By Hays Carlyon
I liked what I saw from the passing game in the nine (of 10) Jaguars OTA practices that I watched.
*Quarterback Blake Bortles was sharp, accurate and in command.
*The receivers look good as a group, despite not having a clear No. 1 threat.
*The tight ends were a pleasant surprise thanks to free-agent addition Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Now, the degree of difficulty goes up.
King Jalen is back.
First-team All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey skipped all 10 of the voluntary OTAs to train with his father.
This week’s minicamp from Tuesday through Thursday is mandatory.
Let the fun begin.
The Jaguars other Pro-Bowl cornerback A.J. Bouye was impressive in the OTAs he attended, but he also missed several days. By the way, “other Pro-Bowl cornerback” is a pretty good phrase to have for your franchise.
Now, we’ll get a better sense of what Bortles and company and do.
The team still won’t be in pads, so the final layer of evaluation won’t begin until August when training camp is in full swing.
Still, the receivers largely enter minicamp with a strong dose of momentum. The order is too close to call but the corps is strong 1-6: Donte Moncrief, Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, DJ Chark and Rashad Greene.
Watching that group try to win reps from Ramsey and Bouye will be a thrill.
I wouldn’t expect Jaguars coach Doug Marrone to ease Ramsey back in. The staff is confident Ramsey will be in peak shape and ready for a large workload.
It’s still amazing to think about the duo Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and Jaguars personnel chief Tom Coughlin have built at corner. Caldwell drafted Ramsey fifth overall in 2016, while Coughlin approved Caldwell’s free-agent pursuit of Bouye in 2017.
The 23-year-old Ramsey enters his third season as arguably the best corner in football. He picked off five passes (counting the playoffs) with 17 break-ups last season, despite being rarely tested. Ramsey’s interception to seal a playoff win over Buffalo was an all-timer.
Bouye is playing his second season in Jacksonville after being signed away from Houston. Bouye, 26, picked off six passes last season with 19 break-ups (counting playoffs) to earn second-team All-Pro honors.
Have fun, Blake.
Bouye is an elite player, but all eyes will be on King Jalen when camp begins on Tuesday.
(You can email Hays at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon).