Jaguars wide receiver corps is not getting much love (like in 2022)

• The Jaguars' WR corps isn't getting much love from PFF. They experienced something similar in 2022.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) runs during an organized team activity Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at EverBank Stadium’s Miller Electric Center in Jacksonville, Fla.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) runs during an organized team activity Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at EverBank Stadium’s Miller Electric Center in Jacksonville, Fla. / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

The Jacksonville Jaguars made upgrades to the wide receiver corps in the offseason. They let Calvin Ridley walk in free agency and later released Zay Jones but drafted Brian Thomas Jr. and signed Gabe Davis to take their respective place. Thomas and Davis will join a group that includes Christian Kirk, who posted a 1,000-yard season in 2022. But as improved as the unit looks, Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus isn't overly impressed.

Sikkema ranked all 32 wide receiver units in the NFL and placed Jacksonville at No. 25, arguing that Thomas and Davis may have the impact they're expected to make in 2024.

"Although they signed Gabe Davis, the Jaguars lost Calvin Ridley, which is likely a net negative. Rookie first-round pick Brian Thomas Jr. could really raise the ceiling of this group, but asking him to be the team's top receiver in Year 1 is a tall order. Tight end Evan Engram led the team in receiving grade last year, but it was just a 73.2 mark."

At least Sikkema included Evan Engram, who's an important piece of the Jaguars' passing game. However, he's not a receiver, and it's a bit puzzling that he omitted Kirk. After all, he was leading the team in catches before he suffered a core injury with four games left in the season. Even then, the former Texas A&M product finished with a respectable 57 receptions for 787 yards with three touchdowns.

Kirk is now healthy and is looking to prove he's still the same player he was before he went down. Having established himself as one of Trevor Lawrence's favorite targets, he should once again have a big workload. On the other hand, Davis and Thomas will also play pivotal roles.

Gabe Davis and Brian Thomas Jr. are intriguing additions to the Jaguars WR corps

Davis has never crossed the 50-catch mark in a season but that could change in Jacksonville. During his four-year stint with the Buffalo Bills, he averaged 16.7 yards per reception. His ability to create big gains will make him an appealing option for Lawerence.

Thomas, for his part, has the speed to get deep. A first-round pick in this year's draft, he could experience an adjustment period but the Jaguars seem to be pleased with his progress in Organized Team Activities. The former LSU Tiger will give Lawrence a deep threat but will also help Engram and Kirk operate in the middle by drawing coverage away.

If that wasn't enough, both Thomas and Davis had a reception/touchdown rate of 25 and 16.5 percent last season, as the 33rd Team noted. That should help the Jaguars' scoring efficiency go up in 2024.

The Jaguars' 2024 WR unit is remisiscent of its 2022 counterpart

Back in 2022, the Jaguars raised eyebrows after paying a premium for Zay Jones and Christian Kirk in free agency. Some analysts even went as far as saying that Jacksonville would destabilize the receiver market. Criticism faded when both set new career bests for yards and catches in a season. Jacksonville is once again catching flak. This time though, for signing Gave Davis despite his lack of production, and projecting Brian Thomas Jr. to be WR1.

Granted, Kirk is the one true proven commodity in Jacksonville while Davis and Thomas have to prove they can make plays before they get more recognition. That's why ranking the Jaguars' receiver corps at No. 26 is fair. That said, both of them are in a position to thrive in 2024.

Neither Davis nor Thomas will be asked to be the primary option in the passing game. The Jags can also lean on Evan Engram and Christian Kirk, so they won't be under pressure to deliver right off the gate. Of course, Davis and Thomas entered the season with a set of expectations but they should have no trouble living up to them.

In the end, PFF isn't necessarily wrong for ranking the Jaguars' receiver corps so low. However, don't be surprised if they turn heads and make plenty of noise in 2024 with a healthy Trevor Lawrence throwing passes to them.

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