Jags All Over Tweeners

The Jaguars have always had an affinity for smaller defensive end-outside linebacker hybrids, as they've drafted players such as Cordova, Hawkins, and most recently, Quentin Groves. Cordova and Hawkins never experienced much success, as the Jags 4-3 defense isn't really conducive to the success of undersized ends. Find out which players the Jaguars are looking at to fit in to their new 3-4 scheme.

To make a legitimate move to the 3-4, the Jaguars need more talent on the defensive line. Either way, the team needs more talent on a defense that was 24th against the pass a year ago.

"I think you're constantly growing in this sport," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said. "You examine your own talent base, examine the things that you know that are in your past, or people you have on your staff, in their past, and you look for ways to utilize the talent that you have. In some cases, if you're set on doing a certain system, then you've got to make sure you add those kinds of players."

Some of the players that the team has been eying with visits and interviews are as follows:

Houston DE/OLB Phillip Hunt - Hunt is an undersized, 6'1", 244 lb. hybrid player with a very good wingspan and speed in the 4.7's. He's explosive and strong, and has a great swim move with either arm, and recorded a 41.5" vertical leap. There are questions about the level of competition he played against in the C-USA, but Hunt dominated the league as he was the 2008 C-USA defensive player of the year as he recorded 14 sacks. Hunt is currently projected as a late round pick.

Oregon DE/OLB Nick Reed - Reed has prototypical tweener size, as he is 6'2", 245 lbs., and very strong. Reed ran a 4.71- 40 at his pro day, and is one of the high motor type of guys. Reed is one of the best players not invited to the combine, and he's climbing from obscurity to a late-round pick. He was a first team all-America linebacker in 2008, following a second team selection as a junior.

Northern Illinois OLB Larry English - English is certainly the most highly touted of the tweener prospects that the Jags have taken an interest in, as he is projected as a second-round pick. The two-time MAC defensive player of the year stands 6'2", 255 lbs. and is explosive and strong. English is a disrupter, as he had 31.5 career sacks, and many compare him to DeMarcus Ware and Lamarr Woodley.

Connecticut DE Julius Williams - Williams was overshadowed on his own team by top prospects Cody Brown, Darius Butler, William Beatty, and Donald Brown. Still, Williams was a solid defensive end at 6'2", 255 lbs. and projects as an outside linebacker at the next level. As a senior, Williams tallied 35 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. Williams projects as a late-round pick or priority free agent.

Oregon State DE Victor Butler - Butler is a classic tweener, at 6'2", 248 lbs., and he is very quick off the edge and has great closing speed. As a senior, Butler tallied 25 tackles, 12.5 TFL, and 10.5 sacks. He can be a pass rush specialist on the next level, and is projected as a late-round pick.

"We don't have the big D-line that's going to sit in a 3-4 all day," Del Rio explained. "I think you've got to have those three big lunks down inside that could just kind of hold up and let the other guys do their thing. So we're not going to go to it wholesale. I just think there are some opportunities to give people different looks to do a few things to change up how they prepare for us."


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