JagNation.com Rumor Mill Updates

There's always something brewing in the JagNation Rumor Mill. Are there any more trades in the works? Will a certain corner be coming back home to Jacksonville? Where is run-stuffer extraordinaire Grady Jackson likely to begin training camp? Check the mill to see what we're hearing from NFL Insiders, league sources and some of our many contacts around the league.

First and foremost, contrary to what ESPN's John Clayton says, the Jaguars will not likely be trying to trade for Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Lito Sheppard. Although Sheppard is a fine player when healthy, he doesn't fill a need with the Jaguars, and with the new contract that his new agent is pursuing, the Jaguars would have far too much of their salary cap invested in the cornerback position. Here's what Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio had to say–

"At this time of year, any talks floating around out there right now, are generally agent-based and not driven by the teams," Del Rio said. "I know there's a lot floating around about Lito right now. I spoke with Andy over the weekend and there was never any talk by either team about that particular player. I would suspect that's being driven by the agent."


Former Jaguars defensive tackle Grady Jackson could be returning home...to the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta is well-stocked with three-technique tackles, but it lacks the personnel for nose guard. Jackson was cut in the middle of last season, despite being the most productive defensive lineman on the team in 2006 and the portion of 2007 he was there. The coaching staff soured on him for some reason and surprisingly cut him, creating a furor in the locker room.

Rookie Trey Lewis stepped in played well until tearing his ACL in his knee (he re-tore the ligament in the offseason and had to have a second operation). Jackson, meanwhile, moved on to Jacksonville where he played for current Falcons coach Mike Smith, then the Jags' defensive coordinator. If a move is made for Jackson, it likely won't come until closer to training camp. Jackson still lives near the team facility in Flowery Branch and stays in touch with players on the team


What will likely be the most publicized training camp battle in Jacksonville will be at wide receiver, as the team has nine wide receivers under contract that will be battling it out for no more than five or six spots. If you take out undrafted rookies Clyde Edwards and Jeron Harvey, the team will likely have to part ways with at least one promising player such as John Broussard (4.2 speed), Mike Walker (third-round pick, great skills, 4.3 speed), Matt Jones (former first-round pick, "freak athlete"), Dennis Northcutt (leading WR from a year ago), or Troy Williamson (former first-round pick, great speed). We're assuming Jerry Porter is safe due to the eight-figure signing bonus he received, as is Reggie Williams, who set the franchise record with 10 receiving touchdowns in 2007.


Some other interesting camp battles will be at the third quarterback spot, the third running back spot, and the defensive tackle rotation. Veteran Todd Bouman and undrafted rookie Paul Smith will likely battle it out for the number three quarterback job. Bouman has had a very unspectacular career, and Smith was a great college quarterback who should fit well in a west coast style of offense. If Bouman wins the job, Smith will likely be a member of the practice squad. If Smith is impressive enough, the Jaguars could go with just two quarterbacks on the roster, as they did a year ago.


As for the third running back competition, seventh-round pick Chauncey Washington is the favorite, as he was a pounder at USC and clocked in better than many experts predicted (4.5). Don't count out former Sam Houston State running back D.D. Terry who spent 2007 on the Jaguars practice squad. Terry is raw, but has undeniable athleticism.


The defensive tackle rotation seems to be wide open with the exception of former Pro Bowler John Henderson, who will start if healthy. The Jaguars have pass rushing tackles such as Rob Meier and Derek Landri, and Tony McDaniel, who is a former undrafted free agent with size and ability. Adding more competition is former first-round pick Jimmy Kennedy, who is trying to resuscitate his career, and undrafted rookie Theo Horrocks, who scouts and the Jaguars coaching staff are very high on.


Don't rule out the Jaguars making a few more minor moves before the start of training camp. Jacksonville's neighbors to the southwest, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are stocked at quarterback and they will likely let Chris Simms and Bruce Gradkowski go. Gradkowski may fit in better for the Jaguars type of offense, and don't be surprised if there is at the very least an inquiry.


Regarding everybody's favorite rumor over the past few months, the Jaguars certainly tried to trade for Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor. Rumor has it that the Fish held firm with their first-round demands, and the Jaguars weren't ready to relinquish any more than a second-day pick for the soon-to-be 34-year old ballerina. The Dolphins would still like to trade Taylor, and the most likely destination at this point would be Tampa Bay.


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