JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Here are some observations from Day 2 of the Jacksonville Jaguars' mandatory three-day minicamp:
Wide receiver Allen Hurns, an undrafted free agent from Miami, has really benefited from the extended playing time he has gotten because of the injuries at receiver. At one point seven receivers were out, and though Mike Brown and Ace Sanders have returned Hurns continues to get reps with the first-team offense. "Allen Hurns has really caught our eye [as] a guy that can play multiple positions [at receiver]," coach Gus Bradley said Wednesday. "We'll see how he handles it when we put the pads on." Hurns made a couple of nice catches during 11-on-11 drills. He's intriguing because of his size (6-foot-3, 196 pounds), which would make him the team's second-biggest receiver behind Allen Robinson (6-3, 210) if he were to make the 53-man roster.
Cornerback Will Blackmon had an interception and deflected another pass during 11-on-11 drills. The Jaguars are trying him out inside on the slot receiver, which is a bit of an adjustment for Blackmon. He mainly played outside last season. "He is doing a good job in there," Bradley said. "There is a lot of communication that takes place there, and that is one of Will's strengths. He is a really good communicator and has a really good idea of what is asked of him in each of our coverages." Blackmon was one of the Jaguars' better signings last season. He was signed as a free agent on Aug. 28 and ended up starting eight games, making 40 tackles, intercepting one pass, and breaking up 10 others.
Quarterback Ricky Stanzi has been solid during the first two days of minicamp. Though he has been getting reps with the third unit he has out-performed rookie Blake Bortles. He had a long touchdown run on Tuesday and looks comfortable in his second season in the offense. It'll be interesting to see what the Jaguars do with Stanzi. General manager David Caldwell has said he likes to keep three quarterbacks, but Stanzi isn't eligible to be on the practice squad so he'd have to be on the active roster, meaning the Jaguars would have to carry one less at another position. If the Jaguars choose not to keep Stanzi, that would mean Bortles would be Chad Henne's top backup. But if he's not ready the Jaguars would be taking a risk because he'd have to play if Henne were hurt.
First-year tight end Brandon Barden made nice catches on back-to-back plays, snagging a low throw by Bortles and catching a pass that was behind him near the sideline. Barden, whom the Jaguars claimed off waivers from Tennessee last November, is fighting to be the Jaguars' third tight end behind Marcedes Lewis and Clay Harbor. Barden, who finished second among tight ends in Vanderbilt history with 107 catches, is a flex tight end and doesn't give the Jaguars much as a blocker.