When the Jacksonville Jaguars chose LSU wide receiver DJ Chark, there may have been a sigh of relief in the team’s war room.
General manager Dave Caldwell told the media there was a concern the pass catcher would not be available when the team drafted 61st in the second round, so they looked to move up, hoping to get their man.
There were no takers.
Chark spoke to the local media on Friday after the team’s first rookie minicamp session. He said the weather is something he first noticed as he walked onto the practice field adjacent to TIAA Bank Field.
“You can never adjust to that heat,” Chark said. “Once you’re in it for a while, then you get used to it but once you come from running inside at LSU in the indoor [facility] and come outside, it’s an adjustment.”
Chark’s speed, where he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash and his combination of size at 6-foot-4 and speed was something Caldwell and the organization coveted. Now with the man who was a roommate of Leonard Fournette their freshman year in college in the Bayou has a chance to show how good he can be on the next level.
DJ Chark was considered one of the top stars on the Tigers’ squad, good enough to wear the honored No. 7 jersey. The same one that was worn by Fournette. Now he wants to have the same kind of impact in his rookie season as the Jaguars’ second-year running back.
Dave Caldwell, the Jaguars’ general manager talked about Chark’s height and how important it was to grab a tall, athletic wide receiver in the draft immediately after the team took the 6-foot-4, 199-pounder with the 61st selection.
“It’s big. To have that game with speed – you got Donte Moncrief and he’s a 4.3 guy and Marqise [Lee] is very fast, so this is another guy to add speed and size and on top of everything else, he’s a good punt returner, he’s a special teams player, he can be a gunner,” Caldwell said.
“That’s not why we drafted him, but he’s going to help us on those fronts too. Coach [Doug] Marrone is a big believer in having your starters and your key guys play special teams. He’s a very good run-blocker, which you don’t hear much out of a wide receiver. He’s a good fit for what we want to do offensively. He’s got some rare traits.”
For a wide receiver group that lost Allen Robinson to Chicago and Allen Hurns to Dallas, there is still plenty to like about the players that are part of this unit now. DJ Chark figures to be in the rotation with a chance to be the team’s second or third option coming out of the gate. Chark knows where he fits in the Jaguars’ scheme depends on the hard work he puts in once he gets on the field this offseason.
After he was drafted, Chark to the media through a conference call he was excited to show the Jaguars what he could do on the field, using his speed to run by defenders, catching footballs and helping the team any way he can.
“Being able to run by guys and knowing that you have to respect no. 27 in the back and being out with those other great receivers there and that program,” Chark said. “I just know that every day I am going to be working against the best DBs in the league. Being able to go over the top and get open, I feel like I am a kid in a candy store right now.”