May 16, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee (11) greets fans before the start of Rookie Minicamp at Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Marqise Lee Must Step Up Against Philadelphia Eagles

Jacksonville Jaguuars wide receiver Marqise Lee is a special talent. He was a predicted first rounder in the 2014 NFL Draft. He’s shown he can burn the defensive secondary in the preseason. He’s shown that he can make plays.

There just seems to be something missing.

All preseason Lee was overshadowed by undrafted rookie Allen Hurns. Hurns, who deserves every bit of praise heaped on him, had a monster preseason. Lee looked comparatively lost amid the vanilla offensive and defensive schemes. He had some quality catches and even managed a pair of touchdowns. Yet, for someone with such high aspirations heading into the draft, I’ve yet to see Lee be a difference maker for the Jags.

I’d like to see that from him against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles are by no measurement a great passing defense so Lee may be able to find a groove in his first official NFL action. He is expected to take a little pressure off of number one wide out Cecil Shorts, but to do that he’ll have to make the defense respect him. Based on the preseason, I doubt that they will enter the game feeling Lee is a point of emphasis.

Michael DiRocco at ESPN has it right that the Jags’ young receivers need to catch on and catch on early. If they don’t manage to prove that they can make an impact on the offense, then the Jags will be forced to give Toby Gerhart 30+ touches a game and rely on Marcedes Lewis underneath.  With three of the Jags’ five receivers coming in as rookies and one of them having missed the preseason and the other an undrafted sensation, Lee needs to show he is the real deal.

The guys over at Pro Football Focus had this to say about Lee:

Regardless of my prediction above, the Jaguars need impact from their young wide receivers and I believe Marqise Lee has the ability and the opportunity to be instantly productive. He’s shown some promise in preseason with a pair of touchdowns but the real business is ahead and whoever is under center they’ll be looking for Lee to add some spark to the receiving corps.

So, what does stepping up look like for Lee?

I’d like to see at least four catches for around 50-90 yards out of him. I’m not saying he has to get in the end zone for this to be a success. I’m not saying he has to get a godly 20 yards per reception. But it would be nice to see him prove that he can be a productive, actively contributing member of this team. The Jags simply cannot afford for him to be completely wiped out like he was once in the preseason.

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