We all remember the legend of Cap Capi. The defensive end was the talk of the Jacksonville Jaguars training camp in 2015. Fans were talking about him like he was the second coming of Tony Brackens and could be the next Bruce Smith if the Jaguars found the right place for him on the defensive line.
There are other players who could create the same kind of buzz this season during OTAs and training camp. For now, the Jacksonville Jaguars will focus on 90 players trying to make a name for themselves – either by retaining a roster spot or those who will shock the world and make the team or the practice squad.
The Jaguars are loaded with talent, with few weak spots. Still, there figures to be a position or two that will showcase a battle for a starting slot. Also, there are players who will remain under a microscope as they move through camp toward the preseason.
Here is a look at five players to watch during OTAs and training camp:
Blair Brown, Linebacker
He isn’t replacing Paul Posluszny in the middle, but he does have a chance to become a starter on the outside.
First, Brown must fend off seventh-round draft pick Leon Jacobs out of Wisconsin. Brown showed promise last season when he played while Telvin Smith dealt with a concussion the second half of the 2017 season. At 6-foot and 238 pounds, he and Jacobs are almost the identical player.
How will Brown transition from a part-time player to being in space with more reps. He has nice speed to make move to a starting role, I question if he has the tools to do it for 16 straight games.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tight End
He signed this offseason and the Jaguars jettisoned veteran leader Marcedes Lewis. There is a lot riding on Seferian-Jenkins to become a playmaker in the Jaguars offense. He is younger, but his 7-yards a catch last season could be some concern.
The one thing Jacksonville miss more than anything with the loss of Lewis is blocking. Can the tight ends become better blockers and can Seferian-Jenkins prove to be a red zone target for quarterback Blake Bortles?
If Seferian-Jenkins can catch 40 passes this year, the free agent will be one of the better signings this offseason.
Corey Grant, Running Back
Corey Grant could have been the difference in the Jaguars winning the AFC Title game and staying home for the Super Bowl. When he was catching footballs out of the backfield, the New England Patriots had no answer for him.
Now, Grant could be a bigger part of the Jaguars running game. He has proven when given a chance he can deliver. He also has been a cog in the team’s success on special teams. The Jaguars released Chris Ivory, which means T.J. Yeldon will remain Jacksonville’s backup running back.
But a strong camp means Grant gets more carries and could be a difference maker.
D.J. Hayden, Cornerback
Hayden was a washout in Oakland and then signed a three-year, $19 million deal with the Jaguars. He is being asked to replace Aaron Colvin, which will be hard to do.
The upside with signing Hayden is he does not have to start and with the secondary in place, he will be the nickel cornerback. Leaving him out in space to make plays by himself may be a problem. Still, did the Jaguars overpay for his services, which were less than stellar in the bay area?
Of all the free agents the Jaguars signed, this is the one I question the most.
Rashad Greene, Wide Receiver
Where does Greene fit in with all this talent? Is it a foregone conclusion Greene will be released during training camp?
The Jaguars’ spent a second-round draft pick on DJ Chark out of LSU. General manager Dave Caldwell told the media the night he was drafted Chark could help the team in the return game. There is also Jaydon Mickens, who was electric on punt returns and showed some promise as a fifth wide receiver.
Add Donte Moncrief to the mix along with Dede Westbrook and Marqise Lee and there really isn’t much room on this roster. Greene will need an exceptional training camp and offseason to make this roster.