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Jags wait for Manuwai


As they had with each of their first two draft selections, the Jaguars made their third-round choice within seconds of going on the clock. Clearly, the Jaguars got the players they wanted.

In the third round it was Hawaii guard Vince Manuwai, 6-2, 304, a three-year starter who didn't allow a sack in his last 35 games. The Jaguars had projected Manuwai to be a second-round pick and considered trading up to take him, but decided to wait it out.

"We called his college coach and he said he was a 15-year starter," Jaguars personnel director James "Shack" Harris said of Manuwai, whose college coach is former Atlanta Falcons head coach June Jones.

"He brings a demeanor to the offensive line. He's tough. We think he has long-term value," Harris added.

Manuwai could become one half of the NFL's only all-Hawaiian guards team. The Jaguars' right guard is Chris Naeole, also a native Hawaiian.

"Yeah, I'm aware of that," Manuwai said of the spot at left guard made vacant by Brad Meester's move to center. "Even before the draft, I started working on a left-handed stance." Manuwai played right guard at Hawaii.

"You can say he'll start at center in our next mini-camp," head coach Jack Del Rio said of Meester, who was judged to have worked effectively at center in the team's April mini-camp. "He had a good camp the first time around and we hope it'll go up from there."

"This is the guy we were going to pick," Harris said of Manuwai.

His selection meant none of the Jaguars' first-day draft choices came from major conference schools. "We're grading the player, not the school," Harris said. "We're very pleased with the first three picks because in each case they were players we had already targeted."

Del Rio said Manuwai has a chance to be the opening-day starter at left guard, "if he earns it, yes. We took him because we thought he has the potential to be a starter."

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