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Harvey flashing quickness


There are early indications in training camp that Derrick Harvey might be on the verge of fulfilling the potential the Jaguars saw in him when they traded up to make him the eighth pick of the 2008 draft.

He was supposed to be the pass-rusher that would put the Jaguars over the top in '08, but he didn't sign a contract until the end of training camp and never recovered from his slow start. Last year, he was featured in a sexy 3-4 scheme early in the season, but when the sacks didn't come, Harvey settled in as a steady run-defender at left end.

Run-stuffer? That's not the role for which Harvey was drafted. He was picked to sack the quarterback. Now, in his third season, Harvey may be ready to fulfill that promise.

"I dropped, like, 20 pounds, back to my college weight," Harvey said. His intent was to "get more explosive, like I was before."

Harvey flashed that explosiveness in Sunday morning's practice. He darted around the blocking bags with a quickness that caught everyone's eye.

"He was as heavy as 278 last year," strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson said. "He busted his butt in conditioning and you're seeing the end result right now."

Richesson offers credible perspective on Harvey, since Richesson worked for the company, "Athletes' Performance," that helped train Harvey for his scouting combine.

"I prepared him for the combine. He looks like what we drafted," Richesson said.

Coming out of Florida, there were concerns Harvey was a "tweener." Some thought Harvey was too light to play end and might fit better as a 3-4 linebacker. When he put on the weight to be a pure defensive end, he may have lost his quickness.

"I think so," Harvey said. "That didn't work out. I'm leaner, quicker and more explosive. I got a great coach, too."

"He definitely is (quicker)," Joe Cullen, Harvey's new defensive line coach, said. "If he's a step quicker getting into the blocker, he can do the same things he did last year but be a better pass-rusher."

Rushing the passer is the defensive line's main focus under Cullen this year. Cullen has put his charges into the gaps and is turning them loose to penetrate and disrupt. They are to play the run on the way to the quarterback. It is also one of Cullen's challenges to salvage the career of a player in whom the Jaguars invested a high pick and a lot of money.

"I'm still strong. I just added a little quickness," Harvey said.

Richesson believes the added quickness and a new attitude will make the difference.

"Joe Cullen has been a great influence on him. Coach Del Rio raised the bar. The standard for the defensive line has been raised and the guys have flourished," Richesson said.

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