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Wright On

Florida Times-Union reporter Michael C. Wright covers the ins and outs of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In this blog, he'll share behind-the-scenes anecdotes not published within the pages of the T-U, in addition to offering up incessant ramblings about nothing such as road trips, crummy hotels and not-so-delicious press box food. Perhaps he'll even delve into serious discussions about NFL issues. So ask questions, participate in conversations, or just learn more about the Jags.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Agents work as hard as players at NFL Combine

Jason Dillard is the epitome of hustle. A first-year agent based in Sacramento, Calif., Dillard and his company - Signature Sports Reps - represents four players that didn't receive invitations to the NFL Combine.
So to generate interest for his clients, Dillard took to innovation. He printed up several t-shirts with the headline "Have You Seen These Guys?" on the front that contains pictures, highlights and other noteworthy tidbits about his clients. On the back, the shirt reads: 2008 NFL Scouting Combine 2/20-2/26/2008 - MISSING and lists each players' name next to their respective schools.
"It's a little unorthodox," Dillard admitted. "But at the end of the day, I'm trying to make sure these guys get noticed. I'm working my butt off for these guys so they can get an opportunity. None of them were invited to the combine, but I want to make sure they get a chance."
Interestingly, Fresno St. CB Damon Jenkins (his picture and stats are on the portion of the shirt that didn't fit into the picture) played high school football at Concord (Calif.) DeLaSalle with Jaguars RB Maurice Drew and DT Derek Landri.
"I've read a lot about NFL coaches saying they love DeLaSalle guys," Dillard said. "So hopefully they'll like Damon, too."
Dillard says that Jenkins and Drew are good friends.
So, you see, the players aren't the only people working hard at the NFL Combine. Dillard's ingenius idea has drawn quite a bit of interest. In the hallways at the Indianapolis Convention Center, several people are walking around dangling the shirts on their shoulders - some people even wearing them.
That's the epitome of hustle. That's Dillard.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Franchise tag salaries for 2008

Consider this picture a postcard. It's from my hotel room window in Indianapolis, where we're covering the NFL Combine.

Sitting here in the media room near the RCA Dome waiting for different players, I decided to take a quick look at the money situation around the league to throw together a list of salaries for players that have received the franchise tag. In the last couple of days, a few teams have applied that tag to hold on to their impact players. Here's a look at how much those guys are worth. Keep in mind, a player that receives the franchise tag is guaranteed a one-year salary of the 10 highest-paid players at their position.

Quarterback - $10.73 million

CB - $9.465

DE - $8.879

LB - $8.065

WR - $7.848

OL - $7.455

DT - $6.363

RB - $6.538

TE - $4.522

S - $4.396

K/P - $2.514

Stay tuned for more from the combine. The day is kind of just getting underway. So there should be more info coming.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Middleburg native at NFL Combine

Please excuse my horrible photography skills (hey, it's a phone camera). But meet Louisville tight end Gary Barnidge, a former Middleburg High star and NFL hopeful. The T-U caught up with Barnidge Thursday in Indianapolis at the RCA Dome. See what Barnidge has to say about his NFL prospects in Friday's editions of the T-U.

2008 NFL Draft rankings

I'm enjoying the cold weather here (there's no such thing as "sarcasm" font on this computer) in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine. Since speculation mode is in full swing, I figured the football nuts would find these rankings interesting by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. How close are they to your rankings?

Anyway, stay tuned to the blog throughout the combine. I'll try to post interesting happenings. There was a James "Shack" Harris sighting this morning, but no other Jaguars officials have traipsed through the hallway here at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

MIKE MAYOCK’S TOP 20 (as of February 12, 2008)**

1. Matt Ryan - QB, Boston College
2. Sedrick Ellis – DT, USC
3. Chris Long - DE, Virginia
4. Glenn Dorsey – DT, LSU
5. Vernon Gholston – DE, Ohio State
6. Jake Long – OL, Michigan
7. Ryan Clady – OL, Boise State
8. Keith Rivers – LB, USC
9. Phillip Merling – DE, Clemson
10. Leodis McKelvin – CB, Troy
11. Brandon Flowers – CB, Virginia Tech
12. Rashard Mendenhall – RB, Illinois
13. Jeff Otah – OL, Pittsburgh
14. Derrick Harvey – DE, Florida
15. Kentwan Balmer – DT, North Carolina
16. Aqib Talib – CB, Kansas
17. Chris Williams – OL, Vanderbilt
18. Mario Manningham – WR, Michigan
19. Limas Sweed – WR, Texas
20. Branden Albert – OL, Virginia

MIKE MAYOCK’S TOP 5 RANKINGS BY POSITION (as of February 12, 2008)**

1. Matt Ryan - Boston College
2. Chad Henne - Michigan
3. Brian Brohm - Louisville
4. Joe Flacco - Delaware
5. Andre Woodson - Kentucky

Running Back
1. Rashard Mendenhall - Illinois
2. Darren McFadden - Arkansas
3. Jonathan Stewart - Oregon
4. Felix Jones - Arkansas
5. Chris Johnson - East Carolina

1. Jacob Hester - LSU
2. Peyton Hillis - Arkansas
3. Owen Schmitt - West Virginia

Wide Receiver
1. Mario Manningham - Michigan
2. Limas Sweed - Texas.
3. DeSean Jackson - California
4. Malcolm Kelly - Oklahoma
5. Early Doucet - LSU

Tight End
1. Fred Davis - USC
2. John Carlson - Notre Dame
3. Dustin Keller - Purdue
4. Jermichael Finley - Texas
5. Brad Cottam - Tennessee

Offensive Tackle
1. Jake Long - Michigan
2. Ryan Clady - Boise State
3. Jeff Otah - Pittsburgh
4. Chris Williams - Vanderbilt
5. Gosder Cherilus - Boston College

Interior Offensive Line
1. Branden Albert - Virginia
2. Chilo Rachal - USC
3. Roy Schuening - Oregon St.
4. Mike Pollak - Arizona State
5. Mackenzy Bernadeau - Bentley College

Defensive End
1. Chris Long - Virginia
2. Vernon Gholston - Ohio State
3. Phillip Merling - Clemson
4. Derrick Harvey - Florida
5. Lawrence Jackson - USC

Defensive Tackle
1. Sedrick Ellis - USC
2. Glenn Dorsey - LSU
3. Kentwan Balmer - North Carolina
4. Trevor Laws - Notre Dame
5. Letroy Guion - Florida State

Inside Linebacker
1. Dan Connor - Penn State
2. Curtis Lofton - Oklahoma
3. Spencer Larsen - Arizona
4. Beau Bell - UNLV
5. Jo-Lonn Dunbar - Boston College

Outside Linebacker
1. Keith Rivers - USC
2. Erin Henderson - Maryland
3. Xavier Adibi - Virginia Tech
4. Tavares Gooden – Miami (FL)
5. Ali Highsmith - LSU

1. Leodis McKelvin - Troy
2. Brandon Flowers - Virginia Tech
3. Aqib Talib - Kansas
4. Mike Jenkins - South Florida
5. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - Tennessee State

1. DaJuan Morgan - N.C. State
2. Kenny Phillips - Miami (FL)
3. Thomas DeCoud - California
4. D.J. Wolfe - Oklahoma
5. Tyrell Johnson - Arkansas State