Although the 2016 NFL Draft has come and gone, there is still much to think about and analyze about the Jaguars offseason moves.
While free agent acquisitions such as Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson, as well as the shocking double whammy of the Jaguars drafting both Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, grab all of the headlines, some of the Jaguars undrafted free agents aren't receiving the buzz that they deserve.
The Jaguars signed nine undrafted rookies just after the draft: Minnesota cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, South Alabama tight end Braedon Bowman, Southern Miss tackle Rashod Hill, Ole Miss cornerback Mike Hilton, TCU kicker Jaden Oberkrom (who has since been released), Louisiana-Lafayette wide receiver Jamal Robinson, San Diego State tackle Pearce Slater, Michigan safety Jarrod Wilson, and Hawaii quarterback Max Wittek.
Although most UDFA's don't make it past training camp, there are usually a couple of guys who shine in practice and the preseason that see their NFL careers continue on into the regular season. Sometimes, a team can even find a diamond in the rough when it comes to UDFA's, such as Jacksonville's own wide receiver Allen Hurns.
Out of these undrafted rookies, who has the best chance to make the roster?
Calhoun played alongside Eric Murray, one of my favorite cornerback prospects in the draft, at cornerback during his time at Minnesota. Calhoun was a two year starter at Minnesota, and recorded 10 interceptions in his three year career at Minnesota. Standing at 5'9", 190 lbs, Calhoun fits the frame nickel corner well in the Jaguars scheme, although he played outside at Minnesota as well.
Calhoun is an aggressive play maker who has to football IQ to make great reads...
...but struggles in man coverage, which caused his stock to fall in the draft:
It's hard to see in the play above, but Calhoun takes the wrong step outside when the slot receiver makes his move on a skinny post -- causing Calhoun to fall behind and the receiver to make an easy play in the middle of the field.
Calhoun can make a name for himself on special teams as a gunner and a big hitter on kickoffs, as seen by the violence in his tackles:
Calhoun probably has the best chance to make the roster as a slot corner due to Aaron Colvin's four game suspension, and has the skill set to thrive in the nickel rotation for the Jaguars if he sticks around.
I was surprised when Slater went undrafted -- he stands at 6'7", 335 lbs, and is a mauler in the run game. Jacksonville could use him as a swing tackle, but he would be best suited as depth behind Jermey Parnell at right tackle.
Slater struggles in pass blocking in heavy pass rush defensive packages, and has trouble locking his hands against bull rushes, but offensive line coach Doug Marrone could help Slater adjust his technique against the bull rush, thus becoming less of a problem.
The Jaguars drafted zero offensive linemen in the draft, which left room for the team to take shots on guys like Slater after the draft. With his size and physicality, I believe Slater can make this team and provide solid depth at tackle.
I couldn't find any film of Slater from his time at San Diego State, but you can watch his highlights from his time at El Camino Community College (where he transferred to SDSU from) here.
While the Jaguars seem set at tight end with Julius Thomas leading the pack, the team saw Clay Harbor walk away and land a contract with the Patriots, which leaves room for a fourth tight end after Thomas, Marcedes Lewis, and Nic Jacobs.
Bowman averaged 13.1 yards per catch in his two seasons at Southern Alabama, which makes him a solid option as a down converter in the passing game if used in sub-tight end packages -- packages the Jaguars frequent in their two-tight end offensive scheme.
Bowman could also be used as a blocking full/H-back in sub packages near the goal line or on 3rd-and-short downs, much like Tyson Alualu's limited role with the offense in 2015.
Bowman's versatility with the H-back position, as well as his promise as a solid down converter for the offense, help his case in why he should make the roster.
While the big name draft picks and free agent signings are stealing the show, some of these undrafted free agents deserve our attention. Come September, I wouldn't be surprised if these three rookies make the Jaguars final roster.