I never thought I would use a comment by Gus Bradley a few years ago to write a story about today’s Jacksonville Jaguars. There are few holes on this roster. Players are fighting for roster spots to build depth. There are a few roster spots left to fill. As Bradley used to say, having solid depth is a good thing.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver unit, there may be four players fighting for one roster spot as depth has already been established, and rounding out the unit may be one of the best camp battles of this training camp and offseason.
Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark all figure to be locks to make this team as part of the 53-man roster. Who fills the final spot – which gives the Jaguars six pass catchers – is a burning question.
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Because Chark was drafted and can help the team in the return game, how does that affect Jaydon Mickens, who was electric in the return game for the majority of last season? Fourth-year pro, Rashad Greene spent last season on injured reserve and has an uphill battle to climb. He must have a huge camp and show he is still an effective player on punt returns and as a possession receiver.
Iowa State’s Allen Lazard is an undrafted free agent who figures to get a long look from the coaching staff. Wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell figures to have a long camp ahead of him with some difficult decisions to make.
Mickens, when given the chance to play last season, did show he could be a threat in the open field. He figures to be the early leader in the clubhouse of “bubble” players. Lazard is the guy many are talking about, including Sayre Bedinger of NFL Mocks.
"“What Lazard (6-foot-5, 222 pounds) lacks in short area quickness, he makes up for with long speed (4.55 at his size is solid) and excellent leaping ability and catch radius,” he explained."
Many fans, including myself, were concerned with the events of the offseason that saw a playmaker in Allen Robinson and a gritty performer in Allen Hurns find new homes this offseason. It appears now there may be too many wide receivers and not enough balls to go around.
That’s a good thing and proves Bradley’s words about depth to be prophetic. This is a team that will rely heavily on the ground game this season, but having the right combination of pass catchers will be important if the Jaguars use the passing game more than last season.
Regardless of solid depth at the position, the battle for the final spots on this roster may well come down to who has the most reliable hands of the remaining candidates on the training camp roster.