It’s was no secret the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to upgrade their wide receiving unit this offseason. By re-signing Marqise Lee and adding Donte Moncrief in free agency, it appeared the team had a solid group of pass catchers entering the 2018 season. Adding DJ Chark in the NFL Draft made this group even better.
Could the Jacksonville Jaguars have found a legitimate game changer in Chark, whom they selected in the second round of the NFL Draft in April? The coaching staff has been impressed with what they have seen so far from the former LSU star. If Chark’s play in OTAs and minicamp translates to training camp and the regular season, Jacksonville may have a new star on its roster.
Chark gives the Jaguars something they did not have in the building prior to the Draft – a tall, lanky wide receiver who could create matchup problems for defenders at 6-foot-4 and 198 pounds. His speed is impressive. His ability to catch the football in traffic will make him a target in the red zone. Like the other rookies drafted the last weekend in April, Chark was excited to get the call to come to play in North Florida, to be a part of a team on the rise.
His speed is something he immediately talked about in his phone interview with the local media on the second night of the Draft.
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“That is what I love to do, run. Being able to run by guys and knowing that you have to respect No. 27 [Leonard Fournette] in the back and being out with those other great receivers there and that program,” Chark said via conference call. “I just know that every day I am going to be working against the best DBs in the league. Being able to go over the top and get open, I feel like I am a kid in a candy store right now.”
Fournette and Chark have a history together at LSU and were roommates as freshmen on the Tigers’ football team. It’s one of the things he most looked forward to after getting the word he would be a Jaguar.
Just watching Chark on the practice field you see the ability in his route running and the way he moves down the field. He should be yet another target for quarterback Blake Bortles and this passing offense.
Team general manager Dave Caldwell told the media the night Chark was drafted the team had a first-round grade for him. The team held its breath hoping Chark would be there with the 61st pick, and even tried to trade up to grab it.
Everything worked out for the best. Now, Chark must continue to progress as training camp nears. While there is no doubt he will get considerable playing time this season, Chark could also be an asset in the return game. Where he fits in the rotation on Sundays is still up in the air.
What he does bring to this team is another blocking wide receiver, something he said he takes pride in.
“That is something I take serious. If I have a block, I have to go make it. If I see someone coming down, I am going to get it,” Chark explained. “To be able to make it on the next level, I feel like whoever I am assigned to go get, I am going to go get them. I am going to make sure I open up lanes in the run game and help this team win.”