Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Young CBs Look to Stick around; Seventh-Rounders Harris, McCray Both Found Ways to Learn Last Year

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Young CBs Look to Stick around; Seventh-Rounders Harris, McCray Both Found Ways to Learn Last Year

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

Eventually, it will happen.

Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell will cut one of his own draft picks.

Caldwell has selected 17 players in the two drafts he's orchestrated. The nine players selected in May are all likely to be a safe bet to make the final 53-man roster.

That turns the focus toward the 2013 draft. Naturally, any player selected in the seventh round might seem the most likely to be cut first.

However, that might not be the case with cornerbacks Jeremy Harris and Demetrius McCray. The Jaguars took the pair with the 208th and 210th overall picks, respectively, in the seventh round.

McCray has already provided some production in his one year with the Jaguars.

Harris is hoping he can wipe away a lost rookie season in which he suffered a season-ending back injury before playing a snap in a preseason game.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Harris made his return Tuesday when the team began its organized team activities. Harris stayed in Jacksonville last season, despite being placed on injured reserve on Aug. 25, and attended meetings. That knowledge appeared to help him practice with little rust as he got in good position multiple times on balls thrown deep to his side.

"We really liked him coming out [of the draft]," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. "It was good to see him out there, not have any issues and perform. Now, he's truly like a rookie. He's going through it. Although he understands the defense, being on the field and actually utilizing the techniques is new to him. So we think he'll progress pretty quick because he does have a good knowledge."

Harris played for Jaguars defensive backs coach Dewayne Walker at New Mexico State. Walker said Harris did the best he could do to make the most of his unfortunate situation.

"It was a redshirt year, so to speak," Walker said. "He had a year off but sat back and learned from the older guys. He knows this is pretty important for him to come out and have a fast start. Through the OTAs so far, he's looked pretty good and moved around pretty good."

Harris has been encouraged by how his time in meetings helped him make a smoother transition back to the field. He broke up two deep passes in one practice, opportunities in which he could've made an interception.

"I felt I did good staying on top of the receiver on the deep balls," Harris said. "I dropped two of them that I wish I could have back. I was in good position to catch the ball, but I've got to finish the play. Now, it's coming more second nature, all of the nuances. I'm able to play fast without really thinking. The mental part is going well."

For McCray, the biggest strides he made in the offseason were physical. The long and lengthy McCray added seven pounds of muscle, increasing his 6-foot frame to 195 pounds. …

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