The Jaguars' offense was shaken up in a MASSIVE way on Monday. The Jaguars waived Leonard Fournette, who had been the heartbeat of the Jaguars' offense for the last three seasons. With the void in touches created by Fournette's departure, I got to thinking: who will lead the Jaguars in touches earlier on in the season, specifically in week one when they take on the divisional rival, Indianapolis Colts?
The most established player in the Jaguars' offense is DJ Chark, and he very well could lead the team in touches if he gets fed the ball against the Colts. I expect Chark to be even more heavily featured in the Jaguars' offense than he was in 2019, but even in his biggest performance of last season, he didn't get more than nine touches in a single game.
Among the other Jaguars' receivers, the only one that seems like a possible candidate to get close to double-digit touches is Laviska Shenault, but it's unclear how much the Jaguars will feed the versatile playmaker early on his rookie season.
Jacksonville's tight end will undoubtedly play a major role in Jay Gruden's offense in 2020, but I'm not expecting either Tyler Eifert or James O'Shaughnessy to get more than 5-6 touches a game.
This leads me to the Jaguars' running backs. Ryquell Armstead seems like the leader in the clubhouse to get the most rushes on the season, but he hasn't been able to get on the practice field this summer due to various nagging injuries and illness. Devine Ozigbo may lead the team in rushing attempts early on in the season, and he's been impressive in camp coming off a rookie season in which he didn't get much playing time.
But I think the most likely player to lead the Jaguars in touches in week one, and perhaps over the first month or so of the season, is running back Chris Thompson. The veteran has only been in Jacksonville for about four months, but with his experience in Jay Gruden's offense, and the versatility he provides, he seems like the guy who will get the most touches early on for this young Jaguars' offense. The Colts allowed the fourth-most receptions to opposing running backs in 2019, so this was really an easy choice for me. Thompson excels at catching passes out the backfield and should be a mismatch against just about every linebacker in the league today. It remains to be seen how much he'll actually carry the football, but with such uncertainty surrounding the Jaguars' backfield, he's the one player that makes sense to slot in as the early touch leader for Jax.
If the Jaguars are somehow able to take the lead early on against the Colts, I'd look for Devine Ozigbo to receive the most work, that is, unless Ryquell Armstead can get back on the field soon and prove he's ready to take the bulk of the work.
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