The wide receiver position has been a rough group for a very long time. It remains to be seen whether or not the addition of Laurent Robinson and Justin Blackmon will be enough to change that fact, but one thing that their presence has done is to make roster spots at the wide receiver position more difficult to come by. With Robinson, Blackmon and Shorts III all but guaranteed roster spots, there are only two or three remaining spots available to the eight other wide receivers on roster.
Among those fighting for one of those spots is Mike Brown, an undrafted rookie that earned a contract after impressing on a tryout basis during the Jaguars rookie camp in the first week of May. Brown was one of two converted quarterbacks to earn a contract, but his counterpart, Chris Forcier, was released on Wednesday, June 20.
Optimism is abound for Brown, though, as he has apparently made quite the impression on the coaches and decision makers in Jacksonville.
In a feature article by Roger Gonzalez of The Daily Progress that is certainly worth a read, Brown drew praise from offensive assistant Charlie Skalaski, wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan and general manager Gene Smith.
"Absolutely Mike has a chance to make this team," Skalaski said. "The NFL is a very tenuous proposition at best. It's hard to get in; it's hard to stay in. He took it and ran with the rest of it. He is a 100 percent effort guy all the time, and he is a very intelligent player."
Later in the article, Skalaski said that Sullivan has compared Brown to four time All-Pro from the New England Patriots:
"I know Jerry Sullivan said Mike has a lot of the same qualities as Wes Welker," said Skalaski.
Obviously it's far too premature to expect anything of Welker's impact from Brown, but strictly from an athleticism standpoint, the comparison appears to be fair. Brown is an inch taller and about 15 pounds heavier than Welker, but was largely ignored by scouts due to a 4.69 40 time, just 0.04 slower than Welker's time coming out of Texas Tech.
With the likes of Mike Thomas, Lee Evans, Kevin Elliott and others competing for just two or three spots, it looks like an uphill battle for Brown, but he has apparently made enough of an impression to earn himself a shot.
"Mike has certainly made a positive first impression that we hope is a lasting one," said Gene Smith, the General Manager of the team. "He's really done a good job of converting from quarterback to wide receiver. He's just a savvy football player who knows how to play the game. He's shown natural hands and possesses good separation quickness at the top end of his routes."