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2018 NFL Draft: "So far, so good"


JACKSONVILLE – Three down, four to go.

The third-round selection of Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison late Friday night brought the Jaguars as close as possible to the midway point of their 2018 NFL Draft.

The halftime (pretty much) assessment?

"So far, so good," Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell told Friday night moments after the Jaguars selected Harrison with the No. 93 overall pick in Round 3.

Harrison, a safety who played both free and strong safety during a three-year career at Alabama, talked about his selection on a late conference call with reporters.

"I'm excited to get to work and be close to home; that's where I'm from," the Tallahassee native said. "Coming into a great organization and a great defense … I can't wait to get to work."

A couple of notables about the Jaguars' draft through two days:

After many observers focused on offensive possibilities for the Jaguars during the pre-draft process, the team used two of its first three selections on defense. The team selected University of Florida defensive lineman Taven Bryan No. 29 overall in Round 1 Thursday.

The team also has drafted in '18 with a decidedly big-school, Southeastern flair.

All three of the selections through three days have come from the Southeastern Conference, with the team using the No. 61 overall selection in Round 1 Friday on Louisiana State University wide receiver DJ Chark – a player the team rated as a first-round talent.

"It just happened to fall that way," Caldwell said of the SEC trend. "But we're excited about the players and the guys from some of the top level of competition and major schools – we've had success with those guys."

Caldwell said overall the Jaguars feel good about the first two days.

"We feel like we haven't reached for anybody, and we feel like we've got good value across the board in all three rounds," Caldwell said. "We took care of some needs, too."

The addition of Harrison late Friday addressed a need for depth at safety.

The Jaguars were strong at the position last season with free safety Tashaun Gipson playing near a Pro Bowl level and strong safety Barry Church being one of the most underrated players on the team. The duo accounted for eight interceptions and neither missed a game.

"It should be a good fit for him (Harrison) in there," Caldwell said of a secondary that also includes All-Pro cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. "He is going to have to bring his 'A' game every day to hang with those guys."

The Jaguars in free agency in March signed veterans Don Carey III and Cody Davis, players who can play safety but whose primary role likely will be special teams. Third-year veteran Jarrod Wilson was the top reserve at the position last season and the Jaguars opted to not re-sign reserve safety Peyton Thompson.

"It is not like he will be given the job as the third safety or the backup safety," Caldwell said of Harrison. "We have guys that can come play there too. Competition is great. You don't know how this season is going to go.

"We were fortunate last year – we stayed relatively healthy on that side of the ball. That is not the norm. The more depth you can have and be prepared for any situation then the better off you will be."

Caldwell called Harrison an "enforcer type of guy," and lauded his intelligence.

The Jaguars have selected Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison with the 93rd pick in the 2018 draft.

"He is a very bright kid; really high football IQ … really smart kid," Caldwell said, adding that Harrison did well with coaches on a pre-draft visit to Jacksonville.

"Coaches were really impressed with how he handled the questions on the board and picked up the scheme," Caldwell said. "He had a good visit here. …. He was a high school quarterback too. I am sure you guys are aware, out of Tallahassee."

Harrison started 15 games as a freshman at Alabama, where Head Coach Nick Saban works with the team's defensive backs and has a reputation for demanding much mentally from players.

"He really understands the game of football," Caldwell said. "Playing in that defense at that school you have to be smart, so to do it as a freshman you have to be smart."

The Jaguars' four remaining '18 draft selections: No. 129 overall (Round 4), No. 203 overall (Round 6), No. 230 overall (Round 7) and No. 247 overall (Round 7).

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