The Jaguars turned to the talent available on practice squads around the league late last season, and they may have struck gold when they signed Kennard Cox, Atiyyah Ellison and Cameron Stephenson.
"All three have a chance to make our roster," GM Gene Smith said.
The Jaguars signed Cox off Green Bay's practice squad, Ellison from San Francisco's and Stephenson off New Orleans'. Smith executed the swipes in December, when the Jaguars were out of playoff contention and looking to begin a youth movement.
With three practices remaining in the OTA season, it's hard to say which of the three has been the best. Ellison has filled in for John Henderson at defensive tackle, Cox is playing safety and cornerback, and Stephenson has split time at the two guard spots.
"He's showed his versatility," Smith said of Cox. "He has enough size to play safety and enough speed to play corner. I think his arrow is up in terms of playing corner. He only played corner his last two years at Pitt."
Cox was originally drafted by Buffalo last year but was cut. "I didn't fit the system," he said.
"We had some affection for him late when he came out but we didn't have the picks to pick him," Smith said.
In OTAs, Cox has flashed rare athletic skills to go with his 4.4 speed. On a team with an unsettled defensive backfield, Cox has clearly entered the competition.
"I love it. I think it's a great opportunity," Cox said.
Ellison had some salty words for a trio of Jaguars offensive linemen on Thursday, following a play that finished with the four on the ground.
"The guy who has made the strong impression on the defensive line is Ellison," Smith said. "He's just coming into his own. He's ready to make a step."
Stephenson was a converted defensive linemen at Rutgers. He was still learning to play guard when the Steelers drafted him.
"He gets drafted by Pittsburgh and he gets cut. He goes to Green Bay for a coffee break and we took him off New Orleans' practice squad. He's really made progress since arriving here last year," Smith said of Stephenson.
"What people don't realize is if guys don't know what they're doing, they're not going to play as fast, as aggressive or as smart. The mind is the trigger," Smith added.
Henderson and rookie wide receiver Tiquan Underwood did not participate in practice on Thursday. Henderson continues to nurse a shoulder injury. Underwood sustained a hamstring injury on Tuesday.
The Jaguars will conclude the OTA season next week with practices on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.