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Conner: "I can handle it…"

No 154 Pick Graphic-DF

JACKSONVILLE – He's physical, with a knack for the end zone.

But as Snoop Conner sees it, he's more than those things – and he believes he will bring more to the Jaguars' offensive backfield.

"I feel like I can be a great running back for this team," he said.

Conner (5-feet-10, 222 pounds), who played three collegiate seasons at Mississippi, on Saturday was selected by the Jaguars No. 154 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft – the 11th selection of Round 5. The Jaguars traded the Selections Nos. 188 and 198 in the '22 draft to the Philadelphia Eagles for the selection used on Conner.

Conner played in 35 college games. He rushed for 1,580 career yards with 26 touchdowns, including 647 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2021 – and while many of the touchdowns were in short-yardage, Conner said there is more to his style.

"I feel like I can score from far also," said Conner, who also caught 32 passes for 225 yards at Ole Miss.  "I show both on film, too, but I feel like I have a special [ability] to get into the end zone. I think I can be a powerful back, that all-around back, that every-down back. I feel I can bring that to the team.

"I feel I can spread the field out, too. I broke a couple of long runs and never got caught from behind. I can catch the ball, too. I feel like I bring that to the table."

Conner played in a three-back rotation at Ole Miss along with Jerrion Early and Henry Parris.

"He just believed in a three-back system," Conner said of Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin. "He tried to keep the mileage down on us. It actually worked in my favor; I don't have a lot of miles on my body coming into the NFL."

While Conner carried just 8.9 times per game in college, he said he believes he can handle more carries professional. He registered 21 carries and 128 yards in a 2020 loss to Alabama.

"I put a lot on my body, the workouts I put myself through, so I feel like I can handle it," he said.

Conner could join a similar offensive approach with the Jaguars. Third-year veteran James Robinson has led the team in rushing the past two seasons and is expected to return in training camp after a season-ending Achilles injury last December.

Travis Etienne Jr., the No. 25 overall selection by the Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft, missed last season with a Lis Franc injury and is participating in the team's voluntary offseason program.

"That taught me a lot of patience in college, how to sit back and just control what you can control and always compete," Conner said of sharing time and carries in the backfield. "I'll be ready to compete."

Conner, generally projected by analysts as a likely Day 3 selection, said if the wait was long to be drafted getting the opportunity made the wait worthwhile.

"It was a little nerve-wracking, coming to this point," he said. "But they finally got me. They trust and believe in me. They put their faith and trust in me, so I'm ready to show what I can do."

NOTABLE

Conner shortly after his mid-afternoon selection joined local media covering the Jaguars via videoconference, explaining how his nickname evolved from "Snoop" to "Snoopy" at a "certain age." Conner: "I changed it to Snoop. I didn't want to be called Snoopy anymore."

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