JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With training camp right around the corner, it is time to look at the Jaguars roster position by position.
Each day this week, News4JAX looks at each offensive unit on the Jaguars.
Today, it’s the wide receiver group.
The prevailing message from the Jaguars fans base this offseason was ‘Get Trevor some help.’
The Jaguars did that in free agency. The Jaguars signed Christian Kirk to a contract that through the entire free agent market into a frenzy. They also brought in veteran playmaker Zay Jones. But did they do enough?
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On the roster
Stats: 77 Catches, 982 yards, 5 TDs.
The Jaguars backed up the bank truck to sign Kirk in free agency, giving him a four-year, $84 million dollar deal. The fourth-year pro has put up solid but not spectacular numbers during his career. Kirk’s career highs in both catches and yards came in 2021. He is a quarterback-friendly receiver with his crisp routes and sure hands, but can he be a true No. 1? Kirk has the look of a player who has yet to reach his peak. To live up to that lofty contract, Kirk will need to shatter his previous career highs.
Marvin Jones Jr.
Stats: 73 catches 832 yards 4 TDS
The veteran leader in the wide receiver room is easily, Marvin Jones Jr. In his first year with the Jaguars, he led the team in receiving yards. Jones’ impact on the Jaguars off the field may be bigger than his role on it. Wide receiver coach Chris Jackson said he tasked Jones with leading the receiver room.
Stats: 47 catches, 546 yards, TD.
Another free-agent addition to the Jaguars receiver room. If you look at Jones’ raw career numbers, nothing flies off the page. His career high is 652 yards receiving, not exactly a total that screams impact player. But Jones’ game says otherwise and so does his last quarterback.
Derek Carr used this national interview to specifically praise a teammate. I just became a forever fan. pic.twitter.com/0wLCkrHitj— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) September 14, 2021
Derek Carr summed it up perfectly. Zay Jones’ work ethic makes him a quarterback’s dream. During offseason workouts, Jones and Trevor Lawrence connected on some plays that could be a glimpse of big things to come this season for number 7.
Stats: 63 catches, 619 yards.
The best is yet to come for Shenault. In his rookie season, Shenault showed real promise in Jay Gruden’s offense. Going into 2021, the bar was set high for Shenault. But along with the rest of the offense, he fell short of reaching those lofty expectations. After the struggles, Shenault’s role in 2022 is not promised but he is embracing the competition. No one should be counting him out. Wide receiver coach Chris Jackson said he has never coached a wideout who is built like Shenault. He has the size of a running back with the speed and agility of a receiver, with Jackson saying “he has the perfect package.”
Stats: 24 catches, 229 yards, TD
A hip injury put a damper on what was shaping up to be a huge 2021 for Agnew. While he was signed to be the team’s kick returner, Agnew showed he can be more than just that. Agnew came into the NFL as a cornerback and switched to receiver in 2020. The same speed, quickness and balance that makes Agnew a threat in the return game makes him equally dangerous as a receiver.
Stats: 33 catches, 434 yards, TD
This former first-round pick arrived in Jacksonville with his career on life support. After stints in Minnesota and Atlanta, Treadwell signed with the Jaguars in hopes of reviving his career. To the surprise of many, that is just what he did. During training camp, Treadwell consistently made head-turning plays. After getting cut and landing on the practice squad. Treadwell earned his opportunity and took advantage of it. Treadwell turned a career-high in receiving yards in 2021 and looked like a player that had earned the trust of his quarterback.
Kevin Austin Jr.
With the Jaguars not drafting a wide receiver Austin is the young receiver that many fans are eyeing to make his way onto the depth chart. Austin has an intriguing combination of size and speed. He will need to show a consistent ability to hold on to passes if he wants to be in the conversation for a roster spot.
Jeff Cotton Jr.
After spending most of last season on the Jaguars practice squad, Cotton will be looking to move up to the active roster this year. Last year, Cotton had a big final preseason game against the Cowboys when he made a few explosive plays.
The veteran receiver is on his ninth team. Hall earned a contract after his tryout at rookie minicamp.
Jones spent most of last season on the Jaguars practice squad. The undrafted receiver from Southern Miss is still looking for an opportunity to make an impact in the NFL.
An undrafted receiver from NC Central, he was second-team ALL-MEAC last season.
At 6-3, Winningham is the tallest receiver on the roster. The undrafted player from Central Arkansas has exceptionally good size and intriguing skills. Winningham had 53 receptions for 840 yards and five TDs in nine games for Central Arkansas last season.
Willie Johnson IV
A tryout player at Jaguars rookie minicamp landed Johnson a roster spot. The former Marshall receiver had 626 yards in his final season with the Thundering Herd.
The Jaguars have some serious depth at wide receiver. It has been a long time since the Jaguars have had such a talented collection of pass-catchers. While they do not have a truly elite receiver in the bunch, they have players with a variety of different skill sets that should allow Doug Pederson and Press Taylor to field some creative sets this season.
The biggest complaint in 2021 about the wide receiver room was the bevy of dropped passes. Kirk will be a large part of the solution to that problem. Kirk has been a sure-handed receiver throughout his entire NFL career. Combine the upside of Kirk and Zay Jones and the stability of Marvin Jones, and the Jaguars quietly have a trio of receivers who can make plays. Plus, if Shenault can flip the switch on his potential, there is some real upside in this group.