JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Over the next 20 days, News4Jax will count down the 20 most important figures to the Jaguars' success in the 2019 season.
As a rookie D.J. Chark carved out a role as a gunner on the punt team. While it’s great that a young player contributes on special teams, the Jaguars need their former second-round pick to be more of a playmaker on offense.
Position: Wide receiver
2018 stats: 14 catches, 174 receiving yards and no TDs
2019 projection: Historically, rookie wide receivers have a tough time adjusting from college to the NFL. That was the story for Chark in 2018. Having inconsistency at the quarterback position didn’t help matters for Chark. But even when he got opportunities, the former LSU product didn’t do much with them. In 2018 Chark was targeted 32 times and had four drops. That’s a percentage the Jaguars need their second-year receiver to improve upon in 2019.
With Marqise Lee still recovering from an ACL injury, the most productive wide receiver on the roster is Dede Westbrook. If Lee isn’t available for the season opener, Chark will be in the running to compete for a starting wide receiver spot.
That’s one of the battles that will be interesting to watching when training camp opens next month.
Jaguars WR coach Keenan McCardell on what improvements he’s seen from DJ Chark Jr.: “I’ve seen him grow as a football player. Things start to slow down for you in your second year. Being in your first year is like a tornado, everything is all the same and it sounds the same. Now he can pick and choose how to run routes, how to decipher defenses and stuff like that, which will make his game improve just understanding defenses in his second year. In his first year, he says he knows defenses, he’ll tell you he knows it, but you can see it and understand in his route running. That’s when you know he knows it. This year, I can tell he really understands what’s going on with our offenses and what we’re really trying to do.”