The goal for undrafted free agents is usually to make the roster. Charles Sharon should adjust his goal higher.
As an undrafted rookie last year, Sharon flashed enough skill in training camp and in the preseason to earn a spot on the practice squad. This spring, Sharon has earned him a much greater opportunity.
"You can only go by what they do when we're on the field and all he's done in the first month we've been on the field is make plays," Jaguars wide receivers coach Todd Monken said of Sharon. "By that, you'd have to say he's putting himself in position to be a starter here because he's been on the field every day and improved every day and made plays every day."
Wow! Wait until Sharon's grandmother hears about that. The Palatka kid, who wasn't good enough coming out of high school to attract the major colleges and wasn't good enough coming out of Bowling Green to warrant a draft choice, is on the verge of becoming a starting wide receiver in the NFL.
"I feel like I was supposed to be here," Sharon says of playing for the Jaguars, which just happens to be his grandmother's favorite team. "It's no pressure. It's football. It's something I like to do."
Sharon was already having a big spring when he leaped into major prominence last week with a scintillating three-day performance. By week's end, it became obvious Sharon had become a major player in the Jaguars' search for productive wide receivers.
"He's taken advantage of his opportunity and he's been productive and every day you see the quarterbacks become more comfortable throwing the ball to him," Monken said. "I think everybody can sense that."
It's not as though he was an unknown coming out of Bowling Green. He had played in a prolific college offense in which he became the school's all-time leader in receiving yards and touchdown receptions.
So why wasn't he drafted? Probably because he was too good at everything and not good enough at any one thing. Sharon didn't possess a dominant trait. He didn't have great size, great speed or great run-after-the-catch ability.
"Everyone is looking for someone with a dominant trait. Everybody is looking for a guy who can be a (number) one (receiver)," Monken said.
The Jaguars are looking for such a player. They have a lot of candidates to be a number two or number three, but they haven't been able to put their finger on a dominant pass-catcher. Could Sharon be that guy? He's reluctant to admit to much more than a goal of making the roster.
"He's done more than that," Monken said. "Again, that's without pads on. That has to be carried over into the preseason, which I think it will. There's been no indication he won't.
"I've been around football my whole life. The great players make great plays wherever they're at. If they're making plays in high school, they'll probably make them in college, and if they're making plays in college, they'll probably make plays in the pros," he added.
Sharon was prepared to make more plays in practice on Tuesday but intense storms forced cancellation of practice. The Jaguars are to practice on Wednesday and Thursday. It's not known if Tuesday's practice will be rescheduled.
"We spoke today of making a difference," Monken said of Tuesday's wide receiver meetings. "When you get on the field, not just getting through a practice but making a difference. Wherever I've been, the best players have shown it every day. How are you going to prove your worth to the team?
"I feel good about what we have," Monken said of his receivers. "I still think things have to be resolved. Players have to compete and recognize where they want to be. In my opinion, nobody has established that this player plays this position. The most consistent guys have been Charles Sharon, Dennis Northcutt and Ernest Wilford. They've been on the field the most and they've produced the most."