Jaguars WR Chris Conley is the team’s most underrated weapon in 2020
By David Levin
Will Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Chris Conley have an even bigger role in the team’s offense in 2020?
It’s fair to say that nobody expected Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark to have the breakout season he did in 2019. I think it’s also fair to say fans here in Jacksonville didn’t expect Chris Conley to have the kind of impact he did on the passing game in his first season with the team.
When it was announced that the Jaguars were picking up Conley’s second-year option of his contract, it was the right move not only for the receiver but for this franchise. The veteran who started his career with the Kansas City Chiefs figures to have an even bigger role as Jacksonville’s offense looks to improve under new coordinator Jay Gruden.
Conley was named one of the most underrated offensive weapons in the NFL for the 2020 season by FanSided.com’s Dan Ambrosino.
"“The Jacksonville Jaguars were a pass-heavy team in 2019 despite their quarterback situation,” writes Ambrosino. “While Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew had not been entirely effective during the year, their immense passing volume still allowed the Jaguars to become a top-16 passing offense.”"
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Things should get better this season as the team settles on one quarterback the entire season and the offensive game plan is geared toward one leader on the field.
The Jaguars have three wide receivers – Conley, Chark and Dede Westbrook – who have elite speed to spread the field. They should be used more effectively this coming season. Gruden’s west coast style should spread the field with short and intermediate passes. It should also incorporate more use of the tight end in the red zone and on short passing situations.
Conley’s season was even more impressive given injuries and a crowded receiving unit in Kansas City limited his productivity on the field for four seasons.
"“Conley did surprisingly well despite the quarterback turmoil, catching 47 balls for 775 yards and five touchdowns in 2019,” Ambrosino adds. “His 16.5 yards per reception led all Jaguars receivers and ranked 13th among all wideouts in the NFL.“Conley was a solid route runner and could work the middle of the field with ease. His 4.35 speed, 146.0 burst score, and 10.51 catch radius ranked him in the 98th percentile of all wideouts in the NFL. He has the tools and athleticism to be a dominant receiver and could surpass 1,000 yards next year if given the opportunity.”"
Also, Conley is a big receiver at 6’3″ and can run past defensive backs and reach over the top for 50-50 balls downfield.
Most of the work the 27-year-old did in training camp was with Foles, who is a close friend of from their time together with the Chiefs. Foles was instrumental in helping to bring Conley to Jacksonville, which proved to be a solid under-the-radar free agent move the team made in 2019.
Now, it is Minshew whom the wide receivers will get more time to develop chemistry with this offseason. It could lead to Conley’s biggest season in the NFL.
"“With a full offseason to work with Minshew, Conley could have a breakout season in 2020 just like Chark did in 2019,” Ambrosino wrote."