The Jaguars brought an end to their spring practice season on Thursday with a short but spirited final session, and it was wide receiver Mike Walker who stole the show, again.
Walker, who is battling back from knee surgery and a season on the injured reserve list, made a leaping, twisting catch along the sideline in a team passing drill. The catch caused a cheer from his teammates and left quarterback David Garrard to applaud.
Did the Jaguars' wide receivers order themselves during the spring?
"The best players will play. It'll work itself out," head coach Jack Del Rio said, declining to divulge depth chart information at the position as the team heads toward training camp.
Walker only started practicing last week. In the span of six practices, it's believed he has put himself in no worse than the number five spot among the wide receivers. He finished OTAs with several catches on Thursday.
Troy Williamson is thought to be no worse than fourth on the wide receiver depth chart following an ultra-impressive performance this spring, especially in the final two weeks.
"We're excited about what Troy has added and I thought Jerry Porter, prior to getting injured, had a strong spring season," Del Rio said, referring to the team's two prominent offseason acquisitions at wide receiver.
"I feel like we had a real successful offseason. I feel we added a lot of talent to the roster and we return a solid nucleus," Del Rio said. "We have big, strong ambitions of what we'd like to accomplish this year. I think David Garrard, the step he took last year is something we can build on, and I think he showed that this spring."
The Jaguars will conclude their offseason conditioning program on June 27. Training camp will begin on July 26.
So, who are the winners of the spring?
Williamson—Based on his performance, Williamson could turn out to be the Jaguars' best trade since they acquired two draft picks from Buffalo for Rob Johnson and used one of those picks to select Fred Taylor. Williamson was acquired from the Vikings for a sixth-round pick. This spring, he's played to the level of a top 10 pick, which he was in 2005. Heading into training camp, Williamson has a major head start on winning a roster spot and a whole lot more. Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter loves the speed and big-play potential Williamson has shown.
Richard Collier—Left tackle appears to be his job to lose. Del Rio promoted Collier to the first team in mini-camp and Collier finished OTAs on Thursday running with the ones. There would seem to be a message in Collier's promotion: Keep your weight down and be in shape for the start of training camp.
D'Juan Woods—He's this year's version of Charles Sharon and Chad Owens. Woods caught just about everything thrown his way this spring and never missed a practice. He's greatly improved his route-running and he has an edge over the competition for the final wide receiver spot: Woods can play special teams.
Walker—For the second consecutive spring, Walker has proven that he has big-time receiving skills. In training camp he'll have a chance to prove his knee is ready for a roster spot. That's all that remains. He's got everything else.
Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves—The team's two top draft picks made it clear right from the start of OTAs that they have the speed and quickness to be the pass-rushing threats for which they were drafted. "We targeted defensive end and got two good players there," Del Rio said on Thursday.
Brian Williams—He was moved from cornerback to strong safety this spring and it's a move that suits Williams perfectly. He could be headed for a big year.
Justin Durant—With Clint Ingram on the shelf for much of the spring, Durant may have gotten a head start in his battle with Ingram for the third starting linebacker job. Durant flashed pass-coverage skills this spring few thought he possessed.
Mike Peterson—He missed no practices and has lost no energy for the game. Peterson had an outstanding spring and is likely headed for another big season. In his contract year, Peterson, no doubt, has made the Pro Bowl a goal. Why not?
Cleo Lemon—Media perception is that Lemon had a bad spring and even his head coach admitted that Lemon had struggled, but Lemon scored a victory with his coordinator, Koetter, who praised Lemon's progress in a new system with new terminology and against a defense that blitzed on nearly every down of team drills. Lemon finished OTAs with his best week of practice this spring.
Reggie Williams—He entrenched himself as the team's number two receiver.
Gregg Williams—The new defensive coordinator quickly established his system.
Jack Del Rio—His team is built, top to bottom. There are no glaring weaknesses. It's ready to win.