The Jacksonville Jaguars safety position was one of the worst in recent NFL history last season as Josh Evans struggled in every facet of the game and Jonathan Cyprien hasn't lived up to his second-round billing.
The team has addressed this weakness in free agency with Sergio Brown and now in the draft with former Louisville safety James Sample.
Sample played strong safety alongside Gerod Holliman, who received most of the fanfare for his 14 interceptions. Sample was the heart of the Cardinals secondary as he had 90 tackles, 8 passes defensed and four interceptions.
The 6-foot-2, 209 pound safety can bring the wood in the box and although he won't be a starter barring injury as a rookie, he is a possible replacement for Jonathan Cyprien, assuming Cyp doesn't turn things around.
(On if he was surprised to be picked by the Jaguars) “I had a feeling that I was going to go early today, but I’m just fired up, ready to go.”
(On if he feels like he fits into the Jacksonville defense) “I feel like I fit in well, it’s a young defense. I feel like I could come in there and make an impact.”
(On what the second and third rounds were like when he wasn’t selected) “It was cool. I just held my head up high even though I didn’t go. Either way, I was just waiting for my name to get called. It didn’t matter what round, I just needed the opportunity to come in and play and that’s what (the Jaguar) have given me, an opportunity.”
(On if he thinks bouncing around in college hurt his stock) “A little bit. Everybody says “one hit wonder” and I had only one full year of football, but it doesn’t matter, I’m just happy to be here.”
(On if he thinks Jacksonville is a good landing spot for him) “It’s a really good spot. It doesn’t get cold, kind of like California, so I’m all right by that.”
(On if he thinks Jacksonville is a good opportunity to land a starting job) “Right now I’m not worried about that. I’m just ready to come in and compete and if I end up getting a starting job, that’ll be a blessing. I’m just going to give the Jags everything I’ve got every single day.”
(On his chances to start because the Jaguars do not have “an Ed Reed sitting back there”) “I know, but they’ve still got a big group of guys. I’m going to learn from the guys up there and if I end up getting a starting job, I like it.”
(On his interaction with the Jaguars coaching staff) “I met with them at the combine. I got a good feeling when I met with them at the combine. Then I met with (Jaguars assistant defensive backs coach Mike Rutenberg) at my pro day and I had a real good feeling with him. He just told me to enjoy the process, relax, and taught me about the things that I can control and the things that I couldn’t control. Leading up to the draft, I wasn’t nervous because it was out of my hands. I did everything that I could do. I had the film, like they said ‘the eye in the sky doesn’t lie.’ From there on, whatever happens happens. (Rutenberg) helped me relax a lot.”
(On if his performances in the big games helped his cause) “It helped a lot. When you play against big time opponents, you’ve got to show-out. Just playing in front of the crowd, I like playing in front of crowds, they energize me, get me turned up during the game, especially Clemson, that was a fun game.”
(On who is at his draft party) “It was early in the morning up here, so it’s only me, my brothers, my sisters, my trainer. They were all out here, in my room. We were just chilling. “
(On how many brothers and sisters he has) “I’ve got two brothers and two sisters.”
(On if his brothers play football) “Yes, they play football. They’re fired up, they know they’re about to get a lot of free gear and stuff.”
(On if his brothers are younger than him) “Yes, they’re both younger than me.”
Jaguars Add Safety Sample In Round 4
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