Jaguars finalize roster, keep 4 undrafted rookies
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars kept four undrafted rookies on their 53-man roster Saturday, including one who was seemingly waived a day earlier.
The Jaguars put the finishing touches on their roster by waiving cornerback Jamell Fleming, safety Sherrod Martin, linebacker Nate Stupar and receiver Kerry Taylor.
Most of general manager Dave Caldwell's cuts came Friday. He initially parted ways with undrafted rookie guard Tyler Shatley, but after getting several calls about the former Clemson starter Friday, Caldwell reversed course and kept the 300-pound lineman.
''We thought we could get him back on the practice squad, and it became clear throughout the night last night that he wasn't going to make it,'' Caldwell said during a conference call with reporters. ''We just have too much feeling for him and we didn't want to lose him. ... We see somebody with a lot of promise that played his (butt) off during the preseason. We didn't want to lose him. We just said let's figure out a way, and we did.''
The other undrafted rookies who made the team were receiver Allen Hurns, tight end Marcel Jensen and offensive tackle Josh Wells.
Jacksonville ended up with nine rookies on offense, including first-round draft pick Blake Bortles, second-round receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson, third-round guard Brandon Linder and sixth-round center Luke Bowanko. Of those, Lee, Linder and Bowanko could start next week's season opener at Philadelphia.
''Offensive line and receiver, those are positions where rookies can come in and do well if they're wired right,'' Caldwell said. ''We feel good about those guys.''
The Jaguars also received a roster exemption for receiver Ace Sanders, who is suspended the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. With Sanders unavailable and fellow receiver/returner Tandon Doss (ankle) on injured reserve, the Jaguars will search the waiver wire in hopes of finding a return man - at least for the first four games.
''We're in the process of evaluating a lot of guys that we expect to come free right now,'' Caldwell said. ''We've been doing it for the past 10 days with our scouting department. ... I would expect us, if the opportunity is there, to improve our roster, maybe a guy here or a guy there, but nothing to the magnitude of what we did last year.''
The Jaguars made numerous roster moves following final cuts in 2013 and even more through the first few weeks of the regular season.
Now, Jacksonville will focus on tweaking a player or two on the 53-man roster and filling out its 10-man practice squad Sunday. Caldwell said rookie quarterback Stephen Morris is likely to take one of those practice squad spots.
''I think there might be a guy or two that we like that might get claimed,'' he said. ''We have to see who gets claimed and that would obviously open up some guys elsewhere.''
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