Jaguars must refrain from trading WR Laviska Shenault

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (10) (Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (10) (Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars revamped their wide receiver corps in the offseason and have plenty of depth ahead of training camp. Although they don’t have a clearcut number one yet, they are stacked at the position, which could lead them to trade one of them. One Jaguars wideout that could garner interest around the league is Laviska Shenault Jr.

Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report recently drew up a to-do list for all 32 NFL teams. He believes the Jaguars must settle at center, find out where rookie Travon Walker will play and shop Shenault. The truth is that it’s too early to name a starting center and the coaching staff will let rookie Luke Fortner and veteran Tyler Shatley compete in training camp. Regarding Walker, the Jaguars’ brass already said they envision him as a pass rusher, so that’s two boxes Jacksonville can check off.

The last item on the Sobleski’s offseason list for the Jaguars is placing Shenault on the trade block but that might not be a good idea. Sure, Jacksonville has depth after signing Christian Kirk and Zay Jones this offseason and the former Colorado Buffalo is coming off a year in which he averaged less than 10 yards per reception and didn’t score a single touchdown. On the other hand, he and several Jaguars players might have underperformed under Urban Meyer last season.

As former Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. put it, Meyer promised every player he would maximize them but by the end of the season, he didn’t know of a single player whose potential had been maximized. Shenault was surely one of those affected by Meyer’s inability to lead a team.

Why should the Jaguars stick with Laviska Shenault?

Now, Shenaul can’t simply place all the blame on Meyer’s shoulders. He can and needs to play better in 2022. On the bright side, he’s previously shown flashes of the playmaker he can be when things line up. As a rookie, he reached the end zone five times and displayed a penchant for forcing missed tackles and creating yards of his own. Furthermore, he isn’t a speedster but he can get deep, as he showed in the Jags’ Week 4 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4.

Shenault would have to compete with Zay Jones and maybe even Laquon Treadwell, who returned on a one-year deal, for playing time but the Jags must give him a realistic chance to earn a role in 2022. If the coaching staff decides at the end of training camp that they can move on from Viska, that’s fine. By then, they should have a clear idea of what he can or can’t do and his limitations. If they think at that point that moving on from the 2020 second-round pick is the best course of action, they have to do it.

General manager Trent Baalke has had no qualms about trading players he inherited. Last year, he dealt quarterback Gardner Minshew, cornerback Josiah Scott, linebacker Joe Schobert, cornerback Sidney Jones and tight end Josh Oliver. So it wouldn’t be shocking to see him do the same with Shenault this offseason.

The Jaguars reportedly placed Shenault on the trade block a few months ago, and they might want to do it again but they should give him the chance to compete in training camp before making a decision.

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