Last Thursday, Maurice Jones-Drew grabbed the loudest applause from the crowds at EverBank by doing one thing -- he jogged out onto the practice field.
While the running back is more than a month away from being part of the on-field activities with his other teammates, it was a sign that the player most recognized with this team was well on his way to being ready once the start of the season begins in September.
The Jaguars believe (as they have listed 1-3 on their depth chart) there are three runners who will receive the majority of the load of touches in the running game.
Jones-Drew should be starter from day one. Justin Forsett is listed as his backup and showed potential in Houston. Denard Robinson is the rookie drafted this season to provide a spark in the offense.
Only one of those players is a proven commodity on a constant basis and I have to wonder if the franchise would look to other runners who could spell MJD should he not be ready when camp ends.
Beanie Wells was brought in from Arizona and given a look. Nothing was done to sign the former first-rounder. There are other veterans who could be a stop gap if needed, capable of leading the way until Jones-Drew is ready.
General manager David Caldwell knows about Michael Turner and could look to the former Atlanta runner for insurance. Turner has a lot of miles on him and has slowed down in the past two seasons, but he could find a breath of fresh air in Florida. Turner would also be a great goal line addition for this team.
Willis McGahee has ties to Florida from his time at the University of Miami. McGahee is certainly on the downswing of his career after time in Buffalo, Baltimore and Denver. He could end his career in the state where he started his college career.
Could Wells still be an option? He came in and left with little a whimper. There was no real noise made about the 24 year old often injured back.
The thing I like about Wells is that he is bigger than any runner the Jaguars have had on their roster and could be a nice player to have at the goal line. Also, with his size, 6’2” and 230 pounds, he runs over defenders. The Jaguars' backs are smallish in size.
If the Jaguars do decide to add another runner, it will be for insurance only. If it happens to be Wells, then maybe the team is thinking to the future should the team not re-sign Jones-Drew to a new contract. But with the short list of runners, it gives the team options should it want to make a change or add depth.
And with a team this young, depth is never a bad thing to have.