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Seven Storylines To Watch at Jaguars Rookie Minicamp

050924 Rookie Primer Article

JACKSONVILLE – It's the first day of the rest of their lives, the next step toward a dream.

The Jaguars this weekend will hold their 2024 Rookie Minicamp at the Miller Electric Center. It's not about contact or final conclusions, but that doesn't mean it's unimportant for the players participating.

For many, it's mostly orientation – a chance for the Jaguars' nine selections in the 2024 NFL Draft to begin acclimating to professional football. For some young veterans on the roster, it's an opportunity for more work in front of coaches.

For the players invited on a tryout basis, it's just that – a chance to get a chance to join the roster, and therefore a chance to make the roster come August in Training Camp.

Here's a '24 rookie camp primer with storylines to watch:

  1. Who will attend. The Jaguars' nine selections in the '24 draft, including Round 1 wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr., will attend along with 13 players signed as collegiate free agents following the draft. Also: "First-year players" who signed a contract prior to the 2024 season but who do not have "pension credit" may participate. This is why you might see players who were on the practice squad or the roster for a game or two last season attending, but not a player such as right tackle Anton Harrison, who played 17 games as a rookie in 2023 and therefore earned a "pension credit." Teams also may invite players – rookies and veterans – to this camp on a tryout basis.
  2. What it's not. When understanding rookie minicamp, it's important to know what isn't. It's unpadded work – and for most players attending, it will mark their first extended time in an NFL facility. This is a time for players to meet coaches, have introductory meetings and gain familiarity with team facilities, routines and day-to-day schedules. Once the rookies get acclimated, the draft selections and undrafted free agents next will participate in the team's offseason program – which will include May-June organized team activities and a mid-June minicamp. That's when personnel officials and coaches get a clearer idea about roles and roster decisions.
  3. Eye on Landry. The most-experienced veteran expected to attend this week: Wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who reportedly will participate on a tryout basis. Landry, a nine-year veteran who has played with the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints, is a five-time Pro Bowl selection. He played in nine games with the Saints in 2022, missed the last three games with an ankle injury and did not play last season.
  4. A first feel. Because of the unpadded and introductory nature of the weekend, teams typically don't draw permanent conclusions regarding players. They want to get an idea if a player has the athleticism, speed, strength and physical makeup to compete in the NFL. Mostly, they want to make sure players begin learning the schemes and routines so they can begin competing when they join the entire roster for the rest of the offseason program and training camp. It's a chance for coaches and personnel officials to get first in-person impressions on the draft class and undrafted rookies – and for tryout players to impress enough to earn another chance. If you're a Jaguars observer, you want the draft class and a free agent or two to "look the part" and stand out in terms of speed or strength.
  5. Size, size, size. The Jaguars focused on adding depth and physicality to the offensive end defensive lines in the draft and collegiate free agency, selecting defensive tackles Maason Smith in Round 2 and Jordan Jefferson in Round 4. They also selected offensive tackle Javon Foster in Round 4. An offseason/training camp storyline beginning this weekend could be undrafted free agent offensive guard Steven Jones (6-feet-5, 340), a first-team All-Pac 12 selection for Oregon this past season.
  6. Speed, speed, speed. The Jaguars wanted to get bigger, stronger and faster this offseason – and they addressed speed in the draft in a big way in Thomas, Round 3 cornerback Jarrian Jones and Round 5 corner De'Antre Prince. All have run sub-4.4-second 40-yard dashes, with Round 5 running back Keilan Robinson having run a 4.2. You can't see everything in an unpadded rookie camp, but you can see speed.
  7. Special, special, special. Special teams also have been an offseason focus, with the team addressing the area significantly. There's a feeling this unit will be improved in 2024, with Robinson likely playing a key role as a returner – and Thomas and Prince contributing immediately in the area. Rookie camp player to watch: Round 6 kicker Cam Little from Arkansas. Like speed, leg talent is easily visible with or without pads.

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