Who Will Take Over The Slot?

Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson are the two receivers who have undoubtably received the nod as the starting receivers this past season, but who will take over the slot?

 

Mike Thomas is one of the receivers who will have to battle it out for the slot position this season. While Thomas led the Jaguars in receptions this past season as well as accounting for 820 yards the year before, there is speculation from Mark Long of the Associated Press that Thomas’ days are numbered. Paul Kuharsky has mentioned that Thomas may have given up in frustration during last season’s demoralizing offensive campaign. I don’t believe the Jags will give up on Thomas, as his size and speed would better suit the slot position. He also has a much better receivers coach in Jerry Sullivan as well as more talent around him in Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson. Yet nipping at his heels will be second year receiver Cecil Shorts III and Veteran Lee Evans.

Shorts caught 2 balls this past season for 30 yards and a touchdown. Shorts will have to beat out Thomas and Evans for the slot position as Blackmon and Robinson are all but entrenched at the first and second positions. Shorts attended Mount Union, the same school as Pierre Garcon of the Redskins. He broke Garcon’s records, and was hyped to be a similar player. This season he will have a real battle on his hands to see the field. On one hand, the receiver who caught the Hail Mary pass who has shown he can be productive. On the other hand, he also has Lee Evans, a former Buffalo Bill, who played for new Head Coach Mike Mularkey.

Lee Evans was known for two things last season. First for being injured, and second (and perhaps more so) for having a potential touchdown winning grab being knocked loose by Patriots defensive back Sterling Moore. Evans has slipped in production since 2008, but hopes to rebound for the Jaguars. I’m not sure how much Evans can contribute, but i wouldn’t say he’s exactly limited due to age. I’d like to compare the Evans signing to the Torry Holt signing of years past. I think he’ll be a lead by example kind of guy, but I don’t think he’ll rack up any where near the 722 yards like Holt did in 2009.

Who do you think will take over the slot? One of these three players or someone else?

-Antonio Furgiuele

Topics: Buffalo Bills, Cecil Shots III, Jacksonville Jaguars, Justin Blackmon, Laurent Robinson, Lee Evans, Mark Long, Mike Mularkey, Mike Thomas, New England Patriots, Pierre Garcon, Sterling Moore, Torry Holt, Washington Redskins

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  • KeenanJ

    From what I’ve heard about Mularkey’s offense, I’m not expecting there to really be a designated slot receiver. I think every receiver will play out of the slot at some point, when the coaches see an opportunity to exploit a matchup, which the offense is said to be predicated upon. I’m expecting there to be a lot of rotations going on in-game, so guys like Evans and Shorts will get their chances and some of the them could very well be on the outside, instead of regulating them solely to the slot. I’m looking forward to seeing how the receivers retained are used and with us as fans being uncertain on how the offense is ultimately going to look, this conversation merits a discussion. So, to answer your question: Who will take over the slot? My prediction is: no one will.

  • http://www.blackandteal.com/ LukeNSims

    Well done as always Antonio.  I think that Mike Thomas has the best chance of being that receiver based on his demonstrated success at the position before.  If Mr. KeenanJ below me is correct about not having a designated slot receiver, then I wouldn’t be shocked to see Blackmon put in there when needed and one of the bigger newer guys taking an outside spot (if Chastin West is still around, it wouldn’t shock me to see him play a couple snaps at one of the other spots).
     
    But as a true slot receiver, I really can’t see anyone overlooking Thomas too much.  No matter how he looks at OTAs (apparently quite bad), OTAs are about learning not about evaluating.  So I expect a bit more effort  come training camp.