We're chugging along here. The Jaguars drafting TWELVE players didn't make this easy for me. But we've made it to middle linebacker Shaq Quarterman, the seventh of the Jaguars' twelve 2020 draft picks.
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Quarterman might be the single most intriguing prospect the Jaguars added to their roster during the 2020 NFL Draft. He exudes personality and was one of the most productive linebackers in Miami's storied history. Did I mention he's a hometown kid? He grew up in Jacksonville and played his high school ball at Oakleaf in Orange Park. The Jaguars brought Quarterman home with the 140th overall pick in the draft.
On returning home to play for the Jaguars, Quarterman had this to say: "I'm more than excited. It's a dream come true to stay home and be able to bless my city."
On his leadership ability: "I'm looking to bring everything to the Jacksonville Jaguars. To thank them for giving me this opportunity, I have to bring all my attributes" ... "I believe in doing things the right way, and when you stand on the side of winning, how can you be mad at that?"
Quarterman was ridiculously productive for the Hurricanes as a four-year starter at middle linebacker. He racked up 356 career tackles, 46.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 13 passes defended, five fumble recoveries, an interception, two forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown.
Upon being selected by the Jaguars, Shaq told his new head coach, Doug Marrone: "Coach, I'm just telling you now when my cleats are on the grass, I will do whatever you want me to do. I'm going to play."
Quarterman is going to bring an exuberant alpha personality to the Jaguars' locker room and into the community. But what should fans expect from Quarterman on the field in 2020 and beyond?
Shaq didn't fall to the fourth round because of his production, leadership qualities, or football savvy. He's a middle linebacker that doesn't possess great size or athletic ability. Usually, that's not a great combo to have. But Quarterman makes it work. While he's not an uber-athletic prospect, he does have decent straight-line speed, as evidenced by his 4.74 40-yard dash. And while he's only six-feet-tall and 234-pounds, Quarterman has plenty of strength. And it was on display with his 23 bench press reps. He also showed off some really impressive explosiveness, registering a 120" broad jump, landing him in the 89th percentile for inside linebackers. He's not going to be the fastest or most physically imposing linebacker in the NFL. But he's going to bring 100% effort, toughness, and a high football IQ to the Jaguars.
Because the Jaguars have Joe Schobert and Myles Jack as their off-ball linebackers, Quarterman isn't likely to see the field much on defense in his first couple of seasons. But he'll be a presence on special teams in all phases and should be able to play well enough early on if he's forced onto the field due to injuries. Quarterman projects as Schobert's primary backup in 2020. If Quarterman is able to get on the field as a defender in 2020, it could be in blitz packages, where he proved highly effective at Miami. And if he can show the Jaguars' coaching staff that he can overcome his lack of elite athleticism and size, Shaq could be a long term fixture in the starting lineup down the road. If his athleticism proves to be a bit of an issue, Quarterman should be a viable second-string middle linebacker for a long time.
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