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Growing louder

Posted Jan 16, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars head coaching search could be picking up pace

JACKSONVILLE – The relative quiet around the Jaguars is getting a bit louder.

The noise could grow in the coming days.

While coaching and general manager searches continue to dominate NFL headlines, news around the Jaguars had been comparatively still, but as of Wednesday morning, that’s changing.

David Caldwell, named general manager last week, reportedly interviewed defensive coordinator Mel Tucker for the Jaguars’ head coaching position Monday, with two reported interviews Tuesday – Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

Reports also say the Jaguars would like to interview Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Bradley reportedly is interviewing with the Jaguars Wednesday.

Bevell reportedly was one of three finalists for the Chicago Bears job, with Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman being named the head coach there early Wednesday morning. Arizona reportedly also wants to interview Bevell.

Bradley met with the Philadelphia Eagles for a second time about their head coaching position Tuesday. There were reports Tuesday the Eagles and Bradley had reached a deal, but the Eagles on Wednesday hired Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly for the job.

The Jaguars also reportedly have interest in 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, while Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy – another reported candidate – accepted the head coaching position with the Chargers on Tuesday.

That’s part of the mosaic that is the jaguars.com coaches/general manager tracker, which can continue to be found here, and it remains to be seen if the Jaguars have a coach in place by the time the staff leaves for the Senior Bowl practices early next week.

Much can happen between now and then.

For now, while we wait – and because we just mentioned the Senior Bowl – we’ll begin today taking a look at the landscape facing Caldwell and the Jaguars this offseason.

The Senior Bowl and the late February NFL Scouting Combine could be the first major stops for Caldwell, and by the NFL Scouting Combine the team likely will have reached most of its decisions on its unrestricted free agents: cornerback Derek Cox, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, linebacker Daryl Smith, fullback Greg Jones, offensive tackle Eben Britton, cornerback Rashean Mathis, center Brad Meester, running back Rashad Jennings, cornerback Will Middleton, running back Jalen Parmele, offensive lineman Steve Vallos, cornerback Antwaun Molden and quarterback Jordan Palmer.

Those will be decisions Caldwell will make in the coming weeks once the coach is hired, and the draft will take shape, too.

With the Jaguars holding the No. 2 overall selection, the franchise’s earliest selection since taking offensive tackle Tony Boselli and linebacker Kevin Hardy in 1995 and 1996, respectively, their selection will be more high profile than in recent years.

ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., on Wednesday released his first 2013 Mock Draft, projecting the Jaguars to take Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore (6-feet-4, 250 pounds), a pass-rushing defensive end and an early-entry junior.

Kiper projected Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel as the No. 1 overall selection to Kansas City, and emphasized that while much will change between now and the April NFL Draft in New York City, he currently projects perhaps half the first round to be defensive ends or tackles.

“The (defensive) front seven is through the roof right now,” Kiper said.

Kiper wrote in his mock draft that he has had pass-rusher as the Jaguars’ top need for the last four years, and that while many consider quarterback a possibility here free agency may be the better option at that position.

Kiper did not project a quarterback in the first round of his initial mock, saying that while many have West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith as a Top 10 selection, he projects him closer to No. 20. He also said while Smith and Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley are first-round talents, it’s difficult to project teams selecting outside the Top 7 or 8 this season as taking a quarterback, making it difficult to project those players in a first-round mock.

He also said while there certainly will be quarterbacks in the draft who eventually start – Smith, Barkey, Ryan Nassib of Syracuse, Mike Glennon of North Carolina State and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas among them – there doesn’t appear to be a quarterback on par with the quarterbacks taken Nos. 1 and 2 last year, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

“None of those quarterbacks right now are in a league with what we saw last year,” Kiper said.

Also on Wednesday, Jaguars offensive line coach Andy Heck reportedly has accepted the same position with the Kansas City Chiefs. He became the second Jaguars assistant from last season to leave, with tight ends coach Bobby Johnson joining the Detroit Lions earlier this week.

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