The sun beat on the backs of the 90 football players hoping to make a lasting impression at Jacksonville Jaguars' minicamp this past week.
For most of the them (29 new players will fill a roster spot on this team), rookie minicamp, OTAs and the mandatory three days last week, were an audition for another franchise.
The Jaguars have more than five weeks off until they meet in the hot sun in Florida for another round of training camp practices that will eventually lead to a final roster of talent new head coach will take on the field.
Among those players could be the eight rookies the team drafted in April. While most of the rookies were drafted for defense, there were also players drafted for size (Luke Joeckel), speed (Ace Sanders) and skills (Denard Robinson). Others like Johnathan Cyprien (defensive back) were drafted because they could cover fleet receivers down the field.
And there are a handful of undrafted rookies who have left an impression on the coaching staff.
Here are some of the Jaguars’ rookies who have done well in camp so far.
Johnathan Cyprien: He is a man in a rookie's body. Since he got to Jacksonville, he has been praised for his ability to pick up the defensive system designed by Gus Bradley and defensive coordinator Bob Babich.
He has also spent time working with Dwight Lowery, learning about the pro game. Cyprien played at Florida International, a school that did not play against elite talent. Cyprien, however, is an elite talent that will start in the Jaguars' secondary. GRADE: A
Dwayne Gratz: Of all the players drafted by the Jaguars, this pick was the one that puzzled me. Gratz was a third round pick and has done nothing to dispel the fact he can play in the NFL. Gratz has picked up the defense and has been a nice surprise in camp. The cornerback should be starting in the secondary from day one. GRADE: A-
Denard Robinson: He has been the talk of the offseason, not only by local pundits, but also by the national media. Robinson fills many roles for this team on offense and could be a special teams ace as well. What is great about Robinson, who has gotten more than his share of applause from the crowds in attendance has been the idea he will be used in many packages, and could get 10-15 touches per game. GRADE: A-
Lonnie Pryor: An undrafted fullback from Florida State looks like a sure thing to make the roster. Pryor is a bit undersized at 227 pounds, but he will be used in the same capacity as fellow former FSU fullback and Jaguar Greg Jones. That is good news for Maurice Jones-Drew. He could also be a nice goal line threat as well. GRADE: B+
Luke Joeckel: What can be said about a player who was the best prospect in this draft. Seeing him up close and personal, Joeckel is BIG and solid. He looks the part and has looked good in practice on the right side of the line, opposite of Eugene Monroe. Joeckel is a natural left tackle, but Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy. GRADE: B+