Undrafted Kevin Haslam is trying to establish himself as one of the Jaguars' offensive linemen of the future. The question is at what position?
"He's played every position through all of our shorts sessions, with the exception of center," Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith said of Haslam. Smith added that he believes Haslam is smart enough and athletic enough to also be a candidate for the center position, for which Smith is looking for the position's player of the future.
At Rutgers, Haslam played in the shadow of Anthony Davis, who the 49ers made the 11th pick of this year's draft. With the Jaguars, Haslam immediately falls into the shadow of cornerstone tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, but the interior of the Jaguars offensive line is clouded in uncertainty and Haslam was an accomplished guard at Rutgers until being moved to right tackle midway through his junior season.
"I'm the other guy," he said following Tuesday's OTA practice. "You learn to live with it."
Haslam was put into a direct competition with Davis, a hot national recruit for Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, for the starting left guard job in Haslam's sophomore season. Haslam won the job for the first five games, then Davis took the job.
Davis moved to left tackle the following year and Haslam stepped back in at left guard, but moved permanently to right tackle at midseason. It was at that point that Rutgers' offense caught fire under quarterback Mike Teel and wide receiver Kenny Britt, but Haslam's senior season was a struggle under a true freshman quarterback. No Teel, no Ray Rice, not many yards or points.
"It was the same exact offensive line," Haslam said. "Eyes on (Davis) put eyes on me. I did get noticed. As far as not being drafted, some things just happen."
Haslam is a work in progress. He came to Rutgers undersized and immediately began his quest to grow into an offensive line position.
"He's a guy we liked because I think he has a lot of upside," Smith said. "He made great strides at Rutgers. He's shown the ability to bend and move his feet laterally. He has a chance to make our roster. I like what I see so far."
His upside attracted 15 teams that were willing to sign him to an undrafted free-agent contract. The Jaguars brought him to Jacksonville for a pre-draft visit and regarded Haslam as a preferred free-agent prospect.
"Fifteen teams and you have five minutes to make a choice," Haslam said. It came down to the Jaguars, Giants and Chargers.
"I don't come in here thinking I'm going to start. I'm trying to learn the offense so I can have a chance to compete for a roster spot," he said.
Haslam's bid is obviously with the future in mind.