Jags reach agreement with first-round pick Lewis
Working well into the night to strike a deal with their first-rounder, the Jacksonville Jaguars late Wednesday reached an agreement with tight end Marcedes Lewis of UCLA, the 28th overall player selected in the 2006 draft.
Hours earlier, the Jaguars signed Lewis' former UCLA teammate, mighty mite tailback Maurice Drew, to a four-year contract worth about $2.8 million.
The contract for Lewis, who is expected to add vertical dimension to the tight end position and perhaps help compensate for the recent retirement of star wide receiver Jimmy Smith, is for five years and its basic value is about $7.5 million. Details about elements such as the guaranteed money in the contract and any possible escalators that could increase the overall value of the deal were not immediately available.
Lewis, who claimed the prestigious John Mackey Award last year as the top tight end in the country, signed the contract on Friday. The Jaguars report to training camp on Friday and have their first practice the following morning.
Although he doesn't play the same position as Smith, the angular Lewis, who is build much like a basketball forward (6-feet-6¼, 261 pounds) certainly has the ability to split the safeties and get deep into the secondary. His size and speed, in the low 4.8s, makes him a difficult matchup for opponents.
Lewis started in 32 of his 49 appearances for the Bruins and finished his college career with 126 catches for 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Probably the most obvious deficiency in Lewis' game is as a blocker, and he will need considerable work in that area. Also, while he is a technically sound receiver, Lewis often seems to lack innate instincts about where the holes are in a secondary.
Drew, the 60th overall choice in the draft, set a UCLA record with 4,686 career all-purpose yards, despite playing just three seasons. The diminutive Drew (5-feet-6¾, 207 pounds) carried 481 times for 2,503 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also had 64 receptions for 819 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Jaguars will use Drew as a return man, an area where he is especially dangerous, as evidenced by the six touchdowns he scored on punt and kickoff returns. Drew averaged 24.6 yards and 32 kickoff returns and scored twice. On 25 punt runbacks, he averaged 23.2 yards, and had four scores.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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