Wide receiver Christian Kirk never reach the 1,000-yard mark as a member of the Arizona Cardinals but he crossed it in his first season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In fact, Kirk went on to post career numbers and was one the best receivers in the league, which is why it was odd to see Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus give him a low spot near the cellar of his ranking.
Monson ranked the top 32 receivers in the NFL ahead of the 2023 season and Kirk popped up at No. 31 despite the fact that he hauled in 84 receptions for 1,108 yards with eight touchdowns. As former NFL player/turned analyst Clay Harbor noted, the former Texas A&M Aggie was 14th in receiving yards and 13 in receiving touchdowns, so his place in the ranking didn't make much sense.
While many of the receivers in the ranking are deserving of their place, Kirk should have gotten a higher spot. Somewhere in the mid 10s would have made sense. Kirk took noticed of his conspicuous low spot and called PFF out for it.
A second-round pick by the Cards in 2017, Kirk signed a four-year deal worth $72 million with the Jags last offseason. General manager Trent Baalke was criticized for giving him a top-market contract despite the fact that he had never tallied 1,000 yards in a season or more than six touchdowns. Moreover, there were questions about his ability to be a No. 1 receiver but Kirk quickly put all questions to rest, hauling in 18 receptions for 267 yards in the first three games of the 2022 season.
One year after joining the Jags, Kirk is now focused on becoming more of a vocal leader in the receiver room, "Kind of take the reins along with Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones, just being the older guys in our room, bringing up the young guys with us because we go as a group", Kirk told J.P. Shadrick of the team's official website.
Calvin Ridley could make Christian Kirk and the Jaguars passing game even better
The Jaguars added Calvin Ridley to their wide receiver corps and although he's going to eat up some of Kirk's and Zay Jones' targets in 2023, his presence is also going to help them face more favorable matchups, which in turn should increase their production.
Regarding the addition of Ridley to the receiver corps, Ridley told Shadrick that he's making everyone better.
"He's been great. The great part is he's a very high-energy guy. He's a sponge, for a guy who is very crafty and very good at his craft one of the better receivers in the league. He's always learning and I think that's a really refreshing part. Me, Zay, all the other guys, we hit ideas off of one another because route running is an art; we're learning from him or he's learning from us. And that's a very respectable part about him", Kirk said.
Although Trevor Lawrence and Ridley have the potential to be one of the best QR/WR, Kirk will also get his fair share of targets. The same is true for Jones, who might not get 1,000 receiving yards in 2023 but could get really close.
The Jacksonville Jaguars should have no trouble putting points on the scoreboard next season and if Kirk once again puts up good numbers, it will be hard for PFF to justify giving him such a low spot in their ranking.