Of course Allen Hurns was mad.
Hurns thought he would be selected somewhere in the middle of May’s NFL Draft after finishing his senior season at the University of Miami with the school’s single-season receiving record (1,162 yards). But as he sat at home and watched the three-day event, he saw 33 other wide receivers get drafted instead of him.
He grew upset as the sixth round went on, but hoped nobody picked him in the seventh and final round. Going undrafted would mean he could choose which team he would play for, and that might mean reconnecting with former UM offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, now the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville.
After the draft, Hurns received offers from other teams, including Dallas and Houston, but signed with the Jaguars. He knew the offense there, and he had noticed that their roster was lacking in established veterans at the position, increasing his chances of making the team.
Going undrafted motivated Hurns, and it allowed him to select the perfect place for him to channel his frustration.
And choosing Jacksonville turned out to be an even better decision than Hurns could know. Second-round pick Allen Robinson and Cecil Shorts III have been sidelined with leg injuries, while Ace Sanders has been absent from camp and is suspended for the first four games of the season. That has meant more opportunities for Hurns, and he has taken advantage.
Through the first three exhibition games, Hurns has 13 catches for 250 yards and a touchdown.
“It’s unfortunate the injuries we had at wide receiver, but because of that, it creates opportunity,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley told the media earlier in training camp. “Allen Hurns got reps with the ones, and you saw him go against our corners and he caught our eye, and now he’s really catching our eye.”
Hurns said other players have come to him during camp to ask about the playbook, and added that his experience with the scheme has helped him be more versatile.
“At any time, I could play all three [wide receiver] positions because I was in Coach Fisch’s offense,” he said. “I feel like coming in knowing the playbook takes a lot of pressure off.”
Hurns survived the first round of required cuts Tuesday, as Jacksonville released receivers Lamaar Thomas, Ramses Barden and Kenny Shaw to get down to 75 players as the NFL requires. All teams must announce their final 53-man roster by 4 p.m. on Saturday.