The Jaguars wide receiver group has been a massive disappointment in 2019. Inconsistency from the quarterback position hasn't helped the Jaguars young receivers, but they're still not good enough to have a high level passing attack. This should not come as a huge surprise. Without Marqise Lee, who was lost prior to the start of the regular season with a knee injury, the Jaguars had ZERO proven receivers on their roster. And boy, has it shown. The Jaguars receivers have been able to get open with regularity, but there's no guarantee that they'll actually catch the ball when it gets to them. The Jags lead the NFL in drops by a wide margin.
Donte Moncrief was signed to a one year prove it type deal this offseason and has proven something: he's consistently inconsistent and not worth the nearly $10 million per year that the Jaguars are paying him.
Keelan Cole, who many believed would emerge as the Jaguars best receiving threat, has gone into a shell and isn't even getting on the field with regularity. After a nice start to the season his play has fallen off dramatically.
DJ Chark, a 2018 second round pick, was expected to take time to develop into a true NFL starting receiver, but that is still the expectation for the young speedster. His combination of size and speed should end up paying dividends in the long run. On special teams he's been an absolute dynamo, especially on kick/punt coverage.
Dede Westbrook has been the Jaguars most reliable receiver in 2018. He's shown that he has the ability to be a steady contributor in several roles in a high functioning passing offense. He's hauled in 40 of 62 targets this year and has been asked to do a variety of things for this offense, almost all of which he has succeeded in doing at a high level. Westbrook has also been impressive as a punt returner.
Of the players mentioned here only three should feel comfortable with their job security moving into 2019.
Marqise Lee is the Jaguars most effective outside receiver — even after a 2017 campaign in which he was among the league leaders in drops — and is financially tied to the team through the 2019 season. The Jaguars owe the young man too much money to part ways with him this offseason and they aren't likely to get any good trade value from him with such a high cap number.
Dede Westbrook should also feel comfortable. He provides versatility as a receiver, being able to be effective in the short passing game, on screens, and further down the field. He's also an asset as a punt returner.
And finally, DJ Chark has no chance of not being a Jaguar in 2019. As a 2018 second round pick Chark will get every opportunity to show what he can do. He's progressed throughout the season and a big jump in reliability and production should be expected next season.
But while Chark, Westbrook, and Lee should all expect to have jobs in Jacksonville next year, none of them should be guaranteed a ton of snaps. They should have to earn that. And the Jaguars brass should make it tough on them to do so.
How can they do that?
Draft at least one receiver with their first two picks in draft and add a legitimate veteran in free agency. The Jaguars receiver position, for most of the team's history, hasn't exactly been dynamic. The Jaguars must bring in as much competition at WR as they possibly can, which may leave current receivers Donte Moncrief and Keelan Cole on the outside looking in. With the way the NFL is trending the Jaguars will need a more competitive group of receivers to compete at the highest level.
Randall Cobb, Golden Tate and John Brown are scheduled to be free agents next year. There will be a bevy of other players that have had productive seasons in the NFL available as well, including Cole Beasley, Quincy Enunwa, Jermaine Kearse and more. The Jaguars should look to secure one of the top names in the free agency class.
When it comes to the draft the receiver position is loaded with talent. If the Jaguars want to address it in the first or second round they could have a litany of options that includes speedsters and big bodied receivers alike. Marquise Brown, N'Keal Harry, Collin Johnson, and AJ Brown are some guys to keep your eye on as the College Football season winds down.
There are some pieces in place with Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark, but make no mistake about it: The Jaguars need to get much, much more talented at the receiver position to be competitive in today's NFL.
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