Brandon Linder

Brandon Linder recovering from shoulder surgery

Jaguars right guard Brandon Linder is back in the team's facility this week.

Linder's second season with the Jaguars ended on Oct. 5 when the team put him on injured reserve. The 23-year-old Linder tore the labrum in his left shoulder during practice on Sept. 23. He played in a loss at New England four days later before being shut down for the season.

Linder had surgery on Oct. 7.

"The first couple days were bad, but it was something I had to get fixed," Linder said. "I am pleased with what they're telling me. I'm happy with the surgery and am on the road to recovery. I've got to stay positive."

Linder is expected to be fully recovered in six months.

"That's pretty standard," Linder said. "I should be set to go in May."

Linder, the team's third-round pick in 2014, has started 18 games in his career. He is considered the best offensive lineman on the roster.

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Brandon Linder needs shoulder surgery, will miss rest of season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have placed right guard Brandon Linder on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

The team said Monday that Linder will have surgery later this week to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The second-year starter injured his shoulder in practice two weeks ago and aggravated it in a win against Miami on Sept. 27. He was inactive for Sunday's loss at Indianapolis.

The Jaguars (1-3) signed linebacker James-Michael Johnson to the active roster. Johnson has appeared in 43 career games, spending time with Cleveland (2012), Kansas City (2013-14) and Tampa Bay (2015). The Jaguars play at the Buccaneers (1-3) on Sunday.

Linder has been Jacksonville's best lineman, starting 15 games as a rookie last season. Third-round draft pick A.J. Cann is expected to replace Linder in the starting lineup.

Linder is the latest in a growing list of injuries for the Jaguars, who are without first-round draft pick Dante Fowler Jr., tight end Julius Thomas, defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks and receiver Marqise Lee.

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Jaguars coaches see bright future for RG Brandon Linder

The Jaguars couldn’t be happier that they traded up to acquire Brandon Linder in the third round of the 2014 draft.

Linder, a South Florida native who played for the University of Miami, started 15 games as a rookie at right guard last season. The sky seems to be the limit for him.

After the players put on shoulder pads Sunday for the first time in camp, Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Linder has exceeded the team’s expectations.

“I would think that he is better than what we thought,” Bradley said. “We knew he was pretty good, but we’re very pleased with him.”

Now that Linder has a year of experience, he will combine with right tackle Jermey Parnell, who signed as a free agent, to solidify the right side of the line. They should help improve a line that gave up 71 sacks last year.

Linder now seems to be a fixture, and it won’t be a surprise if the Jaguars lock him up with a new contract when he becomes eligible after his third season next year.
Bradley said he likes Linder’s toughness and leadership ability.

“He doesn’t have a lot of words, but the guys really follow him,” Bradley said. “I think the guys really respect his work ethic and how he goes about it. I would say that what people would say first of all he’s really good and second of all is his toughness.”

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson also likes what he has seen of Linder.

“He’s got good power,” Olson said of Linder, who added about six pounds in the offseason and now tips the scales at 320 pounds. “He’s one of the more powerful guys we have up front. He and Parnell complement each other very well because of their strength and power. He’s just a real intelligent hard worker. He’s becoming more of a vocal leader, and we like that as well. He did a good job in the offseason, and he’s looked good here these first three days.”

Linder and Parnell seem to have a good rapport in the short time they’ve been playing alongside each other.

“He’s strong, athletic and young, and he can move,” Parnell said.

Parnell said he’s not surprised at how good Linder has looked.

“Some of the guys said in the room that despite how young [23] he is, he’s advanced at what he does,” Parnell said. “I like what I’m seeing.”

Linder said of Parnell, “He’s a great tackle, very explosive and very smart. I’m excited to be able to mesh with him and get going. He’s a very passionate guy who loves football.”

Although Parnell is in his sixth year, Linder has started more games. While Linder had 15 starts last year, Parnell had seven the last three years.

The team’s other guard, veteran Zane Beadles, also is impressed with Linder.

“He’s had a great offseason,” Beadles said. “I think he’s definitely improved. He’s a strong, smart guy and moves well. I expect him to make a big jump this year. He understands the game. I’m so happy for him with the way he’s playing so far and how he’s improved.”

Linder, who loves to hunt and fish, takes advantage in the offseason of being close to South Florida. His routine back home is to work out in the morning and fish in the afternoon. He’s been going out on the water since he able to crawl, and his father took him out on his 19-foot boat. His father would keep him amused by throwing him shrimp and other bait.

“My mom used to wash my clothes, and I’d have a pocket full of dead shrimp,” Linder said.

It wasn’t long before he was fishing himself, and now he’s an experienced fisherman. He has taken Jaguars offensive tackle Josh Wells out on his boat, and they got caught in a storm one time.

“It was crazy weather. It was rough,” Linder said. “We just rode it out and made it back to land safely.”

He also likes to free dive, going down 15 to 40 feet, holding his breath without air tanks and spearing fish. He’s had some close encounters with bull sharks.

“You keep an eye on them and eventually get out of the water if it gets too hairy,” Linder said.

After staring down sharks, taking on a defensive lineman can just be a day at the beach.

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Brandon Linder Building

Habitat for Humanity Jacksonville, known as HabiJax, presented homes to 27 new homeowners in a Friday afternoon ceremony at Milne Auditorium on the Edward Waters College campus.

The Jaguars teamed up with EverBank to assist in the sponsorship of the new homes, including Jaguars players and front office staff volunteering time and labor to assist in the new construction.

“We came out and we were actually able to help build with HabiJax, and it was awesome,” Jaguars second-year right guard Brandon Linder said. “You got into it after a while, that was what was pretty fun about it.”

Linder attended the dedication along with offensive linemen Tyler Shatley, Josh Wells and Austin Pasztor.

“For our home this year, in lieu of using forklifts and heavy equipment, we just used these four guys right here,” Jaguars senior vice president of corporate partnerships Scott Massey said during the dedication ceremony, pointing to the four Jaguars offensive linemen in the front row. “These are the guys that don’t just bring a lot of brawn, but a lot of heart as well.”

Massey added that finishing a HabiJax project that helps the community is just as big as a win on game day.

“We often talk about the wins and losses at EverBank Field are important, the wins especially, but the wins in the community – this is a real win when we can build a home together for the deserving folks here,” Massey said.

“Partnering with the Jaguars, this is our fourth year of building homes together for deserving Jacksonville families and it’s been a great partnership,” EverBank CEO Rob Clements said during the ceremony. “We certainly appreciate the opportunities we have to work with the Jaguars and the partners in many ways.

“Jacksonville is our hometown, and we want to do everything we can to help the city thrive, and helping to build these homes is a real investment in the community.”

Each homeowner had to qualify in a number of categories to become an owner of a HabiJax home, including physical labor on the building of the house. Each had to work over 300 sweat-equity hours on their future home to assist volunteers.

“I like that they actually had to put work in, and it wasn’t just given,” Linder said. “They earned it, and that’s pretty cool.”

Other HabiJax home sponsors included Anheuser-Busch/InBev, Brumos Automotive, Chase, Coastal Construction Products, Florida Rock and Tank Lines and Woodsman Kitchens and Floors.

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Jags won't move Brandon Linder to RT

The Jaguars do not see RG Brandon Linder as an option to solve their right tackle opening.

Linder played some right tackle in college, but was outstanding as a rookie guard and the Jags understandably don't want to break his momentum. Solving right tackle will be Jacksonville's biggest offensive priority for 2015. LT Luke Joeckel, LG Zane Beadles, C Luke Bowanko, and RG Linder are locked in.

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Brandon Linder Deserves Praise

Cleveland Browns guard second-round pick Joel Bitonio and Dallas Cowboys first-round choice Zack Martin were two of the most impressive rookies at any position last season, but the Jacksonville Jaguars also had an excellent rookie performance out of one of their guards in Miami Hurricanes product Brandon Linder.

A third-round pick, Linder has been one of the unsung rookies of an excellent 2014 NFL Draft class, as the Jaguars starting right guard has shown that he is already one of the team’s most valuable players. A solid pass protector who shows a real mean streak in the running game, Linder jumped on my radar as a potential draft sleeper after he did a stellar job of handling St. Louis Rams DT Aaron Donald, who is a prime Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate after being a huge impact player on an elite defensive line in his first season.

Linder’s offensive line in Jacksonville will never earn the adjective “elite”- let alone “good”- after causing rookie Blake Bortles to be the NFL’s most-sacked quarterback (55), but it’s possible that their guard duo could earn that label in the future. The Jaguars main addition to their offensive line wasn’t the drafting of Linder, as the signing of former Denver Broncos Pro Bowl guard Zane Beadles to a five-year, $30 million deal was one of Jaguars GM David Caldwell‘s biggest moves of the offseason.

Beadles and Linder were seventh and ninth in pass blocking efficiency, respectively, and they did it despite playing with a well below-average guard duo. Luke Bowanko and Jacques McClendon didn’t exactly provide any cover in between those two guards either, so the Jaguars positive play on the line was largely restricted to their two guards. Per PFF, Luke Joeckel caused Bortles to be hit 15 times last season, so left guard Beadles seemed to have the most work cut out for him.

To wit, Linder allowed five sacks last season, which is as much as Charlie Johnson and Davin Joseph, which clearly doesn’t look good at face value. But if we use pressure to evaluate him, Linder allowed Bortles to face pressure just 15 times, and that’s well below the two veterans mentioned above, who both allowed more than 30 pressure each. Just seven guards allowed less overall pressure than Linder, though he did log less than 100 snaps in pass pro than Beadles, who is likely the better pass blocker overall, especially since he’s been good for more than just one season.

Even though offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is no longer with the team, he did bring one player with him from Miami who will have a lasting impact with the Jaguars organization. Well, maybe he’ll leave for free agency after his rookie contract, but I have a feeling he’ll be so good that the Jaguars will do what they can to keep him. Beadles is the more expensive and experienced hand at guard, but Linder is already a significantly better run blocker at 6’6″ and with a violent motor reminiscent of a stud DT lining up across from him.

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Focus on the future: Brandon Linder

JACKSONVILLE – Brandon Linder wouldn’t say he was thrilled with his season.

The Jaguars’ offensive guard also is quick to tell you he has a lot of work to do – and a long way to go –before he could get close to being happy with himself as an NFL player.

But as a rookie this past season he did accomplish a few things:

He established himself as an NFL player. He showed himself he could play professional football.

And he got a decent handle on where he needs to improve and how to approach the NFL on a game-by-game, week-by-week basis.

And Linder said all in all that made this season a pretty good start.

“The big thing was I wanted to come in, take it day by day, make a routine and not look too far ahead,” Linder said recently. “I think that’s the big thing, that you don’t overwhelm yourself – and that’s the advice I got from the vets.

“That’s the big thing, creating a routine, taking it day by day and doing what you do every day.”

Linder didn’t use that approach to just “get through” a rookie season.

He used it to take over the Jaguars’ starting right guard position, and to play well enough there to establish himself as one of the team’s better offensive linemen and a potential long-term starter on the interior of the offensive line.

Linder, a third-round selection from the University of Miami, may have been the Jaguars’ best offensive lineman this season. And if he wasn’t the best, he was in the conversation.

“We were pretty pleased with getting him out of the draft, but I didn’t realize he’d be this consistent and the toughness that he brings,” Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said when discussing Linder late in the 2014 season.

Bradley said not only was Linder consistent – particularly for a rookie – he quickly established a presence in the team’s offensive line room.

The Jaguars’ line – and indeed the entire offense – was young this season. Linder was among four rookies or second-year players to start much of the season on the line, and the Jaguars also started three rookie wide receivers, a second-year running back and a rookie quarterback a significant portion of the season.

Within that young environment, Bradley said Linder exhibited maturity.

“He’s a guy I think they all look to and can feel his leadership,” Bradley said. “I think he’ll be a really strong leader in that room for years to come. I think he’s learning it now, but just how he’s handled himself … I’m really, really pleased with his progress.”

Linder, after working with the backups early in the offseason and sharing time with veteran Jacques McClendon at right guard in organized team activities, moved into the starting lineup in preseason and started 15 of 16 games. He missed one game – the team’s loss to Dallas at Wembley Stadium in London in Week 10 – with a shoulder injury.

He also performed as consistently as any member of the Jaguars’ line, earning a 16.6 grade from Pro Football Focus. That made him the Jaguars’ highest-ranked offensive player by the website, and he graded out with eight positive games and three negatives.

Linder said one “obvious” objective in the offseason is the same facing most of the offensive line: to get bigger and stronger. He said he will be in the weight room soon – after a brief break for hunting and fishing.

“Now, I know what to expect and what to train for at this level now,” he said. “I’m excited to elevate my offseason training, and specifically train for what I need to do.”

And Linder said, yes, he showed himself as a rookie that he can play effectively at the NFL level – but as far as the future … well, in a very real sense he must continue approaching his career in the only way he knows how.

“I don’t look too far ahead, but it’s something where now that I’ve played a year, I do say, ‘I can do this,’” he said. “Now, the question is, ‘How do I get better? How do I strive to get better? How do I elevate my game?’ Of course at the beginning you’re wondering if you can play and wondering what’s going to happen and what it’s all about. It’s the unexpected.

“Now, I know what to expect and I know what I can do better, so I’m looking forward to that even more.”

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Brandon Linder Candidate for All Rookie Team

The 2014 rendition of the Jacksonville Jaguars had a very distinct theme – youth. They started and played the most rookies of any team in the NFL by a significant margin. The Jaguars were rife with inexperience on the offensive side of the ball especially, where 2/5th of the offensive line were mid-to-late round rookies (Brandon Linder and Luke Bowanko), and the left tackle (Luke Joeckel) was a 2nd year player with only 4 games under his belt. The offense was run by a rookie quarterback (Blake Bortles), and his primary skill position players were 3 rookie wide receivers (Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Marqise Lee) and a 2nd year running back making the conversion from college quarterback (Denard Robinson).

With so many rookies making big contributions, there should be a few guys who are candidates for the all rookie team. Ben Natan over at With the First Pick put together his own all rookie team, and he put two Jaguars on the 2nd team.

Second Team: Brandon Linder (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Second Team: Telvin Smith (Jacksonville Jaguars)

It would be nice to see some Jaguars on the first team, but it’s hard to argue their candidacy of the guys who did make it. Zack Martin and Joel Bitonio were the first team guards (Martin was actually voted on the first team All Pro squad), and the first team linebackers were Chris Borland, Anthony Barr, and CJ Mosley. The case could be made for Telvin to go ahead of someone like Anthony Barr, but he started pretty slow this season before coming on at the end of the year.

One thing to note is the wide receiver position, which was absolutely loaded this season. Sammy Watkins, the first receiver taken in the draft, didn’t make the first or second team. With Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, and Jarvis Landry all as viable candidates, it’s easy to see why none of the Jacksonville receivers got a sniff of the all rookie team.

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Brandon Linder makes PFF Pro Bowl Roster

The Jacksonville Jaguars are slowly building their roster. They've started rookies at 13 of 22 positions on offense and defense, and as such don't have a lot of players in the national spotlight. With the exception of Sen'Derrick Marks, they might not have a Pro Bowl selection this year.

But according to Pro Football Focus, one young offensive lineman for the Jaguars is having an incredibly good season.

Brandon Linder is the lone Jaguars player on Pro Football Focus' Pro Bowl Roster for 2014. According to their ratings, he's the sixth-best guard out of players who have been in on at least 75% of their respective team's snaps. His pass-blocking, according to PFF, is his strength as he's earned an overall grade of 10.3 this season, fourth-best in the league.

Breakdown: No change here from our earlier Pro Bowl cheat sheet. Yanda has been superb all year in arguably his finest season as a Pro, being one half of a tremendous tandem in Baltimore. As for the three rookies making the list, that just goes to show it’s not just the wide receivers who look like a special group from the 2014 draft class.

Linder is certainly deserving of some recognition, but what about Sen'Derrick Marks? According to PFF's own ratings, he's the fifth-best defensive tackle in the league.

Their reason for not including him, and other interior linemen who may have been deserving, is that they wanted to take some of the guys balloted as defensive ends and slot them there, given how they're used as interior defenders.

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Brandon Linder is success story on offensive line

One position the Jaguars won’t be looking to address when the offseason begins next month is right guard.

The decision to trade up 12 spots — dealing Nos. 105 and 179 to New England — to draft Brandon Linder 93rd overall has worked out.

Sure, the Jaguars have allowed an NFL-worst 54 sacks entering Sunday’s game at Baltimore, but Linder drew praise this week for his progress.

“He’s probably made the greatest strides [among the linemen],” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. “He’s just really strong in there — really stout and has really good poise.”

Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch agreed and added: “His jump from Year One to Year Two will be great as well.”

Linder’s speed-bumps were allowing 2 1/2 sacks against Washington in Week 2 and two sacks against Tennessee in Week 6.

He has only one enforced penalty in 733 snaps.

“He’s got a lunchbox mentality. He comes to work every day ready to work,” said Fisch, who was with Linder for two years at Miami. “He’s what you want in an offensive lineman in terms of toughness. There was never a doubt in college that he was going to be a workhorse. There was never a doubt he was going to take every rep.”

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Brandon Linder expected to start

Jacksonville Jaguars OG Brandon Linder probably will start at center or right guard this season, according to head coach Gus Bradley. C Mike Brewster likely will start at center if Linder starts at guard, while OG Jacques McClendon likely would start at right guard if Linder wins the center job.

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Brandon Linder getting center snaps

An interesting development the last two days at Jaguars camp has been rookie Brandon Linder getting snaps at center, including with the second team Tuesday.

Throughout the first three weeks of camp, Mike Brewster, Jacques McClendon, Luke Bowanko and Matt Stankiewitch have taken the center reps. Patrick Lewis played the position in college.

So why Linder now?

The Jaguars, naturally, are downplaying it.

“He did a nice job [Monday] – it’s new [for him],” coach Gus Bradley said. “You may see him in there some at the center spot. When? That’s what we’ll decide tonight.”

I asked offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch this morning if center is a three-man race between Brewster, McClendon and Linder.

Fisch said: “We talked [last week] about the interior line and how we’re trying to figure out which two of the three we’re going to play. It’s still the same discussion.”

Kinda, sorta.

Last week, the discussion was Brewster playing center and Linder/McClendon playing right guard.

This week, the discussion has changed.

I asked Bradley if the Linder-working-at-center deal is the Jaguars’ acknowledgement they have a problem at center three-plus weeks before the opener.

“No,” said Bradley, who added, “The challenge for us is, ‘OK, we have to keep continuity.’ But, yet, we have to find out what the best combination is. … But Brewster has really done a nice job this week. I think that he’ll play good against Chicago.”

Some thoughts at what could be happening:

*The Jaguars intend to start Linder at right guard and Brewster at center, BUT like another player (maybe Drew Nowak) at guard more than they like McClendon. In this roster math, they would keep Nowak as a reserve guard and make sure Linder is able to move over to center if called upon.

*Brewster has experience at guard (left side) and the Jaguars could be thinking about moving him to right guard and Linder to center. A long shot theory.

*They don’t think Bowanko is even close to being ready to play and  might try to stash him on the practice squad.

*The Jaguars are going to give Linder a crash course at center to get him ready for Week 1. This would be the panic button.

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Brandon Linder getting work with Jaguars first team

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been trying to figure out what to do with their starting offensive line, primarily at the center and right guard position. The team picked Brandon Linder out of Miami (FL) in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft and he's been thrust into a competition for the starting right guard position.

"He got a lot of reps on the first team. Jacques [McClendon] did too, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley told reporters after Monday Night's practice at Bartram Trails High School.

"We got some other guys in there too. Marcel [Jensen] was in there with the ones. I told you that's our plan: try to get Chris Smith in there with the first group as an LEO end. So we're going to get those young guys in there and give them opportunities. Linder got quite a few."

As mentioned, the real battle on the Jaguars offensive line will be at the starting center and right guard spots, with the latter appearing to be a battle between Linder and McClendon. McClendon joined the Jaguars last season off waivers and was bounced on and off the active roster seemingly weekly.

"It's going back and forth. You'll see Jacques play guard and maybe some center," Bradley said, when asked if Linder had an edge with the first team. "You'll see him move around a little bit just to see the best match-ups or to see the best guys in there."

The starting position isn't likely to be cemented until sometime in the preseason, as I'm sure the Jaguars will give both players some time with the starting unit.

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Can Brandon Linder win the job at right guard?

Can Brandon Linder win the job at right guard? That's what he was drafted to do, but veteran Jacques McClendon was the leader at that spot after OTAs and minicamp. He's a fourth-year player who has played in nine career games and is entering his second season in Jedd Fisch's offense. That's an advantage that should help McClendon hold the lead early. Linder is a bulldog with a great work ethic, but he needs some refining and also needs to become more explosive off the ball. This will be one of the training camp battles to watch.

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Brandon Linder expected to man right guard for Jags

The Florida Times Union expects third-round rookie Brandon Linder to open the season as the Jaguars' starting right guard.

"The Jaguars drafted Linder to start right away," writes beat reporter Ryan O'Halloran. Linder finished spring practices as Jacksonville's first-team right guard, passing Jacques McClendon on the depth chart. Linder is the better talent. He and RT Austin Pasztor will make up the right side of the Jags' line.

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Jaguars Brandon Linder signs 4-year rookie contract worth $2.7M

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –  Rookie guard Brandon Linder, a third-round draft pick from Miami, has signed a four-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Linder signed the deal Monday. It's worth a little more than $2.7 million and includes a signing bonus around $530,000.

With Linder under contract, the Jaguars have three remaining rookies unsigned: quarterback Blake Bortles (first-round pick) and second-round receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson.

Linder was a four-year starter for the Hurricanes. The Jaguars drafted him to compete for a starting job at right guard along with Jacques McClendon and Drew Nowak.

Linder is part of the team's offensive line overhaul, which included signing left guard Zane Beadles in free agency and finding a replacement for retired center Brad Meester.

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Brandon Linder Will Be a Starter, Just a Matter of Time

“The question isn’t whether he’s going to play or not but when. It’s just a question of when his time is going to be. He’s going to be a great player. He’s definitely got the tools and the mind-set. He’s a great guy,” McClendon said.

The Jaguars traded up in the third round to take Linder to be their right guard of the future after Uche Nwaneri was released in March.

Linder wasn’t simply handled the job. He’s in a friendly competition with McClendon, who originally entered the league in 2010 as a fourth-round pick of the Colts.

The Jaguars are McClendon’s fifth team, although he’s played in only nine NFL regular-season games and spent a lot of time on practice squads.

The players are in a close competition that coach Gus Bradley said won’t be decided until training camp.

“It will be an intriguing competition,” he said.

When Bradley was asked if McClendon has the edge because he’s got more experience, Bradley said, “I would say that’s to his advantage with his experience, but I wouldn’t say one of them has the edge over the other.”

McClendon is mentoring Linder even as they fighting for the same starting job.

“My job is to be somebody he can look up to and ask questions to,” McClendon said. “My job is to help this team win in every way possible. If that’s as a starter, it’s as a starter. If that’s as a backup, it’s as a backup. If you think about what is going on behind the scenes or upstairs, you kind of get out of your game.”

Linder comes in with a good resume. He was a four-year starter at the University of Miami, starting 42 games, 37 of them at right guard. He also played for current Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch for two years and is familiar with the offense and the zone-blocking scheme.

Linder is a 6-5, 311-pounder. McClendon is 6-3 and 324.

Bradley said McClendon is good at the gap scheme because of his mass, and Linder has the athleticism for the zone schemes.

Linder said he’s not thinking about a battle for the starting job.

“For me, it’s just about trying to get better every day and do my best and kind of watching what the vets do,” Linder said.

Linder said McClendon has been helping him adjust to the pros.

“He’s helping me with the plays and my technique and showing me how it’s done with him being a veteran,” Linder said.

Center Mike Brewster, who plays alongside the right guard, said he’s only worked with McClendon so far because McClendon has been getting the snaps wit the first unit.

“I haven’t had a chance to play next to Linder, but it seems like he’s coming along really well and knows his stuff. Jacques is really reliable, a great guy and a great teammate. And he’s getting a chance to focus on the guard spot instead of flipping back between guard and center. And he’s helping to bring him [Linder] along, which says a lot about Jacques,” Brewster said.

McClendon grew up in Tennessee playing basketball until the eighth or ninth grade before he started playing football because of his size. After his sophomore year, when he started getting interest from the colleges, he dropped basketball and played football full time.

He decided to play at the University of Tennessee because it was a 45-minute drive from his hometown of Cleveland, Tenn. At Tennessee, he started 26 of 49 games at right guard, including 13 as a senior.

The Colts drafted him in the fourth round and cut him, and he started the long trek to the Jaguars. He played in four games as a rookie and was waived at the end of the 2011 camp. Detroit claimed him and waived him a month later and put him on the practice squad. He was waived by the Lions at the end of camp in 2012 and spent a couple of weeks on Pittsburgh’s practice squad before he was waived. The Falcons signed him to their practice squad. That’s where Jaguars general manager David Caldwell got to know him. And when the Falcons waived McClendon, the Jaguars claimed him. He played in five games and started two.

“He’s a very, very hard worker, and he’s very intelligent. He’s got good strength and very good initial quickness. He’s a pro, and he’s getting better,” Caldwell said.

Despite all the bouncing around, McClendon has nothing but positive things to say about his career.

“It’s given me a lot of things people wish they had. I’m living a dream, and I’m very thankful for it,” he said.

McClendon loves playing for the Jaguars.

“It’s an awesome place, and we’re all blessed to be in this locker room just because there aren’t many locker rooms like this,” he said.

That probably explains why McClendon’s emphasis isn’t on starting but staying on the team.

“What I want to do every day is make sure I’m good enough to stay in the locker room,” he said. “So I’ll just stay on top of my p’s and q’s and attack every day as a new day and give it my best.”

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Two More NFL proCanes Sign As Free Agents

David Gilbert and Luther Robinson – signed NFL contracts Monday.

Gilbert signed a contract with the Tennessee Titans where he will play outside linebacker, which is moving to a “hybrid” 3-4 defense. Gilbert had tried out for the Titans last week, as did AJ Highsmith who was not signed.

Luther Robinson signed a rookie deal with the Green Bay Packers, where he is listed as a defensive end.

Here is the full list of NFL proCane Rookies and where they have signed.

RG Brandon Linder: drafted 3rd round, 93rd overall by Jacksonville
P Pat O’Donnell: drafted 6th round, 191st overall by Chicago
OT Seantrel Henderson: drafted 7th round, 237th overall by Buffalo
QB Stephen Morris: signed with Jacksonville
WR Allen Hurns: signed with Jacksonville
Basketball player Erik Swoope: signed with Indianapolis to play TE
TE Asante Cleveland: signed with San Francisco
OG/C Jared Wheeler: signed with Carolina
FB Maurice Hagens: signed with Atlanta
DT Justin Renfrow: signed with Arizona
LB Jimmy Gaines: signed with Buffalo
S A.J. Highsmith: had Tennessee tryout, but was not signed, will workout with San Francisco
S Kacy Rodgers II: will try out with Kansas City this weekend
LB Tyrone Cornelius: will try out with Washington this weekend
DT Curtis Porter: signed with Oakland
DE Shayon Green: signed with Miami

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Examining draft pick Brandon Linder

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Taking a deeper look at each of the Jacksonville Jaguars' nine draft picks:

Guard Brandon Linder

Round drafted (pick): Third (No. 93 overall).

Height and weight: 6-feet-6, 311 pounds.

Stat(s) to know: Miami credited Linder with 10 touchdown-resulting blocks in 2012. … He led the ‘Canes with 84 knockdown blocks and 11 touchdown-resulting blocks in 2013. … He started 42 of the 49 games he played at Miami (37 at right guard, two at left guard, and three at center). … He did 30 bench press reps of 225 pounds at the combine.

Where he fits: The belief was that the Jaguars drafted him to become the starter at right guard and that was reinforced when the team released Will Rackley, who had started 11 games at the spot last season. The interior of the offensive line was a weakness last season and the Jaguars addressed left guard in free agency by signing Zane Beadles. Mike Brewster is the favorite to win the job at center and the addition of Linder completes the rebuild.

Concern(s): Though he's strong, nasty and tough, Linder is not exceptionally athletic. One scouting report says there's a concern with how effective he can be at cutting off linebackers when he's on the move. If he doesn't win the starting spot the Jaguars will struggle at the spot.

Rookie projection: Linder is smart and durable and should win the starting job at right guard and play every snap in 2014.

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Brandon Linder likely to start for Jaguars

Jaguars third-round G/T Brandon Linder is expected to be given a real opportunity to start as a rookie.

The Jaguars traded back into the third round with the Patriots to take Linder with the 93rd overall pick. He made 42 career starts in college on the right side of the line and has some nastiness to his game. We expect Linder to win the right-guard job and be flanked by C Mike Brewster and RT Austin Pasztor.

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3 NFL proCanes Drafted, 11 Sign Free Agent Contracts

Three NFL proCanes were drafted this past weekend during the NFL Draft, while 11 other proCanes signed Free Agent Contracts.

3rd Round, 93rd pick overall: Brandon Linder, Jacksonville Jaguars.
6th Round, 191st pick overall: Pat O’Donnell, Chicago Bears
7th Round, 237th pick overall: Seantrel Henderson, Buffalo Bills

Free Agent Signings:

Stephen Morris, Jacksonville Jaguars
Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars
Maurice Hagens, Atlanta Falcons
Jared Wheeler, Carolina Panthers
Justin Renfrow, Arizona Cardinals
Shayon Green, Miami Dolphins
Jimmy Gaines, Buffalo Bills
AJ Highsmith, San Francisco 49ers
Curtis Porter, Oakland Raiders
Asante Cleveland, San Francisco 49ers
Erik Swoope, Indianapolis Colts

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Brandon Linder To Be Drafted Before Seantrel Henderson?

Couple notes in the aftermath of Seantrel Henderson’s positive marijuana test at the NFL Combine: One departing UM senior said even beyond the marijuana use, it was disappointing that Henderson allowed himself to get out of shape before the draft… Some analysts now won't be surprised if Brandon Linder ends up being drafted before Henderson….

A UM official said the program tightened loopholes in its drug-testing program last season, reducing the chance of players obtaining “clear” urine tests from friends. A person involved in the UM program said the change has reduced marijuana use on the team but did not eradicate it.

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Scouts Impressed With Brandon Linder

Scouts like Linder as a late-round pick. “He’s smart enough to be a guard/center swing guy, and a lot of guys can’t do that,” the scout said. “He was very impressive at his Pro Day.” Said’s Tony Pauline: “Miami coaches have been raving about Linder's character and his grade is rising.”

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Brandon Linder Awaits His Fate As NFL Draft Nears

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hometown boy, Brandon Linder, is looking to make it to the NFL.

Brandon, a former University of Miami offensive lineman, loves the outdoors as much as he loves the football field.

With the NFL draft less than a month away, Brandon is getting ready for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Brandon at the annual draft will hear his name called—where he ends up is anybody’s guess and, to be honest, Brandon just wants to play football.

“This something that–ever since I was a pee wee in football–this has been a dream of mine. Ever since high school and college, it started ‘hey I can do something with this, I can make this my career and this is something that I want to do,” said Linder.

Linder, who is expected to go anywhere from the third to the fifth round, spends hours a day preparing for his next big step. But despite his dedication to football, Brandon always finds time for his other passions; bow hunting, diving and fishing whenever he gets the chance to use his custom UM rod and reel.

“You know I work out five days a week, it’s like seven in the morning to like noon, so like in the afternoon I can sneak out and get a little trip and even if I’m driving around here fishing the lakes, fishing for a peacock bass, that’s something that satisfies me,” Bradon said.

What the South Florida native can’t escape from is the wait, the wait to see what the next chapter in his life holds.

Whether it’s in Green Bay, Seattle, Kansas City, or maybe right here in Miami in his hometown with the Dolphins.

“I’ve been born and raised here, you know it would be something cool to be being a hometown kid, going to high school and college here, I think that would be awesome. But again, it’s really not up to me and I’m grateful for any opportunity that I do get”

Whether it’s dodging alligators in the everglades or avoiding sharks off the Bahamas, Brandon knows that those adventures will pale in comparison to the challenges he is about to face in the NFL.

“Now that I’ve transitioned about learningicon1 about the NFL and all that stuff, I feel like it’s a big gap , that I can’t wait to start learning all this new stuff that I would have to be learning”

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Full Pro Day Results

Eighteen UM seniors auditioned, plus former Canes players Aldarius Johnson, Davon Johnson, Vaughn Telemaque and Dyron Dye (who was tossed off the UM team last season because of his connection to the NCAA investigation, landed at Bethune Cookman and then received permission to work out Thursday).
Ray-Ray Armstrong, now with the St. Louis Rams, attended Thursday to offer emotional support for Dye, his former teammate at UM and Sanford Seminole High.

Richard Gordon, Kenny Phillips, Antrel Rolle and Micanor Regis were among other former Canes observing.  

ProDay 2014 Results

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Dolphins To Audition Several Future proCanes

The Dolphins will audition several UM players --- including offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, quarterback Stephen Morris, receiver Allen Hurns, d-tackle Curtis Porter and guard Brandon Linder --- next week. FIU defensive tackle Isame Faciane is among other local players invited to that Dolphins workout.

Ten of the players also have been invited to dinner with Dolphins position coaches the night before, including Henderson and UM tight end Asante Cleveland. Henderson, by the way, also has been invited to visit the Steelers and Vikings.

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FIVE Future proCanes Invited to the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine

Five Miami Hurricanes have accepted invitations to participate at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, while will be held Feb. 22-25 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The four-day combine will be televised live on NFL Network.

QB Stephen Morris, OG Brandon Linder, OT Seantrel Henderson, WR Allen Hurns and P Pat O'Donnell will be among the more than 300 prospects evaluated by all 32 NFL teams. Linder, Henderson and O’Donnell will work out on Feb. 22, while Morris and Hurns will work out Feb. 23.

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