Thurston Armbrister Emerging At Linebacker For Jacksonville Jaguars

The odds have always been stacked against Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Thurston Armbrister.

As a no-star recruit, Armbrister was not heavily recruited coming out of high school. He eventually signed with the Miami Hurricanes, but not much was expected of the young linebacker. After barely seeing the field early in his collegiate career, he made his mark on special teams and eventually grew into one of Miami’s top defensive playmakers. In 38 career games with the Hurricanes, the 6-foot-3, 241-pound Armbrister recorded 129 tackles and seven sacks.

Despite his success at the collegiate level, Armbrister was not invited to the NFL combine. Doubts about his athleticism and ability in coverage led to him going undrafted. The Jaguars quickly signed him following the draft.

The Jaguars’ starters at linebacker are set with Telvin Smith, Paul Posluszny and Dan Skuta. However, depth at the position remains a concern. Aside from third-year linebacker LaRoy Reynolds, the Jaguars lack quality players at the position. Second-year linebackers Jeremiah George and Khairi Fortt, as well as fellow undrafted rookie Todd Thomas, are competing with Armbrister for the final two linebacker spots.

Through two preseason games, Armbrister appears to be on the verge of locking down one of those spots. He is third on the team with eight tackles. He has played well against the run, and has greatly improved in coverage throughout training camp and the preseason. He also has the versatility to play all three linebacker spots.

With Reynolds and Fortt suffering knee injuries in Saturday’s preseason game against the New York Giants, Armbrister should have plenty of opportunity to prove his worth over the next couple of weeks. Being in this position is nothing new to Armbrister. He has played his entire career with a chip on his shoulder. If he can continue to impress in the final two preseason games, his roster spot will be all but secured.

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