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Dan Skuta: Versatility a key


JACKSONVILLE – He has played more than one spot.

Actually, in a six-year NFL career, Dan Skuta has played significantly more than one spot – and not just one linebacker spot, either.

That versatility is one reason Skuta signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Jaguars Wednesday, and that same versatility – along with a recently-exhibited ability to rush the passer – could put him in a role the Jaguars need him to fill.

Skuta, who spent the last two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, registered five sacks last season, a total that makes him a fit for the team's Otto linebacker position – a position that emphasizes run defense on the strong side of the defense and the ability to provide pass rush.

And yes, the word "Otto" was one Skuta heard Wednesday.

"They've said it to me a few times already," Skuta said Wednesday. "I got a short rundown of the things I could be doing. I understand why it's probably hard to find someone to come in and fill it, but I think that could be me and I think I can be really good at it.

"I pride myself on being versatile and doing a lot of different stuff. I think I'll be good there."

And he said while his sacks total did increase this past season while playing in place of pass rusher Aldon Smith, that wasn't necessarily a focus.

"I can definitely get that done," he said. "It's not like I worked extra hard to become a pass rusher. I've always had it and I still had it. I just had more opportunities last year, so you saw a couple of more sacks. Basically, it was showing other people. People in San Fran or Cincinnati, they know I can rush. They know I can play.

"Basically, it was showing the rest of the league, I guess. Definitely, Jacksonville saw I can do that and I can do it. But I can do a lot of other things, too. I'm excited to be able to do all of the different stuff here."

Skuta (6-feet-2, 250 pounds), expected to speak at an introductory press conference at Everbank Field Wednesday, originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009 with the Cincinnati Bengals. He played 56 games in four seasons there before signing with the 49ers as a free agent.

He played 30 games with 18 starts in two seasons with San Francisco, starting nine games with Smith serving a nine-game suspension. Skuta played inside linebacker in Cincinnati, and played mostly outside with San Francisco. He also can play in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.

Skuta has 80 career tackles (50 solo) with 5.5 sacks, four passes defensed, nine quarterback hits, eight tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

"Everybody in the NFL knows the pass rushers, and you definitely get a lot of attention off of it," Skuta said. "To tell you the truth, I really don't see it like that. I'm just as happy covering a tight end really well and having someone else get a sack or get an incompletion."

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dan Skuta.

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