For the second day in a row, the Jaguars hosted their annual mini-camp in preparation for training camp and the 2016 season.
For the second day in a row, I was there, and I was sure to take note of who stood out.
The team seemed more in sync during the second day of mini-camp as players were becoming adjusted to the tempo of the practices, as well as more comfortable in the heat, and overall seemed better as a whole today.
So, who were the top performers at the second day of mini-camp?
Yannick Ngakoue had a terrific day, and has been the best rookie, if not the best player, on the field during both days of mini-camp practice. He brings elite speed to the LEO position and was almost always in the backfield when he was playing.
Ngakoue shared first-team LEO reps with Dante Fowler Jr., and made the most of his time. From what I recorded today, Ngakoue had two "sacks" (as the drills were non-contact) and a batted pass off of Blake Bortles in team drills. These stats go along with his multiple "sacks" from yesterday's practice, and certainly show that Ngakoue is making solid progress to help boost the Jaguars pass rush.
The offense had a shaky start to mini-camp yesterday, but certainly made strides today and seemed to be more in sync. The player who stood out most was tight end Julius Thomas, and it was by a long shot.
Thomas scored two touchdowns by my count, one of which was during red zone drills where he caught the ball right over a confused middle linebacker in Myles Jack. Don't panic about Jack, however, as it is normal for rookies to get confused in coverage, especially in their second day of practice.
Thomas's other touchdown was a 30 yard catch on the left side of the field after QB Blake Bortles rolled right, which you can watch here.
Last year, Thomas seemed out of shape a bit during mini-camp and started the season injured, but finished on a strong note with 455 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He looks to improve on those numbers this year after a strong offseason.
Dante Fowler Jr.
Everyone has had their eyes on Dante Fowler Jr. to see how he performs after missing 2015 with a torn ACL, and he has failed to disappoint. Fowler looks very quick on the field and powerful in all of his drills, beating Luke Joeckel specifically with ease to "sack" Bortles multiple times during both practices, including on this play today.
It seems that Fowler is 100% recovered from his injury based on how quick he's looked during practice. Hopefully, this level of play will continue into training camp when the team puts pads on and when the season *finally* comes around.
The final day of Jaguars mini-camp is tomorrow, however it is closed to the public. So, we will have to wait to see how the team has progressed until training camp rolls around, but so far, things are looking pretty good for the Jags.