What we learned: Jaguars at the combine

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Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles walks from the podium after a news conference at the team's NFL football training facility in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The NFL Scouting Combine rolls on.

That’s true of the on-field portion of the combine, with quarterbacks and wide receivers going through position drills Saturday – and with defensive players going through position drills on Sunday and Monday.

But another part – the media-availability portion – ends over the weekend, so as jaguars.com’s coverage of the event draws to an end we take a look at what we learned about the Jaguars at the ’19 scouting combine:

*1.Nick Foles will be an unrestricted free agent. *This isn’t officiallyJaguars news, but it could have Jaguars ramifications. The Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday surprised many in the NFL when Executive Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman announced they would not apply the franchise tag to quarterback Nick Foles. That means Foles will become an unrestricted free agent on the March 13 start of the 2019 NFL League year. There previously had been speculation the Eagles could franchise Foles in an attempt to trade him.

*2.A lot of people think Foles is headed to the Jaguars. *If there was a theme among observers this week it was that the Jaguars are the favorite to sign Foles. It is important to note that the Jaguars have not commented on Foles or said anything official regarding the possibility.

*3.Foles to the Jaguars is no guarantee. *Anything being said along these lines is speculation. The Jaguars’ quarterback situation will begin playing out around March 13. It hasn’t remotely played out yet – no matter what you read or hear.

*4.The offense will be a collective venture. *Head Coach Doug Marrone has emphasized this since hiring offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in January and did again this week. “The one thing people look into and they will say, ‘Hey John came from Minnesota or Philadelphia or Cleveland or Oakland and he has been an offensive coordinator and he is just going to bring his playbook in and teach everyone else,’” Marrone said. “That is not the best way in my opinion. The way that we have done it kind of like my first time with [Head] Coach [Sean] Payton in New Orleans. We got together, and we said to ourselves: ‘We all have these types of backgrounds, we all come from different types of systems. Let’s put something together that is our own.’ For us it will be the Jacksonville Jaguars playbook. Everyone has ownership of it. Everyone feels comfortable about teaching it and it is something that we can all be proud of. It is not on just one individual.”

*5.Blake Bortles is still on the roster … *That’s important to note, too – because while speculation is that the team will move on from their 2014-2018 starting quarterback, Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell this week emphasized that Bortles has not yet been told he will not return. 

*6. … but he’s probably not returning. *It was clear listening to Caldwell and Marrone this week that the quarterback situation is very uncertain, and that the team is strongly considering many options. Caldwell talked of a “big-picture” approach. That is the opposite of what would be said if Bortles was likely to return.

*7. The Jaguars still feel good about the roster. *Much of observers’ offseason focus has been on the Jaguars’ roster having major needs. Caldwell made clear the Jaguars don’t believe they’re _that far _away. “We feel like we still have a core of players we can win with,” Caldwell said. “It needs a little bit of retooling and it needs a little bit of reshuffling and an influx of some talent – whether it’s draft picks or free agents. Then, we can hit the ground running come September next year.”

*8.The Jaguars like what they hear from Fournette. *That was clear listening to Marrone and Caldwell Wednesday. Both talked about running back Leonard Fournette being in a “good place,” and Marrone said he liked the idea of Fournette training in Wyoming with his former strength-and-conditioning coach at Louisiana State.

*9. … and they still need to see more. *Caldwell in addition to saying Fournette seemed in good place, said it sounded as if Fournette was taking his nutrition and workouts seriously. He added, “We will see when he comes in April with the rest of the veterans and in the OTAs.” That will be an important time.

*10.The Jaguars may not prioritize wide receiver in the offseason. *Caldwell had this to say on Jaguars.com Live about wide receiver: “To find big-time help is not the easiest thing to do at that position, so let’s be clear on that one. Two, can you get big-time help from the guys you have currently that have gotten better and are utilized in a different manner. We feel like there’s a chance we can do that.”

*11.The Jaguars have high hopes for Chark. *A reason the Jaguars feel good about wide receiver: the potential of DJ Chark Jr., who will enter his second season next season. While Chark caught just 14 passes for 174 yards and missed five games late in the 2018 season with a quadriceps injury, Caldwell said he showed positive signs. “He was a dynamic special teams player, but you saw some games – Kansas City – where he can be a deep threat,” Caldwell said. “We hope he can continue to grow in that and be able to stretch the field. Sometimes with receivers it takes a year or two years for them to come on and really be dynamic.”

*12.Seferian-Jenkins could return. *Caldwell made clear on multiple occasion Wednesday that although the Jaguars declined the option on veteran tight end Austin-Seferian-Jenkins’ contract he could be brought back after free agency begins. “He might find this is the best spot for him, and we’d be open to bringing him back,” Caldwell said.

*13.The Jaguars are pleased with Dareus. *Veteran defensive tackle Marcell Dareus not only restructured a cap-friendly contract extension last week, he approached the Jaguars about the possibility. Caldwell called it an “unselfish move.” Marrone, who coached Dareus in Buffalo in 2013-2014, added: “I can’t say enough about Marcell. I am glad we are together. I told him in the beginning that I started with him and I want to be with him as we work our way through this next season.”

*14.The Jaguars will pick up cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s extension. *This wasn’t a surprise, but Caldwell this week for the first time said publicly that the Jaguars will pick up the option on Ramsey’s contract in 2020. Caldwell also added that the team has yet to decide on contract extensions for Ramsey, who became eligible for extensions following the ’18 season.

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