The release of Ace Sanders was only 18 days ago and when it occurred some fans were surprised that the team decided to part ways with the young receiver. Ace Sanders had even received praise from head coach Gus Bradley for the work that he put in during OTA’s. The release of Ace Sanders now makes a lot more sense with the NFL suspending him 10 games for violating the substance policy for the second time, according to ESPN.
This is now the second time in the last two seasons that Sanders had been suspended, he sat out the first four games of last season after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. With this suspension being brought to light, its fair to wonder if this is the sole reason behind the release of Ace Sanders.
The suspension certainly played apart in the release but I personally believe there were many more factors that lead to the release of Sanders. First off, Ace Sanders was drafted by the Jaguars to compete at the slot receiver position and to return punts. Sanders wasn’t able to succeed in either of those categories as he averaged only 7.1 yards on 32 punt returns last season. Granted that is a slight step up from his 5.6 yards per punt return in his rookie season but it’s still nowhere close to where the Jaguars wanted it to be.
However, he did show flashes of his talent in his rookie season. He saw a lot more playing time than expected at the receiver position due to injuries and he made the most of his time, finishing the season with 51 catches for 484 yards and a touchdown. He was unable to show improvement in his second season only registering six catches for 55 yards.
His suspension made it very difficult for him to build chemistry with young quarterback Blake Bortles and he wasn’t able to display the big play ability that he showcased in college. The big question for Sanders is, what’s next? He went unclaimed through waivers after the Jaguars released him and this suspension has to severely hurt his chances of playing at the professional level again. I admit, I thought Ace Sanders would finally make an impact in 2015 but the Jaguars had a different plan in mind. With a flurry of young talented receivers on the Jaguars roster, there wasn’t much room for a troublesome wide out who hasn’t been productive anyway.
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