A Closer Look at the "Big E"

The Jaguars are in the midst of their first mini-camp since last weekend's draft, and many fans would like to know how the rookie class in adjusting, mainly Jacksonville's first-round pick Eugene Monroe. Since it's mini-camp and the players are not supposed to make any contact, it's difficult to tell much about the offensive and defensive lines.

To find out more about the Jags first-round pick, we asked HooNation.com publisher Dan Hilbert who covered him during his time at UVA to give us a scouting report--

The Jacksonville Jaguars got themselves an anchor on the left side of the offensive line for the next ten years at least. Monroe was dominant in college. He was so good at left tackle that he forced last years first-round draft pick, Brandon Albert of the Kansas City Chiefs, to play guard. Albert has since moved to left tackle for the Chiefs, but Monroe was considered a better tackle by the Virginia coaching staff.

Monroe is a dominant run blocker. When he is able to get his hands inside and drive the defender he is at his best. He has great strength and drives defenders off the ball very effectively. He is not that great out in space, which is another reason he played tackle and not guard in college, because he was not terrific at pulling and moving in space. Monroe is great at pass blocking, although he does not have the quickest hands in the world. He will definitely need to improve on the quickness of his hand punch, he will need to get his hands on outside pass rushers more quickly to be as effective for the Jags as he was in college. Monroe has an excellent first step, showing good quickness off the ball, but as stated earlier, he struggles when running down-field and moving in space. Monroe plays with a good anchor, but tends to rise up and play a little too high, especially when running to the second level to take on linebackers. I had Monroe ranked as the second LT prospect in the Draft, behind Baylor's Jason Smith. I did however, consider him the safest prospect. Smith may be a better overall athlete, but Monroe is the more natural left tackle prospect. With the Jags trying to get back to a smash-mouth, grinding attack with MJD, Monroe should fit right in opening holes on the left side while he perfects his technique and footwork in pass blocking.

We are not sure of the exact position that Monroe will play this season, but we're pretty sure that he will be a starter. He will likely command at least $20 million in guaranteed money, and you really can't keep that kind of investment on the bench for long in today's NFL. Still, Jaguars offensive line coach Andy Heck won't grant the rookie any starting job without him earning it.

"I don't know (if he will start from day one)," Heck told reporters. "I think he will come in and be very competitive. We have a competitive group at tackle with the addition of Tra Thomas. We got Jordan Black here and some younger guys. I'm excited about some of the competition that we are going to create at the tackle position."

The Jaguars believe that Monroe can be the best offensive lineman since Tony Boselli, and if he plays as well as he did at Virginia, the Jaguars offensive line will be anchored for the foreseeable future.


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