Jaguars WR Christian Kirk named potential first-time Pro Bowl pick

Wide receiver Christian Kirk has been the target of criticism because of the four-year, $72 million contract he got from the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency. However, he’s also gotten a bit of praise and Kick Shook of NFL Media sees him as a potential Pro Bowl selection this upcoming season.

Shook recently drew up a list of AFC South players, one for each team in the conference, that could make the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2022 and believes Kirk fits the bill. Shook says it’s fair to wonder if the Jags paid a premium for the wide receiver but also believes that the former Texas A&M Aggie filled a need in free agency.

Did the Jaguars overpay for Kirk this offseason? Based on past production, that’s a fair assessment, but they handed over the cash because they expect Kirk to emerge as a primary target for Trevor Lawrence in the quarterback’s second season. This is still a roster in need of additional talent and one that’s relying on a handful of young, unproven hopefuls, so I’m turning to the speedster and hoping Doug Pederson can maximize this pairing. If the front office is going to score a win, it would be by watching Lawrence connect with Kirk often enough to earn him a Pro Bowl nod.

A second-round selection by the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, Kirk amassed a career-high 77 receptions for 982 yards with five touchdowns last year. Before 2021, he had started 30 games but wasn’t as involved in the Cards’ offense as he was last season, when DeAndre Hopkins had to sit out seven games due to a series of injuries.

Jaguars WR Christian Kirk may be a long shot to make the Pro Bowl in 2022

Kirk should be able to put up even better numbers as the Jaguars’ number one receiver. A 1,000-yard season and seven to eight touchdowns seem like a realistic amount in 2022. However, that might not enough to make the Pro Bowl in a conference filled with talented wide receivers.

Last year, Keenan Allen (Los Angeles Chargers), A.J. Brown (Tennessee Titans), Tyreek Hill (Kansas City Chiefs), and Stefon Diggs (Buffalo Bills) represented the AFC in the Pro Bowl. Brown is no longer with the Titans after being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this year. Hill also changed uniforms but he still resides in the same conference.

On the other hand, Davante Adams joined the Las Vegas Raiders, and he’s been one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL over the last few years. If Allen, Hill, Adams, and Diggs play the way they did in 2021, Kirk might have a hard time earning a Pro Bowl designation.

Then again, anything can happen in the NFL. It’s possible that Hill won’t be as productive with Tua Tagovailoa, and not Patrick Mahomes, throwing passes to him. Also, players can get hurt at any time, and if someone has to miss time in 2022 or sees a dropoff in production, Kirk could take their spot in the Pro Bowl.

Kirk would surely like to earn his first Pro Bowl selection in 2022 but it surely isn’t at the top of his priority list ahead of the regular season. As long as he becomes the No. 1 receiver the Jaguars expect, everything else will be icing on the cake.