After making the boldest move of the 2014 NFL Draft by selecting quarterback Blake Bortles with the 3rd overall pick, general manager David Caldwell went “all in” on his franchise quarterback by selecting two receivers to grow with him in the second round. Although selected first, Marqise Lee was overshadowed by fellow rookie receivers Allen Robinson and undrafted free agent Allen Hurns in 2014. Injuries and effort were issues during his rookie year, but expectations remain high for the superstar out of USC.
Heading into his sophomore season, things aren’t starting off on the best foot as Lee missed the entirety of the OTAs and minicamp because of a knee injury. Lee has supposedly not fully recovered from that knee injury and will likely be limited during training camp.
"“My understanding is that he’ll be ready to go [next week]… But we have to manage him a little bit to make sure he’s OK in term so his health.”– Jaguars wide receiver coach Jerry Sullivan"
Allen Robinson has flashed during the practices so far the offseason and he seems poised to make a leap in his second season. It’s hard to build up the same level of excitement for Lee when he isn’t going to be on the field consistently during practice. There’s reason to believe Lee will get better in year 2, but missing practice time is not ideal for a young receiver who struggled with routine plays as a rookie.
It’s clear that Lee needs to improve in 2015, but the question is how much does he need to produce to quiet his detractors. It’s unlikely Lee will end up as the Jags’ top receiver, but he needs to become a vital part of the offense and act as the field-stretcher this team needs. If not, the pressure will only continue to build for the young pass catcher.
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