The 2015 NFL Draft is under wraps and the Jacksonville Jaguars have 8 new players to show for it. Unfortunately, first round pick Dante Fowler Jr. will be sitting out the 2015 season with an unfortunate knee injury sustained during rookie mini-camp, but the Jaguars still have 7 new players who could contribute in 2015.
Over the past 2 seasons, draft selections came in with an almost guaranteed roster spot. In fact, most draft picks in 2013 and 2014 had a clear path to the starting job. Thanks to sound drafting and quality free agent acquisitions, general manager David Caldwell finally has the roster in a respectable enough state that rookies need to come in and actually earn roster spots.
Consequently, in this series we’ll analyze each draft selection and see how the positional depth chart shakes out with their addition.
While there were some grumblings that the Jaguars were interested in Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper with the 3rd overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the team ultimately went with Dante Fowler Jr. out of Florida. The case for Cooper was somewhat sound as the Jaguars pursued veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb in free agency, but there was little sense in adding yet another young receiver to a group with little-to-no experience.
The Jaguars decided to invest a little less heavily in the position by drafting Rashad Greene out of Florida State in the fifth round. So where does he fit in the current group of pass catchers? Here’s the depth chart from 2014 along with stats and grades from Pro Football Focus.
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Dec 18, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars receiverMarqise Lee
(11) carries the ball on a 34-yard reception in the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field. The Jaguars defeated the Titans 21-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
After letting Cecil Shorts walk away in free agency to the division-rival Houston Texans, the Jaguars have a dearth of experience at wide receiver. Ace Sanders is the longest tenured receiver heading into his third season, and his roster spot is definitely not guaranteed heading into 2015.
Of all the rookie receivers in 2014, Allen Robinson was by far the most encouraging. Despite an injury early in the offseason that limited his snaps in training camp, Robinson eventually became Blake Bortles‘ go-to target in the passing game. Before being placed on injured reserve in week 10 with a foot fracture, Robinson was on pace to have the best season by a rookie receiver in franchise history. He is the unquestioned number 1 guy heading into 2015.
Allen Hurns had good production, especially as an undrafted free agent, but he likely was overburdened in 2014. He had a lot of drops throughout the season, but he balanced those out with some spectacular plays.
In year 2, I expect Marqise Lee to take on a much bigger role. He started to flash more big play ability towards the end of 2014, and an entire offseason with the offense and his quarterback should help him produce more.
The top 3 guys appear to be set, but the 4th spot on the depth chart is where Rashad Greene starts to get in the mix. Ace Sanders had a decent rookie year as a receiver, but he was drafted primarily to be a dynamic return man. Quite frankly, Sanders has not returned on that investment. With very little behind him and Greene on the depth chart, Sanders should still make the team, but I think Greene takes over as the main slot receiver.
2015 Wide Receiver depth chart
- Allen Robinson
- Marqise Lee
- Allen Hurns
- Rashad Greene
- Ace Sanders
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