JACKSONVILLE – Trent Baalke is liking what he's seeing. So far.
For Baalke, now in his third season as the Jaguars' general manager, that doesn't mean the roster is a finished product. But he said it's moving in a good direction.
"It's more what we envision," Baalke told senior writer John Oehser.
Baalke spoke in a recent O-Zone Podcast. He discussed multiple topics, including the recent 2023 NFL Draft and how the Jaguars will assess the roster in the coming weeks – and a roster vision that he said comes from both he and Head Coach Doug Pederson.
The idea now is to continue in that direction.
“We want to be big, we want to be physical, we want to be fast, we want to be smart, we want to be available. What I mean by that is we want healthy guys. We want guys that can stay on the field and play. If we continue to add players like that, and that fit the culture that we're trying to build here, then it's going to be how we envision it.”
Baalke during the podcast also discussed not only the '23 draft class, but a '22 class that included two first-round selections – outside linebacker Travon Walker and inside linebacker Devin Lloyd. The duo's Year 2 development will be a major storyline this offseason and early in the 2023 regular season, and Baalke said the Jaguars like what they have seen early from the pair this offseason.
"We really like the maturity that they seem to be carrying themselves with," Baalke said. "They've been through it now for a year. They know how to pace themselves, and that's always a good thing. They know what to expect. There's less anxiety. They're freer to learn."
The '23 class this past weekend participated in rookie minicamp, and Baalke said the primary objectives in those two days were simple – and precautionary.
"I wanted to see them stay healthy," he said with a laugh. "That's first and foremost. When they first get here, they haven't really been doing anything football for a long time. You just try to get them through healthy, but at the same time kind of gauge where they're at. And the last thing you want to do is look out there and see someone go down this early."
And while Baalke said impressions of the class are early, the positive is that a strong culture – and a strong locker room – will give young players every chance to develop and succeed.
"This is a very selfless football team right now," he said. "You see the older guys, the veteran guys taking the younger guys under their wing, and that's always a good sign."
Listen to the entire O-Zone Podcast with Trent Baalke below. To hear more episodes of the O-Zone Podcast, click HERE.