Thurston Arbrister Getting His Shot

The Jaguars signed nine rookie free agents the day after the draft and three are linebackers: Miami’s Thurston Armbrister, Pittsburgh’s Todd Thomas and Maryland’s Matt Robinson.

During last week’s rookie mini-camp, Armbrister played the middle (Mike), while Thomas lined up on the weakside (Will) and Robinson manned the strong-side spot (Otto).

The Jaguars’ starters are set with Paul Posluszny (Mike), Telvin Smith (Will) and Dan Skuta (Otto). However, there isn’t much proven depth behind them.

The enormous opportunity to make the Jaguars roster was something the trio noticed.

Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley reached out to Armbrister shortly after the draft ended. He received a $12,500 signing bonus on his three-year, $1,587,000 contract.

“I felt this was the best situation for me,” Armbrister said. “It made me feel welcomed and wanted that the two of them called. The other teams that called me were scouts. That didn’t make me feel as comfortable.

“This is a great opportunity to make the team.”

Thomas and Robinson did not receive a signing bonus in their contracts (three years, $1,575,000). Still, the opportunity to see game checks in the fall was obvious.
“The Jaguars were the team from the start for me for a lot of reasons,” Thomas said. “But, you look at things like that [depth chart].”

Robinson echoed Thomas’ comments.

“It appealed to me,” Robinson said. “When you’re undrafted, it’s even less of a guarantee and nothing is guaranteed in this league. You’ve got to show what you can do and find a way to contribute to the team so they’ll keep you around. That played a part in coming here.”

The 6-foot-3, 241-pound Armbrister has been in this situation before. He was the rare no-star recruit to sign with a major program like the Hurricanes. His only other offer came from Northern Colorado. He started his career at safety before moving to linebacker.

Armbrister finished his career with 129 tackles (15 for loss) with seven sacks in 38 games (23 starts). Last season, he notched 56 tackles with five sacks and two forced fumbles.

Armbrister impressed Bradley with his agility in rookie camp.

“He’s very fast for a linebacker skill set,” Bradley said. “I think what shocked us a little bit about him was his lateral movement was maybe a little bit better than we thought.”

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