Of the 90 players who started training camp with the Jaguars last month 31 were rookies including 23 who were undrafted. A few like running back Lonnie Pryor and tight end Ryan Otten were priority signings for the Jaguars hours after the draft concluded in April. But the road to a roster spot for many of the other undrafted rookies — particularly safety Ray Polk receiver Jamal Miles and linebackers Michael Zimmer and Maalik Bomar — will be more difficult. Heading into Friday’s preseason opener against Miami all four find themselves at the bottom of the depth chart. When practice started July 26 no Jaguars player was more surprised to be on the field than Polk. The Jaguars claimed Polk off waivers from Seattle a day before players reported. Before hearing from Jacksonville the former Colorado player was searching for a new job possibly even one out of football. “I didn’t know what the next step in life would be whether I would get a 9-to-5 job or a part-time job and keep pursuing [an NFL career]” Polk said. “You could always be at home thinking about what the hell you are going to do in life but fortunately I got the call from Jacksonville and now I’m here.” Polk was at home in Arizona when he was claimed by the Jaguars. He scrambled to get the essentials together and made a 3:30 p.m. flight to the East Coast less than 24 hours before coach Gus Bradley’s first meeting of camp. Polk arrived in Jacksonville — his first trip to Florida — about 1:30 a.m. on July 25 and the roller coaster has not stopped since. “Between camps with Seattle I photocopied a bunch of formations and stuff and I brought that here and just started studying as soon as I got the playbook” Polk said. “That’s pretty much all I do. I turn my phone off during the day and I’m back in the playbook.” While entering training camp with a new team can be daunting Polk found relief in the form of two friendly faces: Pryor and receiver Toney Clemons. Pryor and Polk trained together during the offseason; Clemons was his teammate at Colorado where Polk now listed as 6-foot and 219 pounds finished his career with 237 tackles and eight pass breakups. “That’s my man; I watched Ray grow” Clemons said. “He was always a real active guy real ball-hawking and energetic. I’m glad we have him. He is big. He’s strong fast and athletic. We always matched up well even in college. To have him on this level it is good to see.” Despite his impressive physical attributes Polk landed on the wrong end of a tongue lashing from Bradley last week. Polk struggled to get positioned properly during 11-on-11s. With only a limited amount of time to make a good impression on the coaching staff Polk knows he has to make smarter quicker decisions.
Long shots looking to make most of chance with Jaguars
Jacksonville Times-Union | Aug 5