A year ago, all Jacksonville Jaguars fans could do is talk about the “potential” of a receiving corps on the rise. Allen Robinson was coming off a Pro Bowl season. Allen Hurns gained 1,000 yards as an undrafted rookie in 2014. Marqise Lee showed flashes of his top-end speed – when he was healthy.
The Jacksonville Jaguars had one of the best wide receiving units in the NFL. Too bad the 2016 season was more of a letdown than a continuation of hope and acceleration.
A sportsonearth.com story of the 32 wide receiving units in the NFL has the Jacksonville Jaguars ranked 11th overall, first amongst AFC South teams. It may seem a bit low, given Pro Football Focus placed this team fourth overall just 10 months ago.
Kenneth Arthur, author of the piece, does make some valid points – although I still think the ranking is a bit too low.
“They seemed on the verge of having one of the best receiving units in the game, but neither Hurns nor Robinson could manage to catch even half of their targets from Blake Bortles last season. Not to say that’s probably not a Blake Bortles problem, but it doesn’t give us much of a chance to positively evaluate them either. At least Lee came through with his strongest career season.”
Yes, Lee stayed healthy and showed he can be one of the best in the league when he is on the field. Robinson dropped too many passes and looked out of sync with Bortles. Hurns was injured a portion of the season after getting a contract extension.
This year must be better.
The Jaguars will look to Dede Westbrook to help in the return game and use his speed in the open field to separate from defensive backs. Rashad Greene will have to improve on an injury-filled campaign from a year ago. He can still be a solid possession receiver for this team. His return game makes him valuable on this roster. Arrelious Benn is a special teams star but has shown he can catch a ball in key situations. The veteran was instrumental in the team’s win over Chicago last season.
The next closest AFC South team on this list is the Houston Texans at 18. The Indianapolis Colts are one spot below at 19. The Tennessee Titans were ranked 20th, but the story was written before the team signed Eric Decker.
In terms of the top of this list, Arthur gives the New England Patriots the nod as best overall. The move to trade for Brandin Cooks, combined with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell will make it easy for Tom Brady to win another Super Bowl.
Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Miami round out the top five.
At the bottom of this list, Arthur ranked the Los Angeles Rams as having the worst receivers in the league. The New York Jets came in at 31. San Francisco was ranked 30th, the Carolina Panthers 29th and the Chicago Bears were 28th overall.