Ken Hornack looks at some of the lesser known players who could help the Jaguars.
By KEN HORNACK FS Florida
Who on the
Jacksonville Jaguars qualifies as potentially being under the radar for 2013? Perhaps the burning question should be: Who doesn't?
More than 40 different names and faces dot the roster of a team that is in an all-out rebuilding mode. That doesn't even include Gus Bradley and an almost entirely new coaching staff that might not be finished bringing in fresh bodies before the first preseason game, much less the regular-season opener.
But when the top draft pick is an offensive lineman and the most recognizable free-agent addition is, well, no one, "under the radar" is a relative term. Presuming that
Luke Joeckel will be the right tackle and there will be starting spots on defense for tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, outside linebacker
Geno Hayes and cornerback
Alan Ball, here are some of the lowest of the low-profile Jaguars who could make an impact:
WR Mike Brown
Justin Blackmon suspended by the NFL and not scheduled to play until the Oct. 6 game at St. Louis, the focus has been largely on offseason signee Mohamed Massaquoi, holdover Jordan Shipley and fourth-round draft pick
Ace Sanders as to who will start in his absence. But don't forget about Brown, a converted college quarterback who spent the first 15 weeks of last season on the practice squad.
Bradley took a liking to the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Brown at the rookie minicamp in May. That might not mean a thing when the cutdown dates roll around. Then again, no one was talking much about
Cecil Shorts III last summer. If Brown continues to show improvement when it comes to running more precise routes, he could become Shorts 2.0.
RB Justin Forsett
The Jaguars would like to envision a full and productive season from
Maurice Jones-Drew but aren't gambling on having to muddle through like they did the better part of a year ago with
Rashad Jennings and
Jalen Parmele. Bradley and new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch were in Seattle when Forsett, a seventh-round selection by the Seahawks in 2008, went from someone who was cut to becoming a return specialist to seizing a starting job and exhibiting a fearless nature when it came to picking up blitzers.
Forsett falls somewhere between Jones-Drew and fifth-round pick
Denard Robinson on one end and
Jonathan Grimes, De'Leon Eskridge and
Jordan Todman on the other. His speed and reliability, along with what by all accounts appears to be a great deal of character, should make him a valuable asset.
FB Lonnie Pryor
In today's game, there might not be a more under-the-radar position than fullback. With the departure of Greg Jones to the
Houston Texans and the release of
Montell Owens, the undrafted rookie out of Florida State joins second-year pro Will Ta'ufo'ou as the only fullbacks currently on the Jaguars' roster.
Training camp will afford Pryor the opportunity to show how quickly he has learned the playbook and, perhaps most of all, how he can use his 224-pound body to move defenders out of the way. But don't get the impression that he's nothing more than a glorified offensive lineman. Pryor averaged nearly six yards a carry during his four years in Tallahassee and caught 13 passes for 117 yards as a senior, and the system being implemented by Fisch is similar to the one Pryor grew accustomed to with the Seminoles.
G/C Mike Brewster
The attention devoted to Joeckel and, to a lesser extent,
Eugene Monroe has obscured the question of what the rest of the offensive line will look like. Center Brad Meester returns at age 36 for his 14th year in the league, while
Will Rackley is expected to start at left guard after an ankle injury wiped out his 2012 season and
Uche Nwaneri has been projected as the starting right guard.
But Brewster, another of the many Jaguars who were never drafted coming out of college, belongs in that mix as well. He made six starts at left guard as a rookie before breaking a hand during a Week 13 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars' zone-blocking approach under new offensive line coach George Yarno appears tailored toward Brewster's quickness.
DT Kyle Love
The Jaguars had already signed Marks and Roy Miller with the intent of improving one of the lowest-ranked defenses against the run. And in May, they claimed Love, a starter in 24 games the past two seasons for the New England Patriots before being released due in part to a recent diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.
Love made his unhappiness over the end of his stay with the Patriots known via Twitter, so he hasn't exactly flown under the radar since his arrival in Jacksonville. He sounds like someone determined to prove his former team wrong, so even if he doesn't start, the Jaguars should be able to find a place for him in their rotation. And, yes, he's another guy who was not drafted.