OTA Observations No. 1

The Jacksonville Jaguars hit the practice field for the first day of OTAs on Monday, giving us our first look at the 2024 Jaguars.

Like all offseason practices, Monday was a padless practice. As a result, context is needed as the Jaguars approach training camp.

“Stay healthy. In the next phase, it’s good to be able to have some competition and compete with each other, but within the rules we have to make sure we protect each other,” Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said of your expectations for OTAs.

“I just don’t want injuries. We’re still teaching and learning and developing, so I’m not going into this with a lot of depth charts in mind. We’re trying to give everyone a chance to film them.” and see what we have.”

So what did we see during practice on Monday? We break it down below.

Christian Kirk looks like Christian Kirk

Christian Kirk proved to be one of the most important pieces on the entire Jaguars roster last year. Not only was he on track to have a strong second season in terms of production before his injury in Week 13, but his absence in the final five games proved to be a major factor in the Jaguars’ collapse. . Kirk rehabbed hard this offseason after undergoing in-season surgery for a core muscle injury, and Monday looked like an emphatic return to the field.

“He looks healthy, he looks strong,” Pederson said Monday. “There are no hiccups with him, so he’s on track to get everything done.” He looks very good.”

Kirk caught everything that was presented to him on Monday; His chemistry with Trevor Lawrence is obviously strong as they enter their third year together. But beyond that, Kirk ran routes with the same sharpness and explosiveness as before his injury. With Brian Thomas Jr. still in his early stages of development and Gabe Davis out for the day due to the birth of his son over the weekend, Kirk looked like an obvious alpha dog in the wide receiver room. Most likely, he would have done the same even if the room was also at full speed.

Jarrian Jones is the first rookie to stand out

Nothing should be given much importance at this time of year. That being said, it seemed like the rookie with the strongest practice on Monday was third-round cornerback Jarrian Jones. With the entire defense learning on the fly in Ryan Nielsen’s scheme, there is a lot of noise surrounding every play. However, the rookie cornerback was never out of place on Monday, quickly adjusting to the scheme and making some strong plays in team drills.

Jones flew down the field Monday and showed some physicality even without pads, competing closely with receivers on every target thrown his way and breaking up a pass. Jones has the confidence to compete as a rookie and on Monday he showed some of the traits that suggest he can have some kind of impact on the defense early in his career.

Parker Washington has a day

One of the most impressive players in this practice environment was sophomore receiver Parker Washington. Washington turned in several impressive shots throughout the day, both in individual and team drills, and also showed off the quickness and explosiveness that makes his game stand out. After Kirk, he was probably the best overall player in the receivers room on Monday.

Washington has to fight for a roster spot as Kirk, Davis, Thomas and Devin Duvernay are locked into the roster. Washington’s special teams value and 2023 flashes could be enough for him to earn the No. 5 roster spot, and practices like Monday’s will only help his case. The back of the receivers room will be fierce competition this year, but Washington is off to a good start.

Mac Jones makes Jaguars practice debut

One of the biggest new faces on the field Monday was former New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. The media got its first chance to see Jones in a practice environment since the Jaguars traded a sixth-round pick for him this offseason, and Jones did not disappoint. Jones had solid accuracy all day and looked far from a quarterback who is in his early days in Doug Pederson’s system.

There was no true first, second, or third team offense in this scenario, so there’s nothing to read into in terms of who aligned with who. That being said, natural logic would indicate that Jones is the favorite to be the second quarterback over CJ Beathard. The Jaguars could keep three quarterbacks, but if they only keep two, then it seems the most reasonable thing to do is try to keep Beathard on the practice squad. The Jaguars gave up draft capital for Jones and it is unlikely he will clear waivers. Fewer teams would like to poach Beathard.

play of the day

We will not count any on-air works in this category; otherwise Mac Jones and Brian Thomas connecting on a deep pass would be in contention. Instead, the play of the day goes to wide receiver Elijah Cooks, who made a nifty catch in the back corner of the end zone in team drills, tapping two feet in and drawing cheers from the offense.