Despite their current record and what has been a somewhat disappointing first half of the season, there is clear progress being made by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and nowhere is that more evident than on the offensive side of the ball.
After spending a majority of the draft picks in 2014 on offense, general manager David Caldwell has managed to put together a young and promising set of weapons around 2nd year quarterback Blake Bortles. The most encouraging development has been the emergence of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns as legitimate playmaking wide receivers. The Allens are both in the top 6 of yards per reception (17.7 and 17.6), numbers that are even more impressive when you consider no player with more than 35 catches is even close (T.Y. Hilton is averaging 16.3 on 43 receptions).
The Allens have produced enough to start getting peoples’ attention, including the advanced metrics gurus over at Pro Football Focus. In a recent ranking of all the wide receiving corps in the NFL, they put the Jaguars at number 2:
"2. Jacksonville Jaguars (Average WR grade: 84.0)Allen Robinson (86.1), Allen Hurns (85.4), and Bryan Walters (80.5)Plays with three WRs: 54.3 percentAverage age: 24.3Maybe a bit surprising at No. 2, the Jaguars receiving group has impressed in 2015 and looks set up for the future, with the youthful Robinson and Hurns leading the way. Even the journeyman, but still relatively young, Walters has played well in the slot, catching 24 of his 28 targets (85.7 percent, tied No. 1 in the NFL) with zero drops. Through eight games, Robinson and Hurns have combined for 76 catches and 1,342 yards, with 12 TDs. Neither is afraid of going deep, either, as they are ninth and 16th, respectively, in the percentage of their targets being over 20 yards, with Hurns tied for the league lead with three touchdowns on those deep targets.Standout stats:– Outside Arizona, Jacksonville is the only other team with all three ranked among the top 30 WRs.– Hurns is seventh, Walters is eighth in QB rating when targeted."
This is absolutely phenomenal when you consider where the Jaguars were only a year or two ago. After wasting multiple first round picks on duds like Reggie Williams and Matt Jones, the Jaguars found at least 2 of their foundational pieces in the passing game in one offseason.
Bryan Walters shouldn’t go unnoticed, as he’s been extremely effective in the slot and played well overall. The fact that Marqise Lee and Rashad Greene have barely been on the field this season makes it hard to contain the excitement burgeoning around this offense.