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Duffner on Durant


The following is a transcript of Linebackers Coach Mark Duffner's press conference following the selection of Justin Durant in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

"Just here to visit a little about Justin Durant, a guy we think is a real special player. A very heralded player at Hampton University. He was a two-year captain for them. He also was a guy that was the two-time All-American, three-time MVP of their league, of the MEAC League. He was a Walter Camp All-American. A highly productive guy whose physical traits on film were, number one, he can run. He had great range, avoided blocks well and a guy that I felt, and the coaching staff felt, really finished all the time. He had a real good effort in terms of finishing plays. When we visited with him at the Combine, really a first class young fella. You could see that he's a bright guy, a guy that has kind of a competitive personality and competitive edge about him. I think he has something that he wants to prove as a professional football player and that he can compete and compete at a high level and he's very, very excited to be here."

(Durant played middle linebacker in college. Will he play at weakside for the Jaguars?) "He's played both positions. I think he's started off really as an outside backer but wound up being a very productive middle linebacker. But based on what we saw him do in that position, we feel like he could handle both inside and outside backer for us."

(Durant said he sees himself as a Derrick Brooks mold, do you see him as that?) "That's a great mold for him to aspire to, that's for sure. Yeah, I think he has the playmaking ability. He certainly has exhibited that in a very competitive league with a lot of doggone good athletes throughout his career, and so we think that he's going to be a guy that can be a good playmaker for us."

(how will the linebackers line up this year?) "That's going to be Coach Del Rio, Mike Smith and Mr. Harris' decision as far as that is concerned, but I really like this player. I just saw him game after game making play after play. At times he got hampered with some injuries. He played through injuries. He never took a backseat in terms of competitiveness, in terms of athleticism, in terms of playmaking. I like his attitude. He's a very hungry, competitive guy. Like I said to you, when we visited with him a number of times, how he thinks and he's got the make-up that I'm looking for and I think we're looking for as a linebacker – speed, competitive and good recover ability."

(will Mike Peterson go back to middle linebacker this year?) "Again, that decision will ultimately rest with Coach Del Rio. We're excited about the group that we have and we think that they're going to continue to improve and help our defense."

(can you compare Durant to any other player in the past?) "What I do know in reference to that, I know that his older brother played at North Carolina and this young man was a very productive player in a prestigious all-star game in North Carolina against South Carolina, they call it the North-South Game, and I know he's anxious to show what he can do."

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