The Jacksonville Jaguars signed wide receiver Laurent Robinson to a five-year, $32.5 million contract and moved up in the 2012 NFL Draft to select Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, all to upgrade a passing game that ranked 32nd in 2011. The Jaguars further addressed the position by adding some undrafted rookie free agent wide receivers.
One of those players was Mike Brown from Liberty. Brown -- a converted quarterback -- got a tryout because a former college coach, Charlie Skalaski, had joined the Jaguars' coaching staff. Brown took advantage of his chance and earned a three-year contract. He remains on the roster, even as two receivers, Jarrett Boykin, Nelson Rosario, who received base salary guarantees were waived.
Part of the reason for Brown's survival thus far is that he's ideally built for the slot, at 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds. His work during OTAs and minicamps has prompted receivers coach Jerry Sullivan to compare Brown to Wes Welker.
"We talk about the roster often in staff meetings," Skalaski told The Daily Progress last week. "Mike has left an extremely favorable impression on the whole staff, from the offensive coordinator to the head coach to the special teams coordinator...I know Jerry Sullivan said Mike has a lot of the same qualities as Wes Welker."
Before anyone expects Brown to lead the league in receptions, it's important to remember that he caught five passes for 25 yards over his final two seasons in college after moving from receiver to quarterback in 2010. He's very much a developmental player who is facing an uphill climb just to make the Jaguars' 53-man roster. Also, Wes Welker wasn't "Wes Welker" until his third season in the league.
That Sullivan sees something in Brown, however, is noteworthy because he was coaching the Miami Dolphins receivers when the team signed Welker off the street, early in the 2004 season. If Brown lives up to that comparison this summer, he could push current slot receiver Mike Thomas for playing-time in 2012 and off the roster next year.