Jaguars bolster WR corps with Michael Pittman Jr. in 2020 NFL Draft Do-Over
The Jacksonville Jaguars have put together a dynamic wide receiver corps. With Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, and Zay Jones leading the way, Trevor Lawrence will have no shortage of weapons in 2023. But could the Jags receiving be even better? It might have been if Jacksonville had drafted Michael Pittman Jr. instead of outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson with the 20th overall pick in 2020 as Kristopher Knox suggests.
Knox gave the first round of the 2020 draft a makeover and had the Jags taking a pair of players with picks No. 9 and 20. First, Jacksonville would have gone with Andrew Thomas with the first selection and they would have later chosen Pittman. Knox points out that Pittman has been "a steady if unspectacular receiver for the Indianapolis Colts but he thinks he would have given the Jaguars a consistent presence at wide receiver over the last three years.
"In his three seasons, Pittman has caught 227 passes for 2,510 yards with 11 touchdowns. He has remained consistent despite having a different starting quarterback every single year. Drafting him here would have eventually given Lawrence an incredible receiving corps consisting of Pittman, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Evan Engram, and Calvin Ridley. "
Right off the bat, Pittman flashed potential as a rookie, hauling in 40 receptions for 505 yards with one touchdown. He had an even better sophomore campaign, catching 88 passes for 1,082 yards with six touchdowns. Although the former USC Trojan failed to cross the 1,000-yard receiving mark last year, he's proven he can be a good WR2 despite the revolving door at quarterback in Indy.
Meanwhile, K'Lavon Chaisson, the 20th overall pick in the 2020 draft, hasn't been much of a factor in Jacksonville, tallying just 24 total pressures over the last three years. In a not-so-shocking turn of events, the Jaguars' brass declined to exercise the fifth-year option on Chaisson's rookie deal, so there's a chance the player known as Swiper might be playing somewhere else in 2024.
K'Lavon Chaisson exemplifies the Jaguars during the Dave Caldwell years
Although K'Lavon Chaisson still has time to put it all together. After all, some players need more time than others to reach their potential in the NFL. Having said that, the former LSU Tiger hasn't done enough to make you think that will be the case.
It's true that the Jags have undergone significant turnover since they drafted Chaisson and having to learn three different systems hasn't done him any favors. On the other hand, the best players transcend scheme and Chaisson has failed to impress even though he had a clean slate with Urban Meyer and later with Doug Pederson.
Had the Jags gone with Michael Pittman instead of Chaisson, they would have gotten a pretty good No. 2 opposite DJ Chark Jr., the team's top receiving option at the time. Furthermore, the Jags would have probably taken other players instead of Laviska Shenault Jr. if they had gone with Pittman in the first round.
Shenault flashed in his rookie season but failed to make a leap in 2021. With the arrival of Christian Kirk and Zay Jones the following offseason, Viska became expendable and was traded to the Carolina Panthers.
Looking back, it's fair to wonder if Pittman would have had a similar career path to that of Shenault if he had landed in Jacksonville instead of their division foes. Then again, the Jaguars would have surely loved to get the kind of production Pittman has had in Indianapolis.
Chaisson has a bit of time left to live up to his draft billing but it's fair to say that Pittman would have been a better pick at No. 20 in 2020.