Jacksonville sent assistant coaches and Director of Player Personnel James "Shack" Harris to Gainesville this week to watch defensive end Derrick Harvey work out at the Gators' Pro Day. The staff liked what they saw in Harvey, though they didn't want to tip their hand and come out with too much public praise.
The Jaguars couldn't land the defensive end they need via the free agency route, and thus have to land a quality end in the college draft. There's only a select number of top players at this position, and unless the team can find someone to make a deal with, they could miss out on the best of the allotment.
1. Defensive end: No question that's the priority for the Jaguars. They have concerns about the aging Paul Spicer and even more worries about the status of Reggie Hayward, who performed at a level well below what he showed the previous year when he was physically sound. The Achilles injury that Hayward incurred in the first game of the '06 season cost him the entire year and left the Jaguars wondering if he'll ever be able to return to his previous form.
2. Defensive tackle: Playing without Marcus Stroud much of the season becomes a permanent situation starting this year after the Jaguars sent him to Buffalo for two draft picks. Rob Meier stepped in and did a commendable job, but he has hit the 30-year-old mark now and needs more rest. Derek Landri proved to be a pleasant surprise the second half of the season and could be the answer long-term. But with veteran Grady Jackson likely to depart, the club still needs another body or two here.
3. Offensive line: Tony Pashos at right tackle, Vince Manuwai at left guard and center Brad Meester are solid and locked into starting spots. The team wasn't satisfied with the play of left tackle Khalif Barnes and was less than thrilled that he has had two off-field incidents that have resulted in a pair of one-game suspensions. Chris Naeole had held the starting spot at right guard since 2002 until last year when he missed the final eight games due to injury. He has since been released, and whether Maurice Williams, the converted right tackle, can fill that spot is yet to be determined.
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--CB Terry Cousin is looking for long-term deal which may not match what the Jaguars want. He may be looking for a four- or five-year year deal which the Jaguars may not be willing to pay someone who will be 33 in April and was nothing more than a nickel back a year ago.UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--CB Aaron Glenn was brought in last year to fill a roster spot after a couple injuries to the secondary. Started a couple games but did little to show he'll be retained this season.
--QB Quinn Gray has proven that he can play in the league as evidenced by his efforts in three games that starter David Garrard missed due to injuries. He'll look to sign somewhere where he has a chance to compete for the starting spot. With Garrard's play last year, that won't happen in Jacksonville.
--DT Grady Jackson was brought in to fill a need when Marcus Stroud was suspended for four games. Jackson will probably be back, and is more likely with Marcus Stroud having been traded.
--OT Stockar McDougle showed a lot of promise and the coaching staff liked him, but injuries have held him back. It would be a surprise if the Jaguars kept him around another season.
--DE Shantee Orr finished on the active roster, but his return to the team is questionable at best.
--CB Chris Roberson (not tendered as RFA) spent the 2007 season on injured reserve after being waived injured on July 27.RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--S Gerald Sensabaugh (tendered at $1.47M with 2nd-round pick as compensation) has recovered from his injury and the Jaguars will make every attempt to re-sign him with the idea he'll return to the starting lineup for '08.EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
--TE Greg Estandia.PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--S Jamaal Fudge.
--DE Jeremy Mincey.
--DE Kenneth Pettway.
--DE James Wyche.
--QB Todd Bouman: FA; terms unknown.PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--CB Drayton Florence: UFA Chargers; $36M/6 yrs, $12M SB.
--DT Jimmy Kennedy: UFA Bears (Bears had individually negotiated right of first refusal and did not match); $655,000/1 yr, $50,000 SB.
--QB Cleo Lemon: UFA Dolphins; $8.1M/3 yrs, $2.95M SB.
--WR Jerry Porter: UFA Raiders; $30M/6 yrs, $10M guaranteed.
--WR Troy Williamson (trade Vikings).
--TE Richard Angulo: Potential UFA; terms unknown.PLAYERS LOST
--LB Tony Gilbert: Potential UFA; terms unknown.
--RB Montell Owens: ERFA; terms unknown.
--OL Tutan Reyes: Potential UFA; terms unknown.
--T/G Maurice Williams: UFA; $16M/4 yrs, $4M guaranteed.
--S Sammy Knight: UFA Giants; $5.15M/3 yrs, $1.25M SB.
--DE Bobby McCray: UFA Saints; 5 yrs, terms unknown.
--OG Chris Naeole (released/failed physical).
--DT Marcus Stroud (traded Bills).
--RB LaBrandon Toefield: UFA Panthers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--WR Ernest Wilford: UFA Dolphins; $13M/4 yrs, $6M guaranteed.