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Observations from the UCF Knights Pro Day

Zach Goodall



Zach Goodall -

After attending the University of Florida pro day with Chris Thornton of yesterday, I made my way down I-75 and the Florida Turnpike to check out the University of Central Florida pro day, where 70 media members and 31 NFL teams gathered to watch prospects such as Shaquem Griffin, Mike Hughes, Tre’Quan Smith and Jordan Akins.

Who stood out? Did any teams show interest in specific prospects? Here are my interview questions and observations.

Shaquem Griffin, LB/DB, 6-0 3/8, 227

Perhaps one of the most polarizing prospects in NFL Draft history, Griffin drew a big crowd to his drills and his media availability. The versatile defender, who only has one hand, worked out as a defensive back and did not participate in the 40 yard dash after running a 4.38 second 40 at the NFL Combine, ranking first of all linebackers.

His DB drills were up and down. Despite his fluidity moving around and several naturally (considering he only has one hand) impressive catches, he dropped several balls as well. This had to have been expected, considering the circumstances, but you’d figure that would push teams away from the idea of playing him in the secondary.

Griffin performed the vertical jump before the on-field workouts began, recording a 37.5″ vert, which would have ranked sixth among linebackers at the NFL Combine.

I think Griffin’s best positional fit is outside linebacker, where he can play underneath coverage, set the edge against the run, and rush the passer. He certainly provides the athletic versatility and dedication to football to play at multiple defensive positions and find a way to succeed.

Griffin said during media availability that he met with the Jaguars at the NFL Combine as well as at the Senior Bowl, and also mentioned visits with the Titans and the Saints.

Mike Hughes, CB, 5-10 1/8, 189

Hughes, like Griffin and as well as Tre’Quan Smith and Jordan Akins, did not participate in the 40 yard dash or much of the agility drills, but he flashed his speed and fluidity in defensive back drills. He caught nearly every ball that came his way, other than one bad pass, and seemed to impress scouts and Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who was running the drills.

Scouts had their eyes on Hughes during his entire workout, but he refused to acknowledge which teams he is set to meet with. He is widely viewed as a late first/early second round pick.

Tre’Quan Smith, WR, 6-1 3/4, 203

Smith is often viewed as a deep-threat wide receiver who makes flashy plays but is relattively inconsistent in other aspects of his game, but he did his best to put those narratives to sleep today. He had one drop during his workout on a pass that was well behind him, but otherwise was efficient on passes to all three levels of the field.

Jordan Akins, TE, 6-3, 249

Akins was invited to the NFL Combine, but pulled his hamstring in the week prior to the event and did not particpate in drills. At the pro day, he recorded a 10′-2″ broad jump but did not run the 40 yard dash.

The 25 year old tight end had a strong performance in positional drills, running sharp routes, displaying sturdy hands and explosion out of his in-line stance.

It wouldn’t shock me if Akins ends up in the AFC North. Now, team meetings aren’t the be-all and end-all, but it seemed like Steelers tight ends coach James Daniel and Bengals tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes were hovering around Akins from the second he walked into the practice facility through the second he walked out. A second Bengals personnel member, presumably a scout, stuck around Akins throughout the pro day as well.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars finalize coaching staff after landing offensive coordinator

Demetrius Harvey



Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have finalized their 2019 coaching staff. They’ve officially hired their offensive coordinator as well as other staff members. John DeFilippo was the headliner for today as the replacement for Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator.

The Jaguars also announced the remainder of their staff. As we covered in the past couple of weeks they have hired several position coaches, including Terry Robiskie as running backs coach, George Warhop as the offensive line coach, and Tim Walton as the secondary coach.

The rest of the staff was a mystery until today. The Jaguars announced they will be promoting assistant defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich to defensive line coach, and they have hired David Merritt as their assistant defensive line coach. Merritt spent the past season as the Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach. Joe Danna will be promoted as well and will be coaching the safeties. Danna has been on the Jaguars staff as an assistant secondary coach since 2017. John Donovan, another assistant coach for the Jaguars, will be promoted to assistant running backs coach.

It is worth noting in today’s presser Marrone stated Tim Walton will coach the cornerbacks, and Joe Danna will coach the safeties. “I thought we could get more out of our coaches and players if we split the secondary,” Marrone said. This is worth noting as Walton actually held a similar role with the Giants for the past couple of seasons.

Scott Milanovich will remain on staff as the quarterbacks coach. Milanovich was the play-caller for the final five weeks of the season. Milanovich has been with the Jaguars as a QB coach since 2017.

There were no other major coaching changes on the Jaguars roster as the rest of the staff will stay intact.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars will retain quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich

Zach Goodall



Nov 26, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars will retain Scott Milanovich as their quarterbacks coach, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Milanovich filled in as interim offensive coordinator after Nate Hackett was fired midseason, but the offense saw no improvement with the QB coach calling plays. However, the team appears confident that the former Grey Cup-winning CFL head coach can handle the responsibilities of quarterbacks coach, a position Milanovich has held since Doug Marrone was named head coach in 2017.

The team hired John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator earlier today. You can read why he was a fantastic hire here. Marrone mentioned during his press conference today that Milanovich and DeFilippo have a previous relationship in Maryland.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars to hire John DeFilippo as offensive coordinator, per report

Zach Goodall




The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to hire John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator, per report.

DeFilippo was the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator during the 2018 season, but was fired during Week 15, apparently due to a conflict of play-calling interests with head coach Mike Zimmer, who wanted to focus more on the run game than DeFilippo’s strengths with the pass game.

However, despite a lack of calling the run, Vikings quarterback had a historic season as a passer when it came to efficiency, being the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4000+ yards, 30+ touchdowns, 10 or fewer interceptions, and complete at least 70% of his passes. Much of this can be credited to DeFilippo’s influence in the passing game.

Previous to Minnesota, DeFilippo was the Philadelphia Eagles QBs coach during their 2017-18 Super Bowl run, where he was key to the development of Carson Wentz and rejuvenation of Nick Foles’ career after Wentz tore his ACL. He also served as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2015, where then-36 year old Josh McCown posted the second most touchdown passes of his 13 year career with 12 in eight games, along with 2109 passing yards, a 63.7 completion percentage, and only four interceptions.

DeFilippo’s first NFL coaching job came in 2005 as an offensive quality control coach under then New York Giants head coach and current EVP of Football Operations for the Jaguars, Tom Coughlin. So there’s a definite connection to the team in ths hire.

At the end of the day, the Jaguars number one priority this offseason has to be, and will be, fixing their passing game woes. Quarterback Blake Bortles needs to be replaced, and the team’s next signal caller must be groomed into a successful QB. DeFilippo has proven with Cousins, Foles/Wentz, as well as Josh McCown in Cleveland during the 2015 season, that he’s capable of doing just that.

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