The Jacksonville Jaguars have been devoid of highly praised individual players over the last several seasons, but this offseason has ushered in a little more national attention for a few players. Defensive Tackle Sen’Derrick Marks and free agent tight end Julius Thomas both appeared on NFL Network’s top 100 list, and the Jaguars have a handful of young players who have a chance of breaking out in 2015.
Still, the Jaguars didn’t have too many strong performers in 2014, and that’s reflected in Matt Miller‘s rankings over at Bleacher Report. After ranking quarterback Blake Bortles and running backs Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson fairly low, Miller tacked the wide receiver rankings.
"99. Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars – 69/100"
"Hands: 29/50; Route Running: 19/25; Speed: 17/20; Starter: 4/5It wasn’t a rookie season to remember for Marqise Lee (6’0”, 192 lbs, 1 season). Inconsistency and injuries limited his explosive play to just a handful of games. Lee needs to develop better technique catching the ball, but his overall ability to run routes and work in space should allow him to develop into a quality receiver for the Jaguars over the long term.90. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars – 73/100Hands: 34/50; Route Running: 18/25; Speed: 17/20; Starter: 4/5Allen Hurns (6’1”, 195 lbs, 1 season) proved to be a very impressive undrafted free agent for the Jacksonville Jaguars during his rookie season. His primary issues came with dropping the ball, with both focus drops and struggling to adjust to inaccurate passes from Blake Bortles. While he was inconsistent catching the ball, his ball skills on the whole offered potential, while his athleticism and route running were relatively impressive."
Given the inconsistent play by rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, it’s not shocking that the rookie pass catchers had a hard time producing consistently. Lee had a host of issues ranging from injuries to immaturity, but he came on strong towards the end of the year. He certainly needs to improve in several areas in 2015, but the raw physical tools are evident.
Allen Hurns is a different case study than Lee, as he had virtually no expectations coming into the season as an undrafted free agent. He somehow snuck himself into the starting lineup in the first week of the season and burst onto the season with two quick touchdown receptions. The rest of Hurns’ season was similar to Lee’s – flashes of brilliance sprinkled in between drops and rookie mistakes. Like Lee, Hurns has some raw tools that intrigue, mainly his ability to adjust to the ball and bail out his quarterback. While his ranking at 90 is fairly low, I wouldn’t be shocked if he climbs this list in 2015.
"37. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville JaguarsIt would be a surprise if Robinson wasn’t the Jaguars’ No. 1 receiving option behind Julius Thomas this season. He still has to develop and establish himself over a greater sample size, however."
"Overall – 84/100"
Miller mentions Robinson should be the second option behind Julius Thomas, but I honestly expect him to get more targets than the free agent tight end acquisition. Robinson started to make a real connection with Bortles near the middle of the season, and that relationship should only blossom with an entire offseason to practice together and get on the same page. Reports out of OTAs suggest Robinson is ready for a big year, and that would be a massive help for a Jacksonville offense that needs a playmaker.
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