JACKSONVILLE – The more Dan Skuta sees about his new role, the more he likes.
Play an unfamiliar, oddly-titled position?
Do a lot of things that help the defense and team overall?
Skuta, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent last week during a hectic Day 1 of 2015 NFL free agency, will be asked to do all of those things in his new role with his new team. He said Wednesday he's OK with that.
Because when it comes to the unfamiliar, oddly-titled role – the team's "Otto" linebacker position – the more Skuta learns about it the more he sees himself as a fit.
"That player needs to be good at a lot of different things, which is something I pride myself in," Skuta said Wednesday while appearing on Jaguars.com Live with Brian Sexton and John Oehser. "I'm excited to try and give everything I can do get that done."
Skuta, who is entering his seventh NFL season, originally signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as a free agent shortly after the 2009 NFL Draft. He played four seasons with the Bengals, then spent the last two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, registering a career-high five sacks last season.
The Otto position, which the Jaguars created last offseason, isn't a pass-rush-centric position. That's the focus of the Leo position, a hybrid defensive end/linebacker position played this past season by Chris Clemons, Andre Branch, Ryan Davis and Chris Smith.
The Otto, played alternately last season by LaRoy Reynolds, J.T. Thomas, Geno Hayes and Dekoda Watson, is more of a strong-side run-oriented linebacker position, although the Jaguars also like that player to possess pass-rushing skills.
Skuta said he would like to see the position be a player who can set the edge against the run, "beat up on tight ends and be able to be good in pass coverage and still provide a good pass rush."
"That's a lot of different things that it takes a unique person to be able to do, but hopefully I can get it done," Skuta said, adding that it's an evolving position that caters to the skills of the player. "If they had everything they wanted out of the position it would be able to do a lot of different things."
While Skuta showed more pass-rush skills last season than in his first five, he said versatility was emphasized in his role in 49ers Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio's scheme – and doing multiple things well is something in which he takes pride.
"Through my experiences in the NFL and playing different positions, I've done everything at some point," he said. "I really get excited being out on a receiver and jamming him and giving help to a safety. Sacks are important and they're huge plays every time one happens, but I think real value is helping out everyone else on the defense as well and not just getting sacks."
*Skuta discussed his early impression of the Jaguars, and said his thoughts begin with last week's foray into free agency when the team signed tight end Julius Thomas, defensive end Jared Odrick, offensive tackle Jermey Parnell, cornerback Davon House, Skuta, wide receiver/returner Bryan Walters and safety Sergio Brown. "Seeing who they got, the excitement in the building, the commitment they have to being a playoff team and a good team is exciting to be around," Skuta said. "It's something that spreads throughout the locker room quickly and helps everything. I think they've got a lot of that right now."
The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dan Skuta.
*Skuta discussed the retirement Tuesday of 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, a third-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft who was expected to start next season. "I was surprised," Skuta said. "I didn't know that Chris had any issues during the season. I wish him the best. He's a really smart guy and has a good head on his shoulders. He's going to be fine going forward. I just feel bad that is career got cut short – or that he cut it short – because I'm sure he'd love to play if he could. … If he doesn't feel right about it, he shouldn't be out there. He's just going to be risking himself more if he's going to be out there unsure all of the time."…