Jacksonville Sports Day

NFL: Jacksonville Selects LSU’s Fournette, Bama’s Robinson in Draft

NFL Draft Recap

With the the Jaguars first-round selection (fourth overall), Jacksonville selected RB Leonard Fournette from Louisiana State University. “He is powerful, obviously,” said Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. “You like him at 228-230 pounds, right in that area. He is fast. At his pro day, he did catch the ball and give the idea that he certainly could do that. I really don’t have any question if he can play on all three downs.”

Fournette, 6-0, 228, appeared in 32 games with 24 starts during his three-year career in Baton Rouge. During his tenure with the Tigers, Fournette totaled 3,830 career rushing yards (fourth in school history) on 616 carries (6.2 rush avg.) and scored 42 TDs (40 rushing, one receiving, one kick return).

Fournette set or tied 23 different school records during his career at LSU, including eight single-season records, five single-game records, seven bowl records and three career records. “I think Leonard is going to be a great asset to our team,” said Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell. “We think he’s a special player, but we also think he’s a special person.” Fournette’s 155.7 all-purpose yards per game average is the second-highest in school history.

Fournette’s three career records at LSU include his 119.7 rushing yards per game, his five 200-yard rushing games and his nine consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Fournette, who is the only player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, is the fastest player in LSU history to reach 2,000 and 3,000 career rushing yards. A native of New Orleans, La., Fournette was a four-year starting RB at St. Augustine H.S., where he earned USA Today National Offensive Player of the Year honors after concluding his career with 7,619 rushing yards and 88 rushing TDs. Fournette will wear No. 27 for the Jaguars.

The Jaguars entered the second day of the NFL Draft with one selection in each of the second (35th overall) and third (68th) rounds. The Jaguars then traded their second- (35th) and sixth (187th)-round selections to the Seattle Seahawks for the 34th overall pick, and selected OT Cam Robinson from the University of Alabama.

“I’m a competitor,” said Robinson. “When I first got on campus, nothing was given to me. That was a spot I had to go and work for. I’m just looking to earn everything that I get at the next level.” Robinson, 6-6, 320, started all 43 games at LT during his three-year career in Tuscaloosa.

The recipient of the 2016 Outland Trophy – given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman on offense or defense – served as a team captain for the Crimson Tide during his junior season in 2016 and helped Alabama lead the SEC in scoring offense (38.8 points per game) en route to unanimous first-team All-America honors.

Over the course of his career, Robinson paved the way for 100-yard rushers on 28 occasions, and led the team with 37 knockdowns in 2016. A native of Monroe, La., Robinson was the top-rated OT in the nation and was a first-team All-USA selection.

In the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected DE Dawuane Smoot from the University of Illinois with the 68th overall pick. “I feel very excited,” said Smoot. “I’m ready to learn and I’m ready to work as hard as I can for the team.” A native of Groveport, Ohio, Smoot, 6-3, 264, appeared in 40 career games for the Illini and posted career totals of 137 tackles, including 38.5 tackles for loss (sixth in school history), and 16.5 sacks.

As a senior in 2016, Smoot served as a team captain and appeared in 12 games with 56 tackles and 15.0 tackles for loss (5.0 sacks) en route to third-team all-conference recognition while playing for Head Coach Lovie Smith. As a junior in 2015, Smoot appeared in 12 games and totaled 40 tackles, including 15.0 tackles for loss, as well as a career-high 8.0 sacks.

As a sophomore in 2014, Smoot appeared in 13 games and registered 33 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss with 2.5 sacks. As a freshman in 2013, Smoot totaled eight tackles (1.0 sack) in seven games. Smoot is the fourth player the Jaguars have drafted from Illinois and the first since OT Sean Bubin (159th overall) in 2004.

Smoot also joins LB Kevin Hardy (second overall in 1996) and LB Danny Clark (245th overall in 2000) as Illini drafted by the Jaguars. Illinois’ four players drafted are tied for the fifth-most by a college or university in Jaguars draft history. Dawuane is pronounced duh-WAHN.

To begin the third day of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected WR Dede Westbrook from the University of Oklahoma in the fourth round (110th overall).

Westbrook, 6-0, 178, finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting and was named the 2016 Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s most outstanding wide receiver after setting a school record with 17 receiving TDs and hauling in 80 passes for 1,524 yards (19.1 rec. avg.).

“We feel like this is a guy that can come in and contribute (at WR),” said General Manager Dave Caldwell. “He has a lot of specialties where we can use him in different situations, and then the punt return aspect and special teams aspect of it.” Despite playing just two seasons in Norman, Westbrook finished his career ranked fourth in Oklahoma history with nine 100-yard receiving games and sixth in TD receptions with 21.

All 17 of Westbrook’s receiving TDs and 1,370 of his 1,524 receiving yards in 2016 came in the final 10 games of the season, which were the most receiving yards and receiving TDs over a 10-game stretch in school history.

Westbrook also contributed on special teams, returning nine kickoffs for 244 yards (27.1 avg.) and returning five punts for 81 yards (16.2 avg.) and one TD.

A native of Cameron, Texas, Westbrook transferred to Oklahoma from Blinn Community College after leading the junior college ranks with 1,487 receiving yards and 13 TDs in only eight games to earn NJCAA first-team All-America honors as a sophomore. A sociology major, Westbrook’s first name is pronounced DEE-dee.

In the fifth round, Jacksonville selected LB Blair Brown from Ohio University with the 148th overall pick. Brown, 6-0, 238, appeared in 42 games during his four-year career in Athens, Ohio, totaling 266 tackles (151 solo), 25.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

“Basically as a player, (Blair’s) a run and hit guy,” said Director of College Scouting Mark Ellenz. “Very explosive and fast. He’s just under six feet tall, 240 pounds, runs in the 4.6’s and (Special Teams) Coach Joe DeCamillis also had him graded really high for us as a special teams value.”

As a redshirt senior in 2016, Brown appeared in 14 games and led the team with 128 tackles (71 solo) and 15.0 tackles for loss and was named a first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection. According to Pro Football Focus, Brown led the nation in tackling efficiency, registering just three missed tackles during the 2016 season.

A native of Moreno Valley, Calif., Brown served as a three-year team captain at Rancho Verde High School and was the school’s defensive MVP after a 14-0 senior campaign.

With the first of two seventh-round selections, the Jaguars selected University of Minnesota CB Jalen Myrick with the 222nd overall pick. Myrick, 5-11, 200, will compete on defense at the nickel CB position and on special teams, including PR and KR.

As a senior at Minnesota, Myrick posted 41 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss and led the team with 12 passes defensed (one INT). Myrick ran a 4.28 at the 2017 NFL Combine, the fastest time in Big Ten history and the fastest time by a DB in 2017.

With the 240th overall selection, and the team’s final pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Jacksonville selected FB Marquez Williams from the University of Miami (Fla.) in the seventh round with a choice obtained from the Miami Dolphins in a trade.

Williams, 5-11, 260, finished his career as a redshirt senior with the Hurricanes and appeared in 13 games with five starts. Williams caught the team’s first TD of the year on a four-yard catch in the season opener against Florida A&M.

Prior to transferring to Miami, Williams spent three years at Mars Hill University in N.C. and was a two-time All-South Atlantic Conference honoree, earning first-team honors in 2015.

A three-year starter at Clarke Central High School, Williams is a native of Athens, Ga. With the selection of Williams in the seventh round, the Jaguars have now drafted a player from a Florida-based college or university 22 times in the team’s 23-year draft history.

Overall, the Jaguars have selected 190 players over the past 23 drafts, including 87 offensive players, 96 defensive players and seven specialists.

Since juniors were allowed to enter the draft in 1990, the Jaguars have taken 27 underclassmen, including first-round (fourth overall) RB Leonard Fournette and second-round (34th overall) OT Cam Robinson in this year’s draft.

The Jaguars have drafted an underclassman in 12 of the last 14 drafts and have selected an underclassman in the first round in five consecutive years (LT Luke Joeckel in 2013, QB Blake Bortles in 2014, DE Dante Fowler Jr. in 2015, CB Jalen Ramsey in 2016 and Fournette in 2017).

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