Marcades Lewis: Overrated Receiver or Underrated Blocker?
[Note by River City Rage, 08/05/09 5:58 AM PDT ]: Please welcome JvilleJag2 to the Big Cat Country team!
Entering his fourth season with the Jaguars Marcedes Lewis is in a "prove it" season. Lewis will enter as the unquestioned starter at tight end. He's been improving each season and this upcoming 2009 campaign could turn out to be his best yet. The fact remains Lewis must start showing he was worthy of the 28th overall selection in 2006 NFL Draft.
2006 13 receptions 126 yards 1 touchdown
2007 37 receptions 391 yards 2 touchdowns
2008 41 receptions 489 yards 2 touchdowns
What Lewis brings to the field is a pretty complete skill set. He's physically imposing standing 6'6, 275lbs and seems to have learned how to utilize his size as a mismatch with smaller defenders. Coming out of UCLA Lewis was considered a dynamic pass catcher but poor blocker. However with the coaching of tight ends coach Mike Tice, Marcedes has developed his blocking prowess and is now amongst the better blocking tight ends in football. The only criticism of Lewis is that for a player that was considered a pass catching dynamo in college, Lewis has had an inordinate number of drops. Last season in particular he seemed to have issues bringing in the football, almost as if he was fighting the football as he attempted to corral it. While this may be attributed to his focus on trying to improve his blocking Lewis has worked hard this Spring to improve his pass catching skills.
Estandia was an undrafted free agent out of UNLV who ended up on Cincinnati’s practice squad before being plucked by the Jaguars in 2006. Since his arrival in Jacksonville Estandia has wowed with his size (6’8) and athletic playing style. While Greg is a fine athlete and a solid pass catcher he isn’t much of a blocking presence or a threat to score. He offers a little more speed than Marcedes Lewis but isn’t quite the blocker Lewis is. Estandia is a contributor on special teams and that is where he will have to continue to make his mark.
2006 No stats
2007 9 receptions 136 yards
2008 10 receptions 113 yards
Angulo isn't going to wow anyone with his speed or hands. He's mainly used as a blocking tight end and he's pretty solid in that. The Jaguars like to run the football almost more than any team so it's likely Angulo, barring a complete meltdown in training camp, will make the roster. Angulo played for Jacksonville’s tight ends coach Mike Tice in Minnesota so Tice has pretty good knowledge of Angulo.
2007 8 receptions 82 yard 1 touchdown
2008 8 receptions 63 yards
Miller, the team's sixth round draft pick, has opened eyes. The former Nebraska-Omaha quarterback is making the position switch (No Matt Jones jokes please) and has really turned heads this Spring. As a quarterback at Nebraska-Omaha, Miller threw for 4,096 yard and 26 touchdowns while rushing for 3,122 yard and 50 scores. Miller offers something that no other tight end on the roster offers. Yes, the "Wildcat" option, and while the Jags may not employ it like Miami did, the fact Miller does provide the option is intriguing. Miller ran a 4.53 at his pro day and so far that speed looks legitimate. He closed out OTAs with a strong showing. Jaguars GM Gene Smith likens Miller to the Colt's Dallas Clark and Houston's Owen Daniels but says that Miller is faster. While that's high praise it bodes well for an offense looking to create more explosive plays down the field.
Like Zach Miller, Lorenzen, a former University of Connecticut quarterback is making the position switch from quarterback to tight end. At UConn he amassed 3,236 yards passing with 16 touchdowns in two seasons as the Huskies quarterback. Lorenzen also showed good running ability by rushing for over 600 yards and five scores in his two seasons at UConn.
Wrap Up: This is a group that should benefit from offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s emphasis on working the ball to the tight ends. This bunch is largely defined by two draft picks, Lewis and Miller. Marcedes could finally be realizing his ability this season if he can get back to being the pass catching machine he was in college while not letting his blocking slip. Miller offers versatility at the position while bringing a true down the seam threat. How this group is regarded will fall squarely on the shoulders of Marcedes Lewis and his 2009 production.