JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars are scheduled to hold rookie minicamp Friday, Saturday and Sunday. These will be the first days on the field for Trevor Lawrence and the rest of the Jaguars rookies in the NFL. Here are the five biggest storylines we’ll be following.
Of course, the first storyline is Trevor Lawrence. The first pick of the draft will participate in the minicamp, but to what extent is unclear. Remember that Lawrence had surgery on his left shoulder — the non-throwing shoulder — that was just after his pro day workout in February. So I wouldn’t expect much throwing from Lawrence. The Jaguars will certainly want to avoid anything that might create a longer recovery time for the shoulder. Still, it will be our first opportunity to see Lawrence on the field with his Jaguars rookie teammates. And a note, media will only be allowed to attend practice on Saturday, so that will be the first time we’ll have video of Lawrence on the field as a Jaguar.
Urban Meyer’s first days on the field as the Jaguars head coach
Unless and until the Jaguars sign Tim Tebow, Meyer’s firsts as an NFL coach will continue to be the No. 2 story of this season. This weekend will also offer us the first chance to see Meyer in his element as the Jaguars head coach — on a practice field, beginning the process of coaching up the rookies. Remember, these players spent just about every waking moment from the end of their seasons to the draft preparing FOR the draft.
Now they get the chance to be out on the field. This weekend will probably feel very natural for Meyer since he’ll be coaching players who have never had any NFL experience. They’ve all been college stars and Meyer certainly knows how to communicate with players like that. I’ll be curious to see how NFL veterans respond to him — and if he adapts his coaching style or message when the rest of the team gets on the field for offseason practices later this month.
Will Travis Etienne look the same?
The Jaguars other first-round pick, Etienne was a major playmaker in his four years at Clemson. He averaged nearly 20 touchdowns per season as a Tiger, many of which were a result of his speed. We’ll be keeping an eye on how Etienne looks with the ball in his hands. Considering his success against top talent in college, we would expect his speed to be evident this weekend. But it will also give us a baseline as we look forward to seeing him on the field with NFL veterans during Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and the mandatory minicamp.
Will Walker Little show any signs of rust?
Little, the Jaguars selection with the 45th pick of the draft, their second of two second-round picks, has played only one game in the past two seasons. As a junior, he sustained a season-ending knee injury in Stanford’s season opener. Then, he opted out of the 2020 season, his senior year, with COVID concerns. Little said after he was drafted that he’s 100% healthy and ready to go. We’ll get our first look to see if that is the case this weekend. Players will not wear full pads during the camp, so judging offensive and defensive linemen can be more difficult, but we’ll be able to judge Little a bit, nonetheless.
Any diamonds in the rough?
Every now and again, rookie minicamp provides a platform for a late-round pick or an undrafted rookie to show that he was overlooked in the draft process. The Jaguars only need to look to last year to see how an undrafted rookie can impact a team (e.g. James Robinson). Robinson didn’t have the benefit of a rookie camp or any other offseason practices because of the pandemic, but the rookie class of 2021 does have that luxury.
One player who bears watching is sixth-round pick Jalen Camp. The former Georgia Tech wide receiver is a physical specimen. Although he wasn’t used much as a pass-catcher at Georgia Tech until his final season, Camp could be the steal of the Jaguars draft. If not Camp, undrafted rookie wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe is one to watch. His measurables were also impressive, including a 46.5″ vertical leap at his pro day, which would have been an NFL Combine record if the event were held this year.