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View from the O-Zone: Hoping for impact


INDIANAPOLIS – General Manager David Caldwell is certain the Jaguars can get a really good player on the evening of April 28. Really certain.

Gus Bradley's confident, too.

In fact, when Bradley – the Jaguars' head coach – appeared on LIVE Friday, we asked if maybe, just maybe, there might be a future impact player for the Jaguars walking around Lucas Oil Stadium that day …

"You'd like to think so, right?" Bradley said. "There are a lot of good football players."

Yeah, the Jaguars would like to think so.  They certainly hope so.

And wouldn't it be nice?

Actually, it would be more than nice. It's pretty much a have-to, because Friday was defensive line/linebacker day in the media center at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine, with secondary to follow Saturday. That makes these a darned interesting two days for Jaguars followers. Somewhere in the flurry of big-time prospects that made their way through Lucas Oil Stadium Friday could have been the Jaguars' selection at No. 5 overall in the April 28-30 2016 NFL Draft.

If he wasn't there Friday, you figure he almost has to be there Saturday.

Know this about that player: He needs to be good. Really good.

And it sure would be nice if he was good in a hurry.

Will he be? Who knows? But one by one, a bunch of them made their way through Lucas Oil Stadium Friday. So, one by one, we watched.

There was Joey Bosa …

The edge rusher from Ohio State arrived first, sporting a laid-back, South Florida attitude and neck-long locks. At ease in front of the media, he spoke of having a father, John Bosa, who also had been a first-round pick. And yes, he said, believed he was the best player in the draft.

"I think as a player if you don't believe that then there's kind of something wrong," he said.

He also said, yeah, he'll probably keep going by Joey rather than Joe – even when he's grown up and playing in the NFL.

"I never really see myself as a 'Joe,'" Bosa said, drawing laughter from the media. "Maybe when I'm 50, I'll be 'Joe.' ... 'Old Man Joe.'''

He also was asked his targeted 40-yard dash time here this week.

"As fast as I can," he said.

There also were DeForest Buckner and Myles Jack. A defensive lineman from Oregon and a possibility in the Top Five, Buckner said he is comfortable in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme. He said he can be an interior four-three tackle or a three-four end.

"They can get a complete defensive lineman when they pick me," he said.

Jack, from UCLA, is considered one of the best coverage linebackers to enter the draft in recent memory. He said teams have discussed him playing all three linebacker spots – they've even mentioned safety – and he said while he played multiple positions at UCLA, he knows he'll probably have to focus on one in the NFL.

If Jack was the Jaguars' selection, it's possible he would eventually play middle – and that he could play the position quickly in passing situations.

"I'm more than capable of doing that," Jack said of playing the middle.

And then there was Noah Spence …

If Bosa isn't the draft's best edge rusher, it's probably Spence, who as expected spent podium time Friday addressing the failed drug tests that caused a collegiate career that began at Ohio State to end at Eastern Kentucky. Spence was confident and contrite Friday, answering questions confidently. His issues are behind him, he said.

"I feel like everything I've done is out in the open," he said. "There's nothing to hide."

One player not there Friday: Jalen Ramsey. The Florida State safety/cornerback will speak Saturday, and no doubt he's a player to watch on draft day. Few expect him to be there at No. 5. If he is, he'll be hard to pass.

But for the most part, they were there in Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday … the names you're hearing with the Jaguars, the names that make sense. To listen to Caldwell this week, this will be a defense-heavy draft; it's hard to imagine the emphasis won't begin with the first selection.

Is help on the way? Is there impact?

Caldwell seemed confident there would be when asked Thursday – and draftniks, too, seem confident that the player at No. 5 will be good. Really good.

What would that mean for the defense? Another first-rounder to pair with the first-rounder you're getting next year when Dante Fowler Jr. returns for one. A front-line talent on a defense that needs elite talent for another.

Was that player there Friday? Very possibly. Will he be good? Will it happen in a hurry?

The Jaguars sure hope so. And wouldn't it be nice?

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