The Jaguars have a decision to make at linebacker. Will they keep Daryl Smith in the middle of their 4-3 defense, where he played in college and filled in without skipping a beat when Mike Peterson went down with injuries over the last two seasons, or will they return him to the outside and plug Peterson back in the middle?
According to Scout.com's Ed Thompson, the Jaguars held a formal combine interview with former Boston College middle linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Dunbar is hard-working, tough-nosed player who is more productive on the field, than his 6'1", 231 lb. frame shows.
"I'm a football player. I'm not one of those guys that look good in shorts and a t-shirt," he explained while referencing postseason workouts such as the NFL Scouting Combine. "Good for them, but I know what I can do when it comes to putting a helmet and shoulder pads on. That's how I play and I've always been like that."
Dunbar was an All-ACC first-team selection as a senior, and he was the co-captain of his Boston College Eagles defense. Dunbar has always made big plays from his linebacker spot, as he's scored four defensive touchdowns in his career, including two in one game as a junior against Maryland. Dunbar compensates for his lack of size with keen field vision and awareness, according to NFL Draft Scout.com, which rates him as the #8 inside linebacker prospect.
"I've never been one of the fastest kids or the strongest kids, but I've always been a good football player and that's something I have confidence in," said Dunbar in an exclusive Scout.com interview.
Among Dunbar's attributes include great ball awareness, solid play awareness, as he rarely gets fooled or out of position by play action, he's a solid tackler who gets low in his pads, and he was a great leader in college, who will lead by example as he put in countless hours of study.
Negatives on Dunbar include a lack of lateral range, working through bigger blockers, and some balance issues. Many scouts believe Dunbar would fit best as a linebacker in a cover-two type of scheme, one in which the Jaguars currently employ.
Despite running a 40-yard dash in the 4.7's, Dunbar is currently figured to be a fifth-round pick, mainly because of his size concerns. Dunbar is one of those hard workers that doesn't look the part of a big time linebacker, but just makes plays, similar to Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl linebacker Lofa Tatupu, and former Dolphins Pro Bowler Zach Thomas. Although the Jaguars don't have an immediate need at middle linebacker, if they can find a player of Jo-Lonn Dunbar's caliber on the second day of the draft, they would be hard-pressed not to pull the trigger.
Jaguars Look to Add Depth at Linebacker
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