The Jaguars, coming off a 5-11 season, desperately need some of their young players to have breakout campaigns in 2019. The front office and coaching staff are in win-now mode, and for that to happen, there is a bevy of players that need to perform at a high level in the upcoming season. There are the obvious guys — Nick Foles, Leonard Fournette, Cam Robinson, and more — but here I'm going to take a look at three players that are more under the radar. If these players can break out in 2019, they could be just what the Jaguars need to find themselves in the playoffs once again.
1. DJ Chark
DJ Chark had a downright awful rookie season. There wasn't a lot of help around him in 2018, but the second round pick was expected to do A LOT more. Chark was a stud on special teams; there are no two ways around that. But his play as a receiver left a lot to be desired. Chark hauled in just 14 catches for 174 yards and no scores. He missed five games with a quad injury in the middle of the season, so he lost a golden opportunity to find success on offense. But Chark is healthy heading into his second year and could be poised for a breakout campaign. He doesn't need to have a Pro Bowl type season to help the Jaguars out. But if he can consistently make the defensive secondary worry about where he is on the field, Chark will do wonders for the Jaguars running game and short passing game. The Jaguars should also work to get him the ball early in 2019 on reverses and short screens, to help build his confidence. The six-foot-four receiver has blazing 4.3 speed and a massive catch radius. John DeFilippo needs to figure out how to use him, and if he does, Chark could be the source of a lot of late nights for defensive coordinators around the league.
2. Jarrod Wilson
During his three seasons in the NFL, Jarrod Wilson has a total of two starts, both of which came in 2018. But when the young safety has gotten the opportunity to get on the field he's played well. Still, moving from a reserve role to starting one is no easy task. When NFL coaches get tape on you, it can become much harder to find success on a weekly basis. But due to salary cap cuts, a starting role at safety has now been thrust upon Wilson. If he can maintain the success that he's found in his brief stints in the starting lineup, the Jaguars safety position will be in good shape. The combo of Wilson and Ronnie Harrison could create one of the more violent safety duos in the league this year. Both have decent range, and both are reliable tacklers. Finding success in coverage will be Wilson's biggest challenge, but if he's up to the task, the Jaguars secondary will thrive.
3. RyQuell Armstead
Yes, this rookie backup needs to be reliable for the Jaguars in 2019. Leonard Fournette has yet to complete a full season as a pro. Part of the reason for that is high usage. That's where rookie fifth-round pick RyQuell Armstead comes in. He's essentially a Leonard Fournette clone. Armstead runs a 4.4 forty and weighs in a 220 pounds. Not only does he need to be able to spell Leonard Fournette at times early on, but he needs to be able to carry the load if and when Fournette goes down with an injury. His college production, combined with his athletic traits, suggests that he should be able to do so. A bonus? Armstead ran out of the gun quite a bit in college, and the Jaguars new QB and offensive coordinator have done quite a bit of that in the past. Over the last two seasons, when Leonard Fournette has gone down with an injury or missed time due to suspension, the Jaguars offense lost its identity. If RyQuell Armstead can make sure that doesn't happen in 2019, it could be the edge the Jaguars need to sustain offensive success.
There are many other players that the Jaguars will rely on to perform in 2019. But if these three players can find success next year, I'd be shocked if the Jaguars aren't contending for a playoff spot, at the very least.
Who do you want to see breakout in 2019? Let us know in the comments below!
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