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View from the O-Zone: It's a good thing … really



MOBILE, Ala. – Well, here we are again.

Yes, we're here at the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, and once again the Jaguars are knee deep in all that that entails.

The brightly-colored team-issued garb in the Battle House lobby.  The pre-Mardi Gras green and purple on Royal Street. The Renaissance Riverview lobby stuffed with coaches, players, scouts, media, autograph-seekers and all the things that make Mobile the annual late-January home of the NFL.

For a third consecutive season, the Jaguars' coaches are coaching the South team.

And you know what? That's OK. Really.

No, it's not ideal that the Jaguars' are coaching this game again. In fact, it's a long way from ideal. That's because how the Senior Bowl works is the two teams with the worst record whose staffs remain relatively intact get the first crack at the game. If one of those staffs decline, the NFL moves on down the list.

In order to coach the game, you can't have been very successful.

In order to coach the game three consecutive years …

Well, to coach three consecutive seasons, your team has to struggle for a while. A long while. That's the Jaguars' situation, and it's not possible to call coaching in the Senior Bowl an overwhelming positive in that sense. Shoot, it's even understandable if Jaguars fans are a little – or maybe even a whole lot – tired of the scenario.

That's not the point this week.

Here is the point: What's past is past, and you can't undo the record the last three seasons. If the Jaguars are going to be in this less-than-ideal situation of having won just 12 games in three seasons, then they may as well get some benefit to it.

And if Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley is tired of being in the position to coach the Senior Bowl – which he most undoubtedly is – he didn't speak last week like a guy anxious to turn down the opportunity.

"It's pretty good now," Bradley said. "When you say, 'Hey, do you want to coach the Senior Bowl?' Some guys go, 'Here we go.' But when you're there and you're coaching it, it's unbelievable.''

The reason it's a positive is simple: the Senior Bowl annually features some of the top collegiate prospects heading into the April 28-30 NFL Draft; that's the case this year, too. The game isn't loaded with Top 15 prospects, so it's unlikely the Jaguars this week will coach the player they select No. 5 overall in late April. But it is loaded with potential second- to seventh-round selections, so is there a high-percentage chance that one, two or three players from the South team could end up playing for the Jaguars?

Yeah, there's a pretty good chance of that.

Throwback images of current Jaguars' players taking part in the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

Rewind two years ago to the first time this coaching staff coached the game. The Jaguars several months later selected linebacker Telvin Smith, defensive end Chris Smith and cornerback Aaron Colvin, all of whom played for the South team. They also selected guard Brandon Linder, who played for the North team.

Linder, Colvin and Telvin Smith undoubtedly qualify as three of the better selections of General Manager David Caldwell's three-draft tenure.

Would they be on the Jaguars if not for the Senior Bowl? Maybe, maybe not.

Will the Jaguars have similar success this year? Only time will tell, but the South roster is a good one this year, and it's really good on defense. There's no way to know if the Jaguars will draft Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison, or Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland or Alabama defensive end Jarran Reed.

But having a week with those guys in Mobile sure won't hurt, and there's little question the Jaguars see benefit to having time to find out in detail and in person whether or not such players are a fit.

"You find some things out," Bradley said. "You find some things about guys that you really like and then I think you find some things out that you say, 'I think you have to be careful that you don't jump to conclusions.' It's just a piece of the puzzle. There's a lot of good information, a lot of good information. We get a chance to visit with both teams.

"To me, who does it help? It helps all of us. It helps our organization. It helps as coaches. It really helps Dave and his staff. We can knock out 80 guys or 90 guys or however many it is. That part is great."

So, yeah, it's OK that the Jaguars are here again. They'll benefit from it, and they may even get another Colvin, or another Smith, or another Linder.

That's not awful. In fact it's pretty good.

It's also well worth the commitment to coach in Mobile for a week.

Even if it's not exactly ideal.

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