Trevor Lawrence takes field for first Jaguars practice
Trevor Lawrence's first practice with the Jaguars is in the books.
But no one other than players, coaches, and team personnel got a chance to see him on the field because Friday's first day of rookie minicamp was closed to the public and media.
Saturday's practice will be opened to the media, but closed to the public, for an hour though Lawrence, the Jaguars' No. 1 overall pick in last month's draft, is expected to take only limited snaps for the second straight day.
The Jaguars are taking a cautious approach with Lawrence. He has been cleared to throw, but he is not fully recovered from undergoing labrum surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder in February.
Lawrence, the Jaguars' long-awaited franchise quarterback, is expected to increase his workload gradually and is expected to be a full-go when training camp opens in July.
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Ready to go
There are no restrictions for Lawrence's former Clemson teammate, running back Travis Etienne, the 25th overall pick in the first round. He is projected to become the Jaguars' big-play dual threat as a runner and pass-catcher. Etienne closed out his career at Clemson as the leading rusher in ACC history with 4,952 yards.
Meyer returns to field
Friday's workout marked the first time coach Urban Meyer was on the field coaching since he directed Ohio State to a 28-23 victory over Washington in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2019, to conclude the 2018 season. Nearly a month before the game, Meyer announced he would retire from coaching following the Rose Bowl game for health reasons. He spent the past two years a Fox Sports college football studio analyst before he was hired in January to replace Doug Marrone as the Jaguars head coach.
No contact work
The rookie minicamp is voluntary and includes mostly light work because it has more of a teaching emphasis on fundamentals to help players get acclimated. The maximum time Meyer can have players on the field is 90 minutes. There also cannot be any live contact work on the field. The rookie minicamp is part of the second phase of the offseason program that includes virtual meetings for the veteran players. The first phase of the offseason program extended from April 19 to May 14. No on-field drills or work with coaches were permitted. The majority of the emphasis during the first phase was conducting virtual meetings and players' weight room workouts.
No tryout players
All NFL teams can have up to five tryout players participate in rookie minicamp, but the Jaguars did not extend an invite to any for this weekend workouts. So the rookie minicamp consists of their nine draft picks and four undrafted rookies. In 2019, the Jaguars had 28 tryout players participate in rookie minicamp. Five earned spots on the 90-man roster for the start of the organized team activity workouts.
Little needs to take advantage of minicamp
Second-round offensive tackle Walker Little is expected to get plenty of attention from the Jaguars' coaches because he needs to develop quickly.
Little also hasn't played much football since 2019.
He suffered a season-ending left knee injury during Stanford's 2019 season opener and missed the rest of the season. He opted out from playing last season for Stanford last season because of COVID-19 concerns.
''He’s just a guy that’s going to have to get in here and go to work in the weight room, on the field, technique, all those things that you lose when you’re not out on the field,'' Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said. ''He’s going to start from a little bit behind the eight ball. It’s our job to get him up to speed as quickly as we can and [we’re] very confident we can do that.”
Little appears to be the starter in waiting to eventually replace left Cam Robinson, who is not signed beyond this season after getting tendered the $13.7 million franchise tag.
Time to shine
Defensive end Jordan Smith is another player who will draw plenty of attention this weekend and for the remainder of the offseason program.
Defensive coordinator Joe Cullen regarded Smith enough, based on his potential, for the Jaguars to trade up nine spots to select him in the fourth round.
In two seasons at Alabama-Birmingham, Smith registered 14.5 sacks and 96 tackles, including 27 tackles for loss. He started his career his college career at the University of Florida but was suspended after he was involved in a credit card fraud scandal at the school in 2016 before leaving the program.
After the Jaguars selected him, Smith declared he was the best pass rusher in the draft.
''I have a big arsenal of moves,'' Smith said. ''I use my mind. I use my mental game to help me excel in the game. So, I feel like I bring a lot to the table.''
It's now on Smith to show he learn a new system, adjust to the more physical NFL game, and staying immersed at doing more than what's expected.
No masks required
The NFL sent a memo to all teams Friday stating that effective immediately all fully vaccinated players and tiered staff members will not be required to wear masks in the team facility, either indoors or outdoors, Players and staff who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks.