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David Caldwell: Offseason a success … so far


BOCA RATON – The Jaguars' offseason is far from over.

Still, General Manager David Caldwell on Monday said while roster maneuvering will continue – and while the April 28-30 NFL Draft obviously matters very much – a primary offseason objective has been achieved.

Draft-pick flexibility is always an offseason priority because it means not drafting for need.

On that front? Mission accomplished.

"Our mindset was to go into free agency [and get to] where we could draft where we didn't have to force a move or force a pick," Caldwell said Monday afternoon at the 2016 NFL Annual Meeting at the Boca Raton Resort.

"I think we've accomplished most of that and we can just draft best player available in this coming up draft."

The Jaguars have signed six players since free-agency began March 9: running back Chris Ivory (Jets), defensive tackle Malik Jackson (Broncos), free safety Tashaun Gipson (Browns), punter Brad Nortman (Panthers), cornerback Prince Amukamara (Giants) and offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum (Steelers).

Ivory is expected to share carries with T.J. Yeldon, with Jackson, Gipson and Amukamara expected to be starters. Beachum is expected to compete with Luke Joeckel at left tackle, with the player who doesn't start at left tackle a strong possibility to start at guard.

The Jaguars currently hold the No. 5 overall selection in the draft, and Caldwell said he remains open to either trading up or trading back at the spot.

"We can be very flexible," he said. "If there are opportunities to trade back, we could do that. If there are opportunities to trade up, we could do that or just select a player at that point."

"I don't think anything would be off the table for us right now."

Caldwell said he likely wouldn't want to trade back beyond the early teens.

Also on Monday:

*Caldwell discussed the hiring Monday morning of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin as a defensive assistant. "He just brings a wealth of experience and knowledge," Caldwell said. "He's seen a lot of things over the years and I think he can be a little bit of assistance for [defensive coordinator] Todd [Wash] and Gus in that manner." Kiffin served as an unofficial consultant during the search for a defensive coordinator in January. …

*Caldwell discussed the signing of Amukamara, saying he liked the veteran's "size, his length and his desire." Caldwell said while Amukamara – who signed a one-year contract with the Jaguars – has missed extensive time with injuries in five NFL seasons, the injuries "haven't been reoccurring. They've all been different injuries at points in time of his career; kind of a little freakish to some of the degrees. He just feels like it's a prove-it deal for him and he's motivated to play well and the risk for us wasn't a high risk for a one-year deal." …

*Caldwell said while he expects the Jaguars to emphasize defense in the draft he wouldn't rule out drafting an offensive player or two. He cited the selections of wide receiver Rashad Greene and guard A.J. Cann last April as picks made for value more than need, adding that a similar situation could arise next month. "If there's a good player there and the value is right we'll select offensive players for sure," Caldwell said. The Jaguars have eight selections in the draft, including two in the sixth round. …

*Caldwell said if the team pursues a contract extension this offseason with wide receiver Allen Hurns it likely would do so after the draft. Hurns is eligible for an extension this offseason because he originally signed as an undrafted collegiate free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. The deals of the other Jaguars third-year veterans such as wide receiver Allen Robinson, quarterback Blake Bortles, guard Brandon Linder and linebacker Telvin Smith can't be renegotiated until after the 2016 season because they were draft selections. …

*Caldwell said it was uncertain if defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks would be ready to participate fully in organized team activities in May. Marks missed the last seven games of last season with a triceps injury. Caldwell also said the team will be cautious with players such as Hurns (sports hernia surgery in January) and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (anterior cruciate ligament, missed 2015 season) during offseason workouts. ….

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