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Unpacking the 2019 NFL Draft: "He's a really interesting kid…"

Portrait of Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew II at the NFL football scouting combine, Friday, March 1, 2019, in Indianapolis. (Todd Rosenberg via AP)
Portrait of Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew II at the NFL football scouting combine, Friday, March 1, 2019, in Indianapolis. (Todd Rosenberg via AP)

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser unpacks the final two days of the 2019 NFL Draft, with the Jaguars' decision-makers discussing the week that was …

1. The Jaguars liked a lot about the draft, including the selection of Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew in Round 6 – No. 178 overall. Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin led his post-draft media availability Saturday discussing Minshew's interview with the Jaguars at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. "He came in and said, 'Yeah, I know. I'm too short, I'm too slow and my arm is not good enough. But I just went to Washington State and won 11 games.' Not bad," Coughlin said. "He is a really interesting kid." Minshew could emerge from the offseason and training camp as the backup to starter Nick Foles, with major reasons being his makeup and high football intelligence. "The real thing about this guy is the competitiveness," Coughlin said. "He's very smart, he's very sharp. He loves the game, he loves the study part of the game. He'll be a great guy in the classroom with the coaches. He will suck up all that information up and then based on what we have seen he will go onto the practice field and carry it with him. Some guys can't do that, or don't do it as fast. They don't process. They're not as quick. I think this guy will be quick. … We're excited about the competition that will now take place with those three young guys that play behind Nick [Foles]. It will be a great situation for us."

2. The Jaguars' talked throughout the offseason about their faith in their receiving corps, and they backed up that belief when they didn't address the position in the draft. While many observers believed they could select receiver as early as Day 2 – or even Day 1 – the Jaguars like their core group of Dede Westbrook, Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole, DJ Chark Jr. and Chris Conley. "I don't see what the issue with those guys are," Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said, adding: "We feel like we have a group of receivers there who are pretty good. Not every team has a dynamic No. 1. You can probably count less than five teams in the league that have that guy. As long as you have some really good starting receivers, which we feel like that room is, we feel like all will be able to contribute. … Those guys are good players."  

3. A factor that impressed the Jaguars about third-round tight end Josh Oliver: his ability to deal with adversity. Oliver played at San Jose State, which finished 1-10 while playing three different quarterbacks extensively this past season. Oliver led the Spartans with 56 receptions for 709 yards and four touchdowns. "He said all that when he was here [on a pre-draft visit]," Coughlin said. "He basically was a humble kid that said one of the most difficult things that he has ever been through is a one-win season and the role he was in as a leader and what he had to do each day when he came to work knowing full well … 'they were up, they were down, get the daubers back up, we have to play someone else again this week.' It was difficult. He has learned something from that, I think. He earned the respect of his coaches."

4. The Jaguars on Saturday made yet another move in an offseason overhaul at running back, selecting Temple running back RyQuell Armstead in Round 5 – No. 140 overall. "He's a physical, downhill, one-cut runner," Caldwell said. "He runs aggressively. He's a similar running style to [starter] Leonard [Fournette], so it will be a nice one-two punch. We needed a young back in that stable." The Jaguars since the end of last season have added Armstead, veteran Thomas Rawls and unrestricted free agents Alfred Blue and Benny Cunningham while releasing Carlos Hyde and allowing T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant to become free agents. Only Fournette and reserve David Williams remain on the roster from last season. "The priority was to have depth," Caldwell said. "You can never have enough depth at that position. Leonard's in a good spot. He looks great and is in shape. We feel good about him being our lead guy. We'll go from there and see how the pieces fall going into training camp."

5. After selecting seven players in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Jaguars currently have nine selections in the 2020 NFL Draft: one in the first round, one in the second round, one in the third round, one in the fourth round, two in the fifth round, two in the sixth round and one in the seventh round. They have an extra fifth-round selection from the Los Angeles Rams in the Dante Fowler Jr. trade and they acquired an extra sixth-round selection from Seattle Saturday in exchange for a 2019 seventh-round selection – the No. 236 overall selection. "It came about a couple of picks [before the selection]," Caldwell said of Saturday's trade. "They said, 'Hey, if our guy's there will you trade 236 for next year's sixth?' I said, 'Well, we've got one guy we like and we have another guy we kind of like, so we'll see.' The one guy we liked was [Auburn defensive tackle] Dontavius [Russell], so we took him. It's always nice to have that value, especially going into cutdown day if you want to make a trade. And it gives us nine picks next year."

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