This past year was quite possibly the most pathetic showing of wide receivers in Jaguars history, OK, not possibly, it was. That’s including the years with Matt Jones and Reggie Williams. The wide receivers this year tanked and didn’t show any signs of improvement until the end of the year, which, interestingly enough, coincided with the bye week and the coaching change. The questions that remains are these…
“Who will the Jaguars acquire in Free Agency? Who will the Jaguars draft? Which wide receivers with the Jaguars keep?”
Who will the Jaguars acquire in Free Agency?
This is a question that can’t be easily answered. Thanks to the new CBA, players become unrestricted free agents in four years rather than five. This has made the free agent class huge. My gut feeling tells me that the Jaguars will go after one really high profile wide receiver and will sign one wide receiver near the end of his career or one that is still young and has something to prove. That wide receiver should still be able to play, but he probably only has a couple of years left in his legs. So who could the Jaguars get?
Younger, ascending guys —
- Dwayne Bowe — My fYoung, big and athletic. This guy can actually catch. Tired of being mired in mediocrity, Bowe bolts for money and a fresh start.
- Stevie Johnson — Another ascending talent, Johnson should be on everyone’s radar. The Bills will not retain him, because, who wants to play in Buffalo?
- Desean Jackson — He won’t be a Jaguars, but he is talented. He’s got too much baggage and is a me first kind of player, that and Josh Scobee and Jackson don’t like each other.
- Vincent Jackson — A little older, but produces. He’s tired of the franchise tag and wants a long term deal.
- There are others (Colston, Welker, Manningham, Wallace), but with almost 100% certainty, I can tell you that they probably won’t be available.
Older, Veteran guys or young guy with something to prove…
- Reggie Wayne — for all of the obvious reason
- Eddie Royal — A talented guy who has shown skills in the past but has been derailed due to QB controversy. He’s still young. Needs new scenery.
- Robert Meachem — My odds on favorite for being signed. (The Hof’s too). He’s young, ascending, athletic. He’s been in New Orleans sharing the load for a while and finally decides that he wants to be “the man”.
- Pierre Garcon — Physically talented, but drops some balls.
If GM Gene can do what he did to the defense through free agency to the offense, the Jaguars should be sitting pretty.
Which wide receivers will the Jaguars draft?
This is obviously an impossible question to draft, especially when the decision maker is GM Gene, however, there are prospects that stand out. I tend to think that it is in the Jaguars best interest to trade back multiple times to acquire more picks in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, because there are very few “elite” talents in the draft this year. The 2012 class if very deep at WR and the Jaguars could benefit from drafting later, matching value with need.
- Just Blackmon — An obvious candidate, he would be had at #7, with no trading back. He possesses great YAC ability and good hands. His timed speed is questionable, but if he times in the 4.4’s this would be an obvious pick.
- Michael Floyd — Talented yes, but troubled, I can’t see GM Gene pulling the trigger on Floyd at all. Probably not even on his draft board.
- Alshon Jeffery — Big, physical receiver. He dominated a good CB in his bowl game. However, another guy with speed concerns and also conditioning concerns. The Hof likens him to Reggie Williams. Unfair comparison? Who knows.
- Kendall Wright — Very fast, very talented, a bit slight in the build though at 5’10” 190lbs. Late first rounder.
- Mohamed Sanu — Great ball catcher with speed concerns. Strong, makes his yards through YAC as Rutgers passing offense was sub-par.
Other WR names to keep in mind for later rounds — Reuben Randle, T.Y. Hilton, Brian Quick, Jeff Fuller, Joe Adams, Jarius Wright
Which wide receivers will stick from last year?
I think we can safely assume that very few of the guys will return to the Jaguars roster. Based solely on my gut and a little bit on numbers, I tend to think that only Mike Thomas (new long term deal), Cecil Shorts (raw deal this year) and Jarrett Dillard (best WR at the end of the season) will be the only players remaining on the roster. That means no Robiskie, West, Osgood or any of the other guys.
So what does this mean? I think it’s truly possible that the Jags will bring in 3-4 new wide receivers by the time roster adjustments are all said and done. 1-2 in free agency and 1-2 in the draft. The Jags lack speed and size at WR, so expect those roles to be filled with new acquisitions.