JACKSONVILLE – As Telvin Smith prepares for his third NFL offseason, a few things are prominent on his mind.
One is while he has been good in two NFL seasons, he can still improve. Another is his first two years in the NFL have gone fast. Really, really fast.
"It's crazy, how fast time goes by," the Jaguars' starting weak-side linebacker said during an appearance on Jaguars.com LIVE Wednesday with John Oehser and J.P. Shadrick.
"It's a blessing, though, because some people don't make it to the two that I've made it. I'm ready to embrace it, though. I'm where I know I'm supposed to be and everything is lining up."
Still another thing is that two seasons into his NFL career, Smith believes it's time to take on a bigger role, a more reliable role, a more consistent role …
And yes, a leadership role.
He said he has learned much of about the latter role from his teammate, friend and mentor Paul Posluszny – the Jaguars' veteran starting middle linebacker – and entering his third season, he's ready to use what he has learned in that area on the field.
"When you hear me talk about leadership and standing in that role, I learned that from Poz," Smith said. "For a while, he has been that guy on the defense and he's going to continue to be that guy. I've learned from him that I've got to take what I'm thinking and put it into these actions.
"A lot of times guys talk and say the right things, but they're not following up with them. These first two years, I've said a lot of things. I've done a lot of things, but there's stuff I've left on the table. From him I've learned, 'Seize every moment.'
"We've talked about some serious stuff. Poz is a great guy. He shoots it to me straight. The next contract, being the future of the organization … that's the kind of conversations we have and what I'm getting from him."
Smith also discussed the end of his 2015 season when he missed the final two games because of shoulder and finger injuries sustained in a Week 15 loss to Atlanta. Smith finished that game despite leaving and returning multiple times to deal with the injuries.
"Playing through pain is just a mindset; you just have to be willing to go through it," he said.
Smith missed the final two games of the season: a 38-27 loss at New Orleans and a 30-6 loss at Houston. Those games were two of the Jaguars' four most one-sided losses of the season.
"It was tough," Smith said. "Not just because of me not playing, but just because I wanted to see the growth of the team [continue] at the end of the season. I didn't like that Saints game at all. I don't think anybody on the team did. That's still a nasty one in my mouth.
"The way we finished, I felt like I wanted to be more of a part of it and I wasn't."
Also on Wednesday, Chase Goodbread of NFL.com's College Football 24/7 joined Jaguars.com LIVE, discussing among other topics the depth of the defensive-tackle position in the 2016 NFL Draft.
"The defensive tackles are as deep as a lot of people can remember," Goodbread said, noting that NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock has said that as many as 10 interior defensive linemen could receive a first-round grade from at least one NFL team.
Goodbread also noted that Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell's thought last offseason that this year's edge-rusher class might not be deep has proved prophetic. Caldwell said following the 2015 NFL Draft one reason the team selected edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. No. 3 overall in that draft was the edge-rusher class this year didn't appear strong.
"Sure enough, 11 months later you've got a top guy in [projected Top 5 selection Joey] Bosa [of Ohio State], for sure," Goodbread said. "After that, teams maybe aren't quite sure what they're getting."