JACKSONVILLE – His motivation is simple.
"I'm here for the love of the game," K'Lavon Chaisson said.
If that's something many NFL players say, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said Monday his early impression is that the words are more than words for Chaisson – a trait that is among several Marrone likes about the No. 20 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.
"It's been impressive," Marrone said.
Marrone spoke to the media Monday via videoconference before a 2020 Training Camp practice, and Chaisson – who played collegiately at Louisiana State University – spoke afterward. And while Marrone tried not to overpraise, he made clear he was impressed by the young edge defender.
"I'm excited about where he is," Marrone said.
Marrone said he was particularly impressed with Chaisson's response to missing the early part of camp with a hamstring injury. Marrone said while he sensed Chaisson was frustrated by the injury, he also watched to see if he was player who needed to be 100 percent to practice because NFL players must play through injuries to be effective.
Marrone said Chaisson answered that question quickly.
"He was able to get to a point where we were able to put him out there, and he wanted to be out there," Marrone said.
Chaisson, who has impressed in pass-rush drills – and with impressive athleticism and outside rush speed – since returning to practice last week, said Marrone needn't have been concerned.
"Every chance I get, I'm trying to play," Chaisson said. "It's the game of football; you'll never be 100 percent playing this game. It's a physical sport. Any little bumps and bruises that I can play through, I'm going to try to play through everything. I just want the team to know that no matter what I'm going to be here for the team.
"I'm still treating. I'm still taking care of my body every day. I'm still making sure I'm getting rehab the appropriate way to make sure I maintain and stay at the level I want to on the field."
Chaisson, who registered 9.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss at LSU, missed all but one game in 2018 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. As a result, he said Monday, "No matter what, I'm trying to play."
"When I had a year taken away from me, sitting on that sideline was something hurtful to be a part of," he said. "That's not something I want to go through again. Any chance I can, I'm willing to play through it."
Chaisson was considered by some observers as athletic as any player in the draft this past offseason, and reports were that some teams considered him a Top 10 selection. The Jaguars considered selecting him No. 9 overall before selecting cornerback CJ Henderson there with the first of their two first-round selections.
Marrone on Monday said that potential has been evident early in camp.
"You talk about strength, speed … he's probably faster than I thought when I watched the film," Marrone said. "He's extremely fast and covers a lot of ground in a short period of time. He takes these long strides and he just closes quickly. I don't want to jump the gun and anoint someone already. There's still a lot of work to do. But as far as the physical tools, when you see him live and see him every day …
"I'm more impressed with him now – his ability, his talent – when we actually took him."
Chaisson, who said Monday he is benefitting working against Jaguars starting tackles Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor in practice, said little has surprised him about the NFL – and that he is comfortable thus far learning the Jaguars' defense.
"Give it to me on the playbook on the video, or on the field right then and there, I pick up fast and I learn quick," Chaisson said. "I've been putting in the work every day when it comes to watching film or studying the playbook or being on the field. I'm taking it step-by-step, day-by-day, and just trying to learn from everything."