Jacksonville’s wide receivers, I think, are the most confusing positional group in the league. Lots of different candidates, and it’s hard to lock in on any one guy with any confidence he’ll even be one of the top 2 on his own team.
Marqise Lee is the most proven, and they re-signed him in the offseason to a four-year deal worth $38 million, with $18 million guaranteed. He was their busiest guy around the goal line last year. But he hasn’t been explosive. He averaged 4 catches for 50 yards in the 14 games he started last year, with 3 TDs.
Donte Moncrief underperformed the last two years in Indianapolis, but the Jaguars were impressed enough with his size (6-2, 222) and speed that they signed him to a one-year deal worth $9.6 million. That’s some serious coin. He worked extensively with the first-unit offense in the first preseason game.
Dede Westbrook slipped to the fourth round last year because of off-field concerns that included him being arrested twice (but not convicted) following domestic violence complaints. He’s also a lean, small guy (6-0, 178). But he’s got some playmaking ability. He had a pair of 100-yard games in the preseason last year (with 2 TDs of 40-plus yards) and he now appears to be more knowledgeable and confident. When the first unit offense played in the preseason opener, it was with Lee, Moncrief and Westbrook on the field.
Keelan Cole sat out the exhibition opener but was a very good deep threat last year, averaging 17.8 yards on his 42 catches. Pretty remarkable for a guy who was a walk-on at Kentucky Wesleyan. He’ll definitely be rotating through.
I was surprised when they drafted DJ Chark in the second round, but they must like him. And multiple articles written by guys watching a lot of the practices suggest they really like the way he’s coming along. John Oehser writes for the team’s website, and he notes that Chark and Westbrook have really been coming along. With his size (6-4, 198) and speed, Chark for now probably will be utilized primarily as a vertical threat. He averaged 21.9 yards on his 40 catches at Louisiana State last year.
So that’s five viable wide receivers, and they’re packed onto a team that last year finished with below-average passing numbers (232 yards per game, with 21 TDs). Will be hard to keep them all happy, and I don’t expect any of them will put up top-30 individual numbers.
Jaguars are deep enough that I’m not even listing their other guys, which includes Rashad Greene and Jaydon Mickens. Mickens caught 2 TDs last year. With him, Greene and Lee, Jacksonville oddly has three wide receivers who have scored on kick returns.