JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- On the first day of organized team activities, the Jacksonville Jaguars' top two draft picks didn’t take snaps with the first team -- during the portion that was open to the media, at least.
Don’t read much into that, though. Coach Doug Marrone’s plan all along was to work them in slowly.
Marrone doesn’t like to put too much on rookies right away. Besides, it doesn’t matter if running back Leonard Fournette or offensive tackle Cam Robinson are with the first unit in May. It does in September.
"Early on, I try to tend to stay away from that," Marrone said Tuesday after the first of the team’s 10 OTAs. "Just from a fact of, you really haven’t earned anything and it is really about protecting them a little bit more and protecting how they acclimate themselves into the team. I think it is always better if they keep their mouths shut and work extremely hard and start making some plays first before they get up there with the first group and do things of that nature.
"That is how I have always tried to do it unless something crazy happens where you don’t have anyone at that position and you have to put someone there."
You could argue that’s the case at left tackle because Branden Albert has yet to make an appearance at the voluntary offseason program. Robinson -- whom the Jaguars took with the No. 34 overall pick -- is supposedly competing with Albert to be the starter, so he naturally should get first-team reps. He eventually will, but Marrone wants to ease him into that role.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars didn’t draft Fournette No. 4 overall to have him play behind Chris Ivory or T.J. Yeldon. He was drafted to be the primary back and carry the ball at least 250 times in 2017. Barring injury, that will take place -- eventually.
“I think you have to be careful,” Marrone said. “We have some other guys that maybe haven’t earned it either, but they will go up there, up front, a little bit and we will start working and we will start mixing it up and mixing them in as we go.”
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