Harvey Already Flooring Coaches
The first thing that Derrick Harvey will likely do when he gets to Jacksonville, is to hunt down defensive line coach Ted Monachino and apologize to the Jaguars coach once again.
Last month during Florida's Pro Day workout, Monachino was on the field watching Harvey run through an agility drill. Harvey was suppose to spin away from Monachino who was standing off to the side, but instead accelerated right into the Jaguars coach, knocking him to the ground.
"I was athletic enough not to go all the way down," Manachino said. "The kid was doing what I asked him to do and going full speed, that's a big man running full speed."
Added Harvey, "I said 'My bad,' and that was it. He was laughing too."
Injuries in Groves
Second-round draft pick Quentin Groves had to overcome dislocated toes during the season and a heart condition that was detected at the NFL Combine in February before the Jaguars selected him in the draft. Groves dislocated the toes in a game against Florida last fall when Gators center Drew Miller fell on his foot in the game.
Ironically Miller and Groves will now become teammates as the Jaguars signed Miller as undrafted rookie free agent following the completion of the regular draft on Sunday.
The heart condition that was found at the Combine was corrected through a surgical procedure shortly after Groves returned from the Indianapolis workout.
Asked which of the two conditions was harder on him, Groves said it was the toes.
"Any time I have to miss football it's a painful experience for me," he said. "When the toes got hurt, I knew I could come back and I did. Being on the sideline watching the team was one of the hardest things, knowing that you can go out there and help the team and you want to contribute but you can't."
Derrick Late Bloomer
Harvey didn't start playing football until his senior year in high school, opting instead to play basketball. He quickly gained the eye of several prominent colleges however and eventually signed with Florida. Asked how he became such a good player so quickly, Harvey said it was through a lot of hard work.
"I use to play basketball in high school and I was tiny in basketball. I figured I wasn't getting any taller so I need to go play football to get the scholarship," he said. "I went to my high school coach, talked to him, got on the football field and started working hard and here I am today.
No Start? No Problem
Fifth-round pick Thomas Williams couldn't crack the starting lineup at Southern California, but he'll bring plenty of confidence to Jacksonville with plans to make the roster and be a first-year contributor. He feels he's come a long way since first arriving at the USC campus as a freshman.
"When I was a freshman, I absolutely was disappointed about not being a full-time starter. I didn't understand the complexity of Rome wasn't built in a day," Williams said. "I wasn't up to par when I first got there as a freshman. But I wanted to continue to learn football. that's why I stayed there and kept competing."
Williams will use the flexibility of playing more than one position as a strength in earning a spot with the Jaguars.
"Being able to play all three different linebacker positions gives me versatility with the Jaguars," he said. "If something happens and I need to play short-yardage fullback, then I can do that. I am definitely looking to come in and learn from the veteran players. This is something we dream about ever since you are a little kid.
"This game isn't promised and this game isn't forever so every single second I am going to give everything I got."
No More Long Car Rides
Now that Derrick Harvey has been selected in the first round by the Jaguars, the happiest people, next to Harvey, may be his mom and step father. The two of them, who live in Greenbelt, Md., made the 780-mile road trip to Gainesville for every game in Gainesville during Harvey's career, as well as every road contest.
They put on over 40,000 miles in a little over a year and eventually rang up 150,000 miles on a mini-van before trading it in. Now that Harvey will be playing in Jacksonville, about 80 miles closer to his Maryland home, they won't have to worry about doing the drive anymore.
"They can drive if they want to, but now they can get on a plane and fly right down here to Jacksonville," Harvey said. "I'll make sure they have plane tickets to Houston, Indianapolis or wherever we play. No more long road trips in the car."
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"It could be because he was an inch taller, a couple pounds heavier or a second or two faster than me. That could be it. That is the only thing I can think of." -- Jaguars fifth round draft pick Trae Williams when asked why he thinks South Florida teammate Mike Jenkins went ahead of him (1st round) even though they had comparable statistics.
A closer look at the Jaguars draft picks and why the Jaguars picked them…