Bryan Walters, wide receiver/returner for the Seattle Seahawks, has just agreed to join the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Walters, who is known more for his returns than his play at wide receiver, will be coming to improve a return game that was less than inspiring in Jacksonville last season. Ace Sanders will now have plenty of competition to prove that he deserves to stay with the team returning kicks and punts.
He’ll also have competition on the receiving end.
Per John Oehser, Bryan Walters doesn’t just want to return kicks and punts for the Jags:
"“I’m known as a punt returner, but I see myself being a solid slot receiver in this league and being able to be more versatile,” – Bryan Walters at Everbank Field post-signing"
While I’m excited to have another returner with the team, if Walters believes he can be a slot receiver and be good for the Jaguars, then we should also consider him as such.
At six feet flat and 190 pounds, Walters could be a big threat in the slot for Blake Bortles to take advantage of. If he wasn’t getting serious looks from a defense that is too obsessed with Julius Thomas, then it would be easy to toss it near him and see what he does with it.
He’ll just have to prove that he is reliable. In ten targets last season, he caught six and dropped one, per Pro Football Focus. That’s an incredibly small sample size and we don’t want to be too hasty to judge, but he’ll have to prove that he can be reliable if he wants Blake Bortles and company to feature him in the offense, especially with players like Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, and Allen Hurns developing on solid rookie campaigns in year two.
We won’t overlook his return abilities, either. Primarily a punt returner (just two kicks returned for an average of 21.5 yards), Walters had 25 returns last season with an average of 7.4 yards. That’s only slightly better than Ace Sanders’ 7.3 yard average which wasn’t quite what the Jags were looking for last season. He didn’t wow with a long of just 21 yards either.
At this point, we’re left wondering if the Jags are serious about making him a bigger part of the passing game of if they’re just bringing him in to compete with Sanders as a return man. It’s hard to think of him as more than just a guy at this point.