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Defensive linemen stand out


The talent at the Senior Bowl would seem to be strongest where the Jaguars have the greatest need, which is to say on defense, specifically on the defensive line.

"I do think, because of the talent pool on defense this year, we should be able to address some areas where we need to improve on the defensive side of the ball," Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith said on Friday. "It's a good group of defensive linemen. That's one of the areas of strength. It's a good group of corners, too."

Smith singled out Arkansas State's Alex Carrington, Michigan's Brandon Graham, South Florida's George Selvie, Troy's Brandon Lang and Murray State late addition Austen Lane as impressive pass-rushers off the edge. Tennessee's Dan Williams, Texas' Lamarr Houston and Louisiana Tech's D'Anthony Smith are defensive tackles who also caught Smith's eye.

"That's a heavy group of defensive linemen and that's not counting the juniors who've declared," Smith said.

The juniors, players such as Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy, Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan and South Florida's Jason Pierre-Paul are the cream of the defensive line crop and will give the group so much quality and depth that it's unlikely a top defensive line prospect won't be available when the Jaguars select in the first round, with either the 10th or 11th pick, depending on a coin flip that'll be conducted at the scouting combine.

A quartet of cornerbacks at the Senior Bowl also caught Smith's eye. Former Florida State star Myron Rolle was chief among those corners that impressed.

"He had a good week. He didn't look like a player that is one year removed from football. He helped himself. It's obvious he had been training. He was excited to be back in pads and playing football," Smith said of Rolle, who spent last season as a Rhodes Scholar.

"The other corner from Florida State, Patrick Robinson, had a good week," said Smith, who also singled out Perrish Cox of Oklahoma State and Chris Cook of Virginia.

Linebackers Sean Witherspoon of Missouri and Daryl Washington of TCU were impressive.

The offensive tackle crop led the way on offense, but Smith mentioned two running backs, Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster, who is primarily being scouted as a pass-catcher, and Wayne State's Joique Bell. "He looked good all week," Smith said of Bell.

Idaho guard Mike Iupati may have made the biggest move up the board of any player at the Senior Bowl, and a strong crop of run-and-catch tight ends distinguished themselves.

"The tight end group had a number of run-and-catch guys. That's what's in the Pro Bowl. Jimmy Graham from Miami had a good week. Another guy who was impressive is the kid out of Oregon, Ed Dickson. A receiver who looks like a run-and-catch guy at tight end is Dorin Dickerson out of Pitt," Smith said.

"With the quarterback group, early in an all-star week they don't look that good. A lot of the college guys don't work under center anymore and then they have to figure out what the other 10 guys on offense are doing. You're trying to grade release quickness, arm strength. Each day you'll see some improvement in them. Tim Tebow did as well as any quarterback there," Smith added of the Florida star.

Smith will scout the Texas vs. the nation game next week. The Jaguars found Terrance Knighton in that game a year ago and Smith said the talent pool for that game has been strengthened.

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