- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2003

As the hours ticked away and name after name flashed across his television screen, Taylor Jacobs had to wonder if someone were playing a cruel joke on him.
Jacobs, after all, had been given every indication he would be selected midway through the first round of yesterday's NFL Draft. Or, at worst, late in the opening round.
So when he picked up his phone shortly after 6 last night, with the first round having ended long ago, the former Florida receiver was understandably in a sour mood.
Then he heard a familiar voice on the other end of the line: Steve Spurrier. It didn't take long for Jacobs' frown to turn upside down.
"It seems like it was meant to be," Jacobs said. "This was always a dream of mine, to play for Coach Spurrier again. It feels like I'm coming back home, to be honest with you."
It's safe to say the Washington Redskins were shocked to find Jacobs still available when their first pick of the draft No.44 overall finally came up. The club's surprise at its good fortune, though, paled in comparison with Jacobs' astonishment after he wasn't drafted in the first round.
Nearly every draft prognosticator had tabbed Jacobs as the third-best prospect in a talented pool of receivers, behind only Charles Rogers and Andre Johnson (who went second and third overall). But here it was, more than five hours later, and the only other receiver taken had been Penn State's Bryant Johnson at No.17.
"You can imagine a young man thinking he's going to go in the middle of the first round or better, and then all of a sudden he's there at the 12th pick of the second round," Spurrier said. "So he was a little bit down. But he'll bounce back up. I think he will certainly prove to people that he can play like a first-rounder."
A 6-foot, 205-pound native of Tallahassee, Fla., Jacobs is regarded by some as the best receiver to come out of Florida during Spurrier's 12-year tenure with the Gators. Given the program's well-documented history of NFL flops, that statement may not carry much weight.
But if you believe those who know him best, Jacobs who caught 71 passes for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns last season has all the tools necessary to become a quality pro receiver.
"He's a very good player, a good person and has a wonderful attitude," Spurrier said. "He practices hard, trains as well as any receiver I think we've ever had here. He'll fit right in with the group here."
Actually, Jacobs' familiarity with Spurrier's offensive system should give him a distinct advantage in training camp. Where most rookie receivers would need to spend a good amount of time simply familiarizing themselves with their new playbook, Jacobs figures to enjoy a comfort level from the first day he sets foot inside Redskin Park.
"It'll certainly help," Spurrier said of Jacobs' familiarity with his system. "But Taylor knows nothing's going to be given to him. He's going to have to earn his way here, just like everyone else."
Nobody's going to expect Jacobs to unseat Laveranues Coles or Rod Gardner in Washington's starting lineup, but he very well could be slotted in as the club's No.3 receiver ahead of veterans Patrick Johnson, Darnerien McCants and Cliff Russell.
"I'm not really the one to make that decision," Jacobs said. "But I think I have the ability to come in and make some things happen. Hopefully, I will get the chance."

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