The Jacksonville Jaguars generally find one or two undrafted free agent contributors every year, and this year the surprise guy could be Allen Lazard.
Of all the losses the Jacksonville Jaguars suffered this offseason, the biggest and most devastating one might be the departure of not one, but two Allens.
Allen Lazard’s availability after the 7th round of the 2018 NFL Draft closed was a surprise to most draft analysts. Lazard holds impressive records for Iowa State University and is by far the most accomplished wide receiver in school history. The Jaguars snatched him up immediately after the draft and it’s easy to see why – he’s a massive human being.
Brent Sobleski over at Bleacher Report went through each team and noted which undrafted free agent had the best chance to make a final opening day roster.
For the Jaguars, it was a fairly easy choice:
"The thing that supposedly prevented wide receiver Allen Lazard from being drafted may be the reason why he can fill a niche as part of the Jacksonville Jaguars roster.“I honestly think that I’m almost too big,” the 6’5″, 227-pound Lazard told the Florida Times-Union‘s Phillip Heilman, “which sounds kind of ridiculous.”The two-time first-team All-Big 12 performer became Iowa State’s all-time leading receiver with 3,360 yards. The big target knows how to run routes and use his body to shield smaller defenders.But he struggled to create separation even at the collegiate level.This is cause for concern if a professional squad wanted Lazard to be its top option. In Jacksonville, the undrafted free agent can serve a specific role as a third-down or red-zone target. Fellow rookie DJ Chark will be the team’s new vertical threat, while Marqise Lee and Keelan Cole work the rest of the field."
Lazard isn’t going to come in an be expected to separate against NFL corners, but he will be expected to win contested balls. The Jaguars desperately need that kind of pass catcher with Allen Robinson now gone and Lazard has a chance to fill a much needed role.
Anything beyond that is gravy, and it’s entirely up to Lazard. He has the size to develop into an elite receiver if he works on his route running and ability to separate.
That being said, we have to remember Lazard is an undrafted free agent – the chances he makes the roster, let alone a big impact, are small. He can do it, if only because there aren’t a lot of proven names in the receiver room, but he’s got an uphill battle, as do all UDFAs.