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Jags nab Marqise Lee in 2nd round

Friday, May 09, 2014
Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell was first enamored with Marqise Lee during the receiver's freshman season at USC, but he knew he'd have to wait a while before he'd have a chance to draft him.

The wait on Friday night was a little more nerve-wracking.

Caldwell failed in his bid to trade up to the top pick in the second round (33rd overall) so he had to wait out the Jaguars' turn at 39 before they could grab Lee to help improve one of the league's worst offenses.

"We're excited," Caldwell said. "Obviously we had him highly rated. I think the whole country did. But for whatever reason this is a deep draft and sometimes players fall.

"This is a good draft with good players. Somebody's got to fall, right? And it just so happened that it (wide receiver) was a need for us."

It certainly was, considering the uncertain status of wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who is serving an indefinite suspension for his third violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Caldwell said last week that the team wasn't planning on Blackmon playing in 2014, which left the offense without a No. 1 receiver.

Lee can certainly fill that role. He caught 248 passes for 3,655 yards and 29 touchdowns in three seasons with the Trojans. He caught 57 passes for 791 yards and four scores last year despite playing through a knee injury and quarterback issues. That followed a monster sophomore season in which he caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns.

"He's explosive," Caldwell said. "He can make defenders miss. He's very instinctive. He's got a feel for zones. He can separate in and out of breaks very well. When he gets the ball in his hands he's a threat to take it to the house.

"He's a playmaker and we need playmakers."

The Jaguars ranked 22nd in passing and 31st in total offense in the NFL in 2013. The hope is that the addition of Lee and quarterback Blake Bortles, the No. 3 overall pick Thursday, will improve those numbers significantly for years.

The 6-foot, 192-pound Lee, who said his drop into the second round will serve as motivation, is ready to do his part.

"I think my competitive nature [will help him thrive in the NFL]," he said. "I think I'm capable of getting it done."

Among other notable wide receivers drafted, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews with the 42nd overall pick after trading up with Tennessee.

The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Matthews helps fill the void left by the release of three-time Pro Bowl wideout DeSean Jackson. Matthews is the SEC's all-time leader in career receptions (262) and yards receiving (3,759).

Matthews gives coach Chip Kelly another playmaker on an offense that set several franchise records last year and features Pro Bowl quarterback Nick Foles and All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy.

After twice trading down, the Seattle Seahawks picked Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson with the No. 45 overall pick.

Seattle was originally scheduled to pick at No. 40 before making a second draft trade, this time with Detroit. By moving back five spots, the Seahawks were still able to get a speedy receiver to add to their roster and help make up for the loss of Golden Tate in free agency.

Richardson missed the 2012 season with a knee injury. His rebound in 2013 was outstanding. Despite playing with a young quarterback, Richardson had a standout senior season with 83 catches for 1,343 yards and 10 touchdown catches. Three times he had at least 10 catches in a game, even as the Buffaloes were struggling through a 4-8 season.

The Packers took receiver Davante Adams with the 53rd pick, supplying quarterback Aaron Rodgers with another target in a potent passing game.

Adams had 131 catches for 1,718 yards and 24 touchdowns last year in Fresno State's high-octane offense run by quarterback Derek Carr, himself selected in the second round by the Raiders.

Adams will join a Packers receiving corps led by Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Jarrett Boykin also emerged last year as a target after Cobb got hurt.

The Denver Broncos gave Peyton Manning another offensive target, selecting Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer with the 56th pick after a trade with the San Francisco 49ers.

Latimer had 72 catches for 1,096 yards and nine TDs for the Hoosiers last season. He finished his career with 135 receptions for 2,042 yards.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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