Which Receiver Will Fill Hole Left By Cecil Shorts?


The Jacksonville Jaguars have been looking for weapons in the passing game ever since the departure of Jimmy Smith – a former Jaguars receiver with one of the strongest cases for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Several failed draft picks over the last decade have hurt the Jaguars and led to some pretty dismal offenses since the turn of the new millennium.

One of the few pass catchers who has panned out to some extent in recent years is Cecil Shorts III, who left in free agency this year to join the division rival Houston Texans. Probably the only redeeming draft selection by former general manager Gene Smith, Shorts seemed primed to elevate as a number 1 receiver after a breakout year in 2012, but injuries have hampered his production ever since.

Despite the Jaguars incorporating 3 rookies into their receiver rotation in 2014, Shorts was still a big part of the offense. In fact, Shorts departure leaves a huge hole in the passing game, as he accounted for 28% of the targets in 2014 according to Michael Fabiano of NFL.com:

"12. Jacksonville Jaguars (28 percent): You might be surprised to know that Shorts had 110 targets for the Jaguars last season. That should now be portioned out among sleeper Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns. Robinson is the player to go after out of this trio, though."

As the only experienced receiver last year, it’s not surprising to see that Shorts garnered so many targets. His absence now opens up even more opportunities for the young stable of receivers at Blake Bortles disposal. As Fabiano mentions, Allen Robinson appears to be the most likely candidate to take a huge step forward. Before his rookie year was cut short due to a foot injury, Robinson was becoming Bortles’ go to target, amassing 48 receptions in 10 games, despite missing a big chunk of the offseason.

With Shorts out of the picture, everyone needs to step up however, not just Robinson.

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