Dave Caldwell appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday night, chatting up the draft and the Jaguars status with hosts Alex Marvez and Bill Polian. Here are 5 takeaways from the interview.
The starters are pretty much set
Caldwell was asked where they stood with several different parts of the roster, and for the majority of spots, he openly named who would be starting. Most of these would be assumed anyways, but we did get some clarification on some areas people may have been wondering about.
On defense, Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye will start at corner, with Aaron Colvin starting at nickel. Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson will start at safety. Myles Jack will start at middle linebacker, Paul Posluszny will be the strong side linebacker, and Telvin Smith will be the weak side linebacker. On the defensive line, Caldwell mentioned that Calais Campbell would be the base end and Malik Jackson would be the 3 tech, but that they were both interchangeable. Abry Jones will start at nose tackle, and Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler(mentioned in that order, take from that what you will) will be the LEOs(yes, he specifically said LEOs).
On offense, not much was discussed except for running backs and the offensive line(more on that later). Caldwell said that they like Fournette, Ivory, Yeldon, and Corey Grant(he noted Grant’s speed) as their running backs, but feel that Fournette and Ivory are difference makers. On the offensive line, Caldwell said it would be Jermey Parnell at right tackle, AJ Cann at right guard, and Brandon Linder at center. Left guard would be a competition between mainly Patrick Omameh, Chris Reed, and Jeremiah Poutasi. Left tackle would be Cam Robinson for now, and a battle between him and Branden Albert once Albert returns to the team. Well, maybe....
It seems like Cam Robinson will be the left tackle
The Jaguars did not hesitate to state that they envisioned Cam Robinson as a left tackle right after they drafted him, and Caldwell continued that stance on Tuesday night. Caldwell originally said pencil Robinson in at left tackle, and then later on said he would compete with Branden Albert once Albert returned. However, given everything that they’ve said about the situation to this point, it seems that the Jaguars will have Robinson as the starter as soon as possible. I personally think this is the right call, and as I mentioned in my draft thoughts article, I think Robinson could end up as one of the steals of the draft. Here’s a link to a Twitter thread where you can check out some highlights of Robinson’s film, by the way.
Cam Robinson is special. He effectively shut down the 2015 #3 overall pick, 2016 #3 Overall Pick, 2017 #1 overall, and 2018 #1 EDGE(here) pic.twitter.com/nlMRiAd4Jl— Coach Ortiz (@DraftOrtiz) May 2, 2017
We got some more details on the draft class
I’ve already touched on what Caldwell had to say about Cam Robinson, but he gave brief thoughts on the rest of the Jaguars draft class as well.
Caldwell said they thought Leonard Fournette was a guy who could come in and make a difference right away. They loved his physicality, and they thought his game could translate well to the pros, but they would need to see how quickly he could come along on 3rd downs when deciding a running back rotation.
Caldwell said that Dawuane Smoot could play both end spots, and could also occasionally rotate inside. He also said the team would use more 6-tech alignments this year.
Caldwell stated that the team loves DeDe Westbrook’s potential in the slot, and that he would compete as a punt returner as well.
According to Caldwell, Blair Brown will provide depth at weak side and middle linebacker, and be a big player on special teams. It’s curious that the Jags don't envision Brown as a strong side linebacker, as I know many draft analysts thought he’d fit perfect there. I’m sure we’ll discuss that more at a later time.
Tom Coughlin told Jalen Myrick on the phone that he would play at a bunch of different spots, and Dave Caldwell enforced that idea on radio. Caldwell said that Myrick will play all corner spots, but mainly be a nickel(they’ve previously said they think he could potentially play free safety one day too). He said Myrick will also compete as a kick and punt returner.
Caldwell wrapped up his rookie discussion with fullback Marquez Williams. He said that he couldn't believe how well Williams moved playing at 280 for the Miami Hurricanes last year, and that Williams would be opening up some holes for their new running back.
Quarterback talk is still noticeably absent
On the day after Blake Bortles’ fifth year option was picked up by the team, Caldwell was not asked a specific question about his quarterback. This continues a recent trend of the team officials not speaking about the future or present of the quarterback position in Jacksonville. Many thought before the draft that they were silent to try and hold leverage for draft day trades, but with the draft now completed, why aren’t they really saying anything? Even the official announcement from the team on the fifth year option was incredibly short and lacking detail, with Tom Coughlin calling it a ‘smart business decision’.
My guess is that Caldwell was not asked about Bortles at either his or the team’s request, since he was being interviewed by Bill Polian, his friend and former boss(whose son is employed in the Jags front office). That is pure speculation on my part, and it may have just been a coincidence, but it struck me as odd that the quarterback was one of the few positions not discussed.
They’re in win now mode
This might seem obvious to some people, but Dave Caldwell officially confirmed it. After four years of just getting better, the Jaguars are openly stating that they are in win now mode. While it is easy to poke fun at a statement like this from the Jacksonville Jaguars, I think that it’s a pretty big deal, considering it really signals a complete change in philosophy and culture. It also means that the team has higher expectations for themselves, so the media and fans should probably have higher expectations as well.