The Jaguars offense certainly struggled in 2008 in almost every single phase. Opposing teams stacked up the box to stop the Jacksonville running game, and aside from a career year out of Matt Jones, none of the receivers and quarterbacks could force opponents out of a cover one defense.
It's no coincidence that winning breeds winning and the Jaguars are very familiar with one of the best college football programs in the country, USC. Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio is a Southern Cal alum, and he had an opportunity to see first-hand what one of his fellow Trojans could do as he coached the South team in the Senior Bowl. Patrick Turner, the 6'5", 221 lb. receiver attracts plenty of attention when walking around off the football field, but when he steps on the field, he makes for a fantastic target for his quarterbacks.
Turner certainly has confidence from his time at USC, as he played in four BSC bowl games as winning was something that was just expected at Pete Carroll's monster program. JagNation asked Turner exactly how good his Southern Cal team really was in 2008.
"We were the best team in the country," Turner said without hesitation. "We really feel that we're the best team and going into any game we feel that we're not going to lose. We really prepare hard out there and you learn a lot from the coaching staff. We feel like the sky's the limit and we can't be stopped, really."
Turner was one of several go-to guys in the powerful USC offense as he caught 45 passes for 667 yards, and an eye-popping 10 touchdowns, with a team that loves to run the ball and spread it around in the passing game.
Turner obviously has great size, but he has surprising speed and quickness off the line, and was one of the very best route runners in Senior Bowl practice. Turner obviously felt comfortable in the all-star type of environment, as he practiced against the best defense in the nation while at USC.
"We have a lot of elite competition (at USC), and coming out here it's the same thing," Turner said. "You have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, I feel this season and my four years at SC has really helped me to get to where I'm at, and really prepared me for this week."
The Jaguars were able to get a great assessment from working out Turner during the Senior Bowl practices, and he was able to get a feel for Jaguars wide receivers coach Todd Monken as well.
"Coach Monken, the wide receivers coach is really a cool guy and the whole staff is really a good group," Turner said when asked about the opportunity to work with the Jags. "They have an SC history and I feel really comfortable with them and I'm just going to come out here and work hard and that's just what we're going to give them."
Although Turner certainly looked the part of a first-day, if not first-round pick at the Senior Bowl, he is expected to be a second-day selection. Still, he feels that his talent is on par with anyone in this draft.
"I feel that I'm a legitimate challenger to being one of the top guys picked, and I just have to keep working hard and stay focused with this whole process and just keep grinding," said the former Trojans standout. "Where I go is where I go and I just need to prove myself when I get there."
If Turner's draft projections hold true and a team can snap him up on the second day, he could be one of the biggest steals in the draft.
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