Another draft, another rookie kicker. Will the Jaguars open the season with a rookie placekicker for the third consecutive season?
Jaguars personnel boss James Harris and coach Jack Del Rio think enough of Josh Scobee to have selected him with the first of what would be three fifth-round picks. Scobee, 6-1, 190, from Louisiana Tech, was even surprised the Jaguars selected him as early as they did.
"The feeling was that this was the second-best kicker in a limited draft, and we had a need at the position. We thought he was the best selection for us," Harris said of the pick.
Scobee converted 21 of 31 field-goal attempts last season, which was down slightly from his junior season's conversion percentage. Sixty-seven percent of his kickoffs last season resulted in touchbacks.
"I do believe kickoffs are a strong point in my game," Scobee told reporters. "I believe I'm as good as anyone in the draft and as good as anybody in the NFL, in terms of accuracy and leg strength," he added.
When asked if that included Adam Vinatieri, Scobee softened his position.
"I guess I spoke too soon," he said. "You gotta be confident."
The Jaguars are confident they need to address a kicking situation that was the league's worst last year, when Seth Marler held the job as a rookie. In 2002, the Jaguars opened the season with rookie Hayden Epstein.
"What I'm planning on doing is working as hard as I can and showing the Jacksonville coaches what I can do, how I can contribute to the team," Scobee said.
San Diego selected Iowa's Nate Kaeding in the third round, and Scobee knew Jacksonville was his likely destination. But Harris had previously said he would probably use a sixth-round pick on a kicker. Obviously, the Jaguars got antsy, which underscores the team's desperation at the position.
"There are not a lot of options available on the street. We felt he was the best option for us at this point," Harris said of Scobee, who will begin his competition with Marler and offseason acquisition Jeff Chandler at next weekend's mini-camp.