After taking Friday off, the Jacksonville Jaguars returned to the practice field Saturday for Day 5 at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville. It was once again an eventful day as the team was in shells and started the process of moving into fully padded practices, which will begin on Day 6.
Day 5’s session came after a Day 4 practice where the defense stood out in red zone drills, so many were eager to see if Trevor Lawrence and the offense would bounce back. He did just that, although there were some drops from his receivers.
However, Lawrence wasn’t the only No. 1 pick who caught the eyes of onlookers as Travon Walker flashed, too. While it’s early, that’s likely music to the ears of the fans, as both will be a big part of the 2022 season.
Alongside the tidbits about both No. 1 selections, here are some takeaways from Day 5’s practice:
Travon Walker is already in his element as the shells go on
Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker (44) during stretching drills with teammates at Wednesday morning’s training camp session. The Jacksonville Jaguars held their third day of training camp Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville Knight Campus practice fields on Atlantic Blvd. [fFlorida Times-Union]
Walker said he was ready for the pads to go on earlier this week, and with the team putting shells on, he wasted no time doing what the Jags drafted him to do. News4Jax’s Jamal St. Cyr said Walker “spent a considerable amount of time in the backfield” Saturday, while Josh Allen came up with two back-to-back “sacks.”
Of course, this is important because the Jags spent the No. 1 overall pick on Walker this April, and with that, fans have been very excited to see what he can do. Many national experts have been curious about him as well because some questioned whether he should be the top pick of the draft over notables like Aidan Hutchinson, Evan Neal, and Ikem Ekwonu.
That said, it’s good to see Walker stand out early in camp, but there are several practices left to be had, and it will be interesting to see if Walker continues to stand out heading forward.
TE Evan Engram’s inconsistent hands continue to get brought up
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) pulls in a pass from quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) during Wednesday morning’s training camp session. The Jacksonville Jaguars held their third day of training camp Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville Knight Campus practice fields on Atlantic Blvd. [Florida Times-Union]
Doug Pederson expressed his love for tight ends to the media this week and it was clear when watching the offense. The team has a clear plan for free-agent addition tight end Evan Engram and Lawrence has gone to him often in the first five days of camp. However, the problem with that is that the veteran’s hands have been inconsistent.
On Saturday, Engram didn’t help ease concerns about his hands after he dropped a pass in the 2-minute drill/period at the 2-yard line.
This is a concern that has surrounded Engram’s name dating back to his time in New York. Some would even say it’s the main reason he’s still not there as he has all the other traits the NFL likes in a tight end.
For the fans who are concerned, the good thing is that Engram stayed behind and caught passes from the JUGS machine after practice. Only time will tell if that helps the veteran, but it’s clear the Jags want to make him a focal point of the offense if he can fix this issue which has at least somewhat plagued his career.
Trevor Lawrence speaks highly of the pieces around him
Jul 28, 2022; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) participates in training camp at Episcopal School of Jacksonville. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
While Engram has struggled with drops, that hasn’t affected Lawrence’s excitement about the offense. He met with the media for the second time this week after practice and offered high praise for the additions made around him.
“A lot of things, honestly,” Lawrence said when asked about what excites him about the offense. “I’d say just the amount of playmakers we have everywhere. And we have a lot of speed, a lot of talent, really two deep at pretty much every position. So you see that [on the field]. We got a few more young guys, too, this year that we can bring along and we brought in some older guys just to help boost this offense.
“We look good, we’re really explosive, we’re making plays. And like we talked about guys are just knowing their assignments, knowing their adjustments, I feel like it’s been really clean for the first week of camp. Usually you are having a lot more things to teach off of. And we still have plenty, but I’d say just the little things, feeling the zones on certain routes, all those things, the guys are doing a great job. We are trying to just keep adding to that.”
Lawrence entered Day 5 looking to rebound after the defense got the better of the offense on Day 4, which was centered around red-zone drills. He was able to do that and went 12-of-16 on the day, but it’s worth noting that the first-team offense and defense were going against the second-team offense and defense Saturday.
Lawrence was also credited for the play of the day by many, which was a pass where he hit receiver Marvin Jones Jr. perfectly up the sideline over defensive back Jabari Davis.
With a fully-padded practice coming up on Sunday, it will be interesting to see what type of day Lawrence has as he had an overall good camp. As fans are aware, the playing field is a little more evened out when the pads go on as it allows the defense to be a little more physical than they are without pads.
Fans may want to get familiar with undrafted rookie CB Benjie Franklin
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Benjie Franklin (36) prepares to catch a pass during the Jaguars minicamp session at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL Wednesday, June 15, 2022. [The Florida Times-Union]
A lot of time gets spent on covering the rookies who were drafted, but the undrafted players deserve some recognition, too. After all, the Jags have been known to find a few undrafted gems in their history, and names on the roster like current running back James Robinson and Tyler Shatley are examples. Then there are others from the past like receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Lazard, too.
Of course, those will be hard shoes to fill for the Jags’ current undrafted class, but some undrafted rookies are making a case to make the team. One of them is cornerback Benjie Franklin, who the Jags signed out of Tarleton State University.
In the first five days of camp, Franklin has consistently been mentioned by reporters, and on Day 5, he made his best play so far by picking off quarterback Jake Luton. Not only that, but he was able to take it back for six.
That’s exactly what an undrafted player needs to do to get the attention of the staff, especially at a cornerback position that has a decent amount of competition at the top. With the pads going on Sunday and the Jags’ first game coming up on Thursday, Franklin has some great opportunities ahead of him. Based on his Week 1 consistency, it wouldn’t be shocking if he continues to make plays and makes it hard for the Jags’ staff to cut him anytime soon.
Jawaan Taylor and Devin Lloyd remain among the players to be held out
Aug 1, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor (75) enters the field for training camp at Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Right tackle Jawaan Taylor was held out of practice for the second consecutive time with an unknown injury. He did work off to the side on a bike, though, but his absence from practice allowed Walker Little to get another full practice with the first-team offensive line.
Of course, Taylor’s status is important because he’s in competition with Little to start. The two were already rotating dating back to Day 2, and with the pads going on Sunday, Taylor’s status heading forward could be very important.
First-round linebacker Devin Lloyd also remained sidelined as he has yet to practice due to a hamstring injury. The Jags’ staff have stressed that he will be day-to-day, and coach Doug Pederson even went as far as saying it’s not a significant injury earlier in the week. That said, he’s been taking mental reps, and it will be interesting to see if he can get on the field in the coming days or Thursday’s game against Las Vegas.
Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire