JACKSONVILLE – The reviews came quickly, and generally speaking, they came in positive fashion. Some even raved.
Nationwide, analysts pretty much loved the Jaguars' 2013 NFL Draft.
What that means in the coming months and seasons is anyone's guess. The future is not ours to see – never has been – and in the NFL, even the raved-reviewed draft classes must prove themselves on the field.
For the Jaguars, the next stage of that process begins on July 26, when the team is scheduled to open training camp at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields adjacent to EverBank Field in downtown Jacksonville. That's the first time the '13 draft class will put on pads in the NFL.
What do we have until then?
Well, we have speculation, and we have what little conclusion can be drawn from two minicamps and a month of non-padded organized team activities practices. Mostly, we have time – a little more than three weeks until the first training camp practice. With a little more than two months passed since the draft, we'll spend part of that time over the next two days trying to project where and how the eight-man 2013 draft class might fit in training camp and beyond.
We'll start today, with a look at the Jaguars' selections in Rounds 5-7 of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Demetrius McCray/Jeremy Harris
The Jaguars used their two seventh-round selections on the same position, continuing a draft-long trend of addressing a secondary that very much needed addressing.
McCray, acquired with the 210th selection from Appalachian State, and Harris – selected No. 208 overall from New Mexico State – were the last of five defensive backs selected by the Jaguars, as the team added needed depth at the cornerback position.
The pair worked in reserve roles on defense throughout the offseason, and would appear likely to play reserve/special teams roles once the regular season begins. Rookie third-round selection Dwayne Gratz is expected to start at one corner spot, and veteran Alan Ball was working with the starters during an open practice on the final day of minicamp.
Josh Evans!(/team/roster/josh-evans/29709a66-62ef-48d2-967b-251419ec96df/ "Josh Evans")
Make no mistake: The Jaguars loved this selection, and hopes are high for Evans.
Evans, a starter in 21 games over his last two seasons at Florida, was selected 169th overall, but the Jaguars thought much more highly of him on draft day – and appear to have continued that way throughout the offseason.
Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said shortly after the draft he believed the Jaguars got the best two safeties in the draft by selecting Evans in the sixth round and Johnathan Cyprien with the first selection of the second round.
That raised eyebrows, but Caldwell elaborated on those thoughts late in the offseason when he said that the Jaguars had Evans rated just below Cyprien on their boards. He went as far as to say that had the Jaguars not selected Cyprien when they did they might have taken Evans in the third round.
Evans worked in a reserve role in the final minicamp practice, and likely will start the season as a backup behind Cyprien and veteran Dwight Lowery, but it would not be surprising if he got significant playing time as a rookie and he could develop into a starter afterward.
Evans remains unsigned as of July 2, but Caldwell said he doesn't expect signing any of the team's remaining unsigned rookies before training camp to be an issue.
Denard Robinson!(/team/roster/denard-robinson/341adc5e-3830-4072-8fdd-a04d9668a298/ "Denard Robinson")* *
If there was a Jaguars 2013 draft selection outside of the first round that caught the eye of national observers, this was it. Robinson is fast. He's dynamic. He's a playmaker. And it's possible he could make a significant impact as early as his rookie season.
The question remains, "Just where will Robinson play?" That's a question that should be fascinating to see answered during training camp and the preseason.
Robinson, who played quarterback much of his career at Michigan, is being listed on the Jaguars' roster as an "offensive weapon," complete with an "OW" designation that has piqued the interest of national media.
What does OW mean? That's hard to know yet, but Robinson said recently he expects to line up at running back, wide receiver and even quarterback occasionally. The plan is for offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch to find as many ways to utilize Robinson's speed and playmaking ability, and Caldwell said early in the offseason Robinson could get 10-to-15 snaps a game.
Bottom line on Robinson with three weeks remaining before training camp? He's still very much an unknown, but he also may be the most-intriguing unknown on the roster.