resolution on the team’s pending unrestricted free agents such as wide receiver Allen Robinson and cornerback Aaron Colvin.

For we here at jaguars.com?  It’s a lot of observing and analyzing the above. We’ll start the process with some notes you may have missed Wednesday, and some thoughts about what Wednesday meant:

*Wednesday’s major Jaguars news centered on Robinson and Colvin, with Caldwell telling reporters the team has salary-cap space to retain both players. Caldwell discussed both, unsurprisingly offering few specifics on how the team will approach negotiations with the players. He called the franchise tag for Robinson “an option,” but also added, “We have to make sure we do what’s right for the team.” Caldwell also discussed the obvious negative of tagging Robinson – that the roughly $16 million in cash and cap space “is a lot of money that would prohibit us from doing some things to help the team around him.” That could be a key statement, as could Caldwell saying on Wednesday that the Jaguars after extending quarterback Blake Bortles’ contract last Saturday are “in a really good cap situation.” Caldwell said that meant the Jaguars were in a position to be “aggressive in free agency” and finish off what we started.” Using $16 million in cap space likely would mean having to be less aggressive, which could make using the franchise tag on Robinson prohibitively expensive. …

*Caldwell during his podium appearance was asked about the quality of the New Orleans Saints 2017 draft class. Caldwell didn’t point out the success of two his draft classes, but it would have been understandable had he done so. Two of the Jaguars’ last four draft classes qualify as two of the NFL’s best of the last half decade. The 2014 draft class featured Bortles (Round 1), wide receivers Marqise Lee (Round 2) and Robinson (Round 2), center Brandon Linder (Round 3), Colvin (Round 4) and linebacker Telvin Smith (Round 5). Robinson and Smith have made Pro Bowls – and Smith, Linder and Bortles all have been signed to second contracts with the team. Colvin, Robinson and Lee all will either be re-signed or will likely draw heavy interest on the free-agent market later this month. The 2016 class may not prove as deep, but cornerback Jalen Ramsey (Round 1), linebacker Myles Jack (Round 2) and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (Round 3) all are on course to merit core-player, elite second contracts. Free agency was a big reason for the Jaguars’ 2017 AFC South title season, but those drafts shouldn’t be overlooked. …

*The first question for Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert during his Wednesday podium appearance? What he took from two 2017 losses to the Jaguars, one in the regular season (30-9) and another in the AFC Divisional Playoff (45-42). His answer: “When you think about those two games, they played an extremely good game, much better than we did. They deserved to win in both cases. If you look at each game individually — and the more recent of those was the loss in the playoffs — we were beaten physically. Their offense did a great job of running the ball and keeping us off balance. We made some mistakes in the secondary, which again is to their credit. They deserved to win and move on, and we didn’t.” …

*The AFC Championship Game was a big topic for Marrone Wednesday. He didn’t go into much detail about game strategy, saying “You are going to go back and look and say, ‘Maybe we should have done this. Maybe we should have done that.’ I think that is a natural – it is human nature. … I go home and my son is going to be the first one to tell me what we should have done. [Then] my wife and my daughters. You come in the next day and you look at it. I think anytime you don’t win a football game you are going to look back to see where you could have done a better job. Obviously in that game there were points where we could have done a better job. I am not just saying just the players, from us as coaches and we are all in that together.” …



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