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What We Learned: '15 Combine


INDIANAPOLIS – Here's what we learned from the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis …

1. Caldwell's open to a trade … Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell said he is very open to the idea of a trade back in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Jaguars hold the No. 3 selection. So, there's a storyline for the coming three months.

2. … no, really this time.Caldwell said while he had said he was open to a trade out of the Top 5 the last two offseasons – and while he did discuss a possible trade to No. 6 with Atlanta last offseason – he never really committed to the idea. That's because he believed the Jaguars had too many immediate needs. He said this week he believes the Jaguars don't have to feel pressured to draft an immediate starter this offseason, which makes the idea of a trade far more appealing.

3. And a trade is a real possibility.Much of this depends on Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota – or, more specifically, teams' desires to trade up for one of the two quarterbacks. A favorable scenario for the Jaguars could be if Winston goes to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 1 overall and the Tennessee Titans select Southern California defensive tackle/end Leonard Williams at No. 2. That would leave Mariota still available and could prompt a team to trade with the Jaguars to select him.

4. Of course …The trade scenario mentioned in the previous entry isn't without flaws. Many consider Williams the draft's best player, and a positive scenario for the Jaguars could just as easily be the two quarterbacks going No. 1 and 2 with Williams falling to three for the Jaguars.

5. The Jaguars like Blake Bortles' approach.If there was a main takeaway from Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley's press availability Thursday, that may have been it. The working out in California. The effort to bring teammates together. The work on fundamentals. Bortles, the Jaguars' starting quarterback, is entering his second season next season. He has been proactive to create an environment to work, and Bradley likes what he has heard. "The feedback we're getting … he's taking it to another level," Bradley said.

6. Shad Khan has vision.No, the Shipyards vision wasn't announced in Indianapolis. That was in Jacksonville at Tuesday's 2015 State of the Jaguars event, but whatever. It happened this week and it was too pertinent, cool and important not to mention. Vision? Yeah, it's safe to say the Jaguars' owner has it.

7. Indy is cold. I mean … yikes.

8. Julius Thomas is expected to be free.Free agency talk reigned at the combine this week, and in some cases, things went a bit deeper than talk. Reports mid-week were that Thomas – the Denver Broncos' pass-receiving tight end – is expected to hit free agency. Caldwell's not tipping his hand, but Thomas would appear a possibility for the Jaguars to pursue.

9. Free agency remains really, really vague.The window for using the franchise tag opened Monday and will close March 2. So far, there hasn't been much hard news on potential tagged players, though the Broncos have said they will use the tag on wide receiver Demaryius Thomas if the sides don't reach a long-term deal. Other possibilities include defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in Detroit, wide receiver Dez Bryant in Dallas and safety Devin McCourty in New England .The possibility of Bryant and McCourty being franchised appears strong, with Suh's situation trickier. Stay tuned on this. A lot will happen in the coming week.

Jaguars draft picks that are on currently on the team, at their NFL Combine workout.

10. Caldwell was impressed with the Jaguars' rookie class.With nearly two months having passed since the end of the season, Caldwell was asked Friday if any players stood out. He mentioned young players such as rookies Telvin Smith, Aaron Colvin, Luke Bowanko, Brandon Linder and second-year cornerback Dwayne Gratz. He also said he felt guard Zane Beadles and tackle Luke Joeckel improved over the last six games or so of the season.

11. Caldwell hates free agency …Actually, the word he used on Friday was "despised," but you get the idea. Caldwell shares the feeling many personnel types have that free agency carries too much risk at too high a cost for not enough payout …

Images from the second day of the NFL Scouting Combine held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

12. … and though Jaguars are going to participate …Caldwell's anti-free-agency feelings aside, the Jaguars will be active come March 10. The Jaguars have salary-cap space, and while Caldwell said there's not an urgency to spend for the sake of spending, they do plan to actively pursue players they feel can help them.

13. … it might not be a huge, huge splash.Caldwell was understandably vague on the Jaguars' free-agency plan; he has nothing to gain by being anything otherwise. But he said the team must be careful not to mortgage the future and sign players for the sake of signing players. Look for the Jaguars to pursue a few high-profile players very aggressively, then take a similar approach to other players that they did the past two offseasons – i.e., sign so-called second-tier free agents to more reasonable, pay-as-you-go, prove-it-to-me contracts.

Images from the second day of the NFL Scouting Combine held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

14. It's good to live in Florida.We're coming home. Thank goodness.

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