Marqise Lee is a former Biletnikoff Award winner as the best receiver in college football. The USC standout went from a first round lock to a second round steal when he landed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2014 NFL Draft. Despite his slide, he was expected to be an impact player for the Jaguars in his first season.
Instead, he found himself struggling behind fellow rookies Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson. Lee finished the season with just 422 yards and one touchdown, behind three other receivers on the Jaguars’ pecking order.
2014 wasn’t the season the Jaguars or Lee had hoped for. As we gear up for 2015 – hopefully with some progress both for the receiver and the team – wide receiver coach Jerry Sullivan has taken some of the blame for Lee’s lackluster first season saying, “”Well, some of it was our fault. We gave him too much too soon.”
That’s never something you want to hear from a prominent member of the coaching staff who was apparently unable to gauge how much a young player could handle and overloaded him. It’s also not a supportive statement of Marqise Lee’s ability to handle an NFL workload whether mental or physical (he also struggled with injuries during his first season).
While Lee was a disappointment in 2014, expect him to be much improved going forward, regardless of whether the Jaguars throw everything at him or not. Lee managed a much more impressive second half of the season (despite a weaker overall passing attack) with four of the final six games seeing him go for over 50 yards. He caught three or more passes in five of those six games.
The opportunity for growth with the Jaguars is big for Lee and with the departure of veteran Cecil Shorts III he is expected to step up and be a bigger part of the young receiving trio along with Hurns and Robinson. I believe that we’ll see a much stronger season from Lee, especially with one more offseason to get things down and prepare his body for the grueling 2015 NFL season.
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