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Rookies' first day: Five takeaways


1.A big, happy family.James Sample is ready for what lies ahead – and ready for his phone to stop ringing. Sample, a safety from Louisville selected in Round 4 of the 2015 NFL Draft, played just one full season at the Division I level after transferring from American Community College before this past season. "From what I was hearing around, it was, 'He's a one-hit wonder,''' Sample said. "I don't think that's the case at all. I'm ready to prove them wrong." Of the days since the draft, Sample said, "It's been a little crazy. You get a lot of phone calls from cousins you don't know about. That's the crazy part." Any unusual requests? "Not yet," he said, "but I have a whole lot of new cousins, though." Sample, who was considered a strong safety by most draft analysts, said he was "shocked" when he learned the Jaguars wanted him to compete for the free safety job. "But I'm ready for the task," he said.

2.Ready to be coached.Rashad Greene, one of the more-talked about members of a much-talked about Jaguars rookie class, said he wasn't surprised or bothered to be selected in the fifth round. Many analysts projected the former Florida State wide receiver as a potential Day Two selection, and the Jaguars expressed surprise that he wasn't selected by the end of Round 4. "That's something that's completely out of my control," Greene said. "I only can do what I can control. … It was just about getting the opportunity here at the Jags. It's really what I asked for, and God answered it for me." Greene said his pre-draft visit to EverBank Field in April went well, and that his good feeling about joining the Jaguars stemmed in part from a good feeling about wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan, whom he first met early at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. "Just talking with him, I understand what kind of coach he is," Greene said. "He's definitely a guy that's hands-on, which I prefer." Greene, like running back T.J. Yeldon, guard A.J. Cann and wide receiver Neal Sterling, received a text from quarterback Blake Bortles shortly after being selected by the Jaguars.

3.Wrapping it up.Sterling wasn't shocked to be in an NFL camp this weekend, though the wide receiver from Monmouth University said he was a bit surprised when the Jaguars called Saturday to tell him they were taking him in Round 7, No. 220 overall. He said he had received calls before that from teams telling him they wanted him as an undrafted free agent. Sterling, who said he first realized during his junior year that the NFL was a possibility, said he spent the early part of the week finishing two exams and a sports marketing internship at Monmouth. "It's been a crazy process," said Sterling. "It's been busy, but definitely worth it." Sterling also said he would be fine with switching to tight end at some point in the future: "If the team feels I should be a tight end and play inside, I'll do it."

4.Back of all trades.The Jaguars selected Yeldon in part because of a belief that he was more capable of being an every-down back than many backs in the draft. Yeldon – a junior from Alabama – said the ability to catch, block and run is no accident. "That's basically what we did at Alabama," he said. "If couldn't block or catch the ball, you weren't going to play." Yeldon caught 46 passes for 494 yards and two touchdowns at Alabama. "I enjoy it a lot," he said. "I wish we could have used it a little bit more this year, so I can catch the ball." Yeldon, a second-round selection, was the third back taken behind Todd Gurley (St. Louis, No. 10 overall) and Melvin Gordon (San Diego, No. 15 overall) in what many considered a deep, talented running back draft. "I wasn't focused on that," Yeldon, who said he compares himself to Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, said. "I was really just focused on myself. I know what I can do. I can't control anything else, so I didn't focus on anything else."

Neal Sterling, James Sample, T.J. Yeldon, Rashad Greene and A.J. Cann met with members of the media at EverBank Field on Thursday.

5.Oh so close.Second-round guard A.J. Cann started 51 of 52 games at South Carolina, and very nearly finished with a perfect starting record for the Gamecocks. The lone exception came when Cann didn't start at Florida in 2012. "Some things went wrong the previous game, and (Gamecocks Head) Coach (Steve Spurrier) decided to sit a few guys out," he said. "I was one of those guys. There was a part of me that was like, 'Why did that have to happen?' Then again, I was happy with the career I had at South Carolina." Cann, who is expected to compete at left guard with veteran Zane Beadles, said he is equally comfortable at left or right guard.

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