The Jacksonville Jaguars knew they needed to put Trevor Lawrence in a position to succeed for the 2022 NFL season, so they got him several weapons, including Christian Kirk, who is set to be their No. 1 receiver in 2022. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes Kirk could be the Jags’ X-Factor this upcoming season.
Knox recently drew up a list of X-Factors, one for each NFL team, and Kirk made the cut. He points out that the wide receiver is slated to “be the focal point of the offense” but wonders if he will be able to live up to the contract he signed in free agency and build on his productive 2021 campaign.
"Last season, he set career highs in receptions (77) and receiving yards (982) while catching five touchdowns. He also provided a quarterback rating of 112.2 when targeted. That production, of course, came in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and with Kyler Murray at quarterback in Arizona.If Kirk can be as effective with Lawrence and offensive coordinator Press Taylor, Jacksonville will be happy with its investment. He has the making of a quarterback-friendly slot specialist who will help get the most out of Lawrence in the quarterback’s pivotal second season."
The Jaguars earned a lot of criticism for giving Kirk a four-year deal worth $72 million earlier this year. It’s true that the former Texas A&M Aggie has never had a 1,000-yard season but he showed last year that he could step into a featured role when DeAndre Hopkins became unavailable for seven games. Jacksonville now expects him to pick up where he left off last year and he’s up to a good start.
Christian Kirk will become the top target in the Jaguars passing game
Despite the fact that Kirk’s contract was far from a bargain, other wideouts have gone on to sign even richer deals, so you could make the case that the Jags were ahead of the trend. It’s also worth noting that the 2018 second-round pick has been as good as advertised, showing out in training camp and developing a solid connection with Trevor Lawrence.
While the second-year quarterback will most likely spread the ball, there’s a good chance he will favor Kirk. Against the Cleveland Browns, Lawrence targeted Zay Jones four times and Travis Etienne three but it’s worth noting that Kirk sat out the game after rolling his ankle early in the week.
Kirk was back at practice Monday and made a few impressive catches, per John Shipley of Jaguar Report. Moreover, he’s slated to suit up against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 of the preseason. Doug Pederson told the media that the starters will get an extended look, so Kirk could see a big workload early on.
The Jaguars had a hard time moving the ball and scoring points last season but that will no longer be an issue if Kirk becomes the playmaker they expect him to be.