The Shack Harris Era has been marred by first-round bust after bust. All of the first round draft picks from 2003 - 2008 have been released or cut, expect for Derrick Harvey and Marcedes Lewis. Harvey was finally benched this week and though he has been a decent DE, his draft position and lack of ability to rush the passer is increasing the chances that he will be labeled a bust along with the others. Lewis on the other hand is doing the opposite from all the other first rounders, excelling. Lewis who was drafted in 2005 is halfway through his 5th season in the NFL and he is looking look a bona fide star.
2006 - 2009 Seasons: In his first 4 seasons in the NFL, Lewis was viewed by the media as an under-performer and a possible bust along with all the other Jaguar's first rounders. Even with all of this scrutiny, Lewis just continued to play and improve. When he was drafted he was heralded as a pass catching TE who the Jaguars would hope become one of then QB Byron Leftwich's prime targets. Whether it was the play calling, Leftwich, or Lewis's ability to get open, Lewis only had 13 receptions for 126 yards with only 1 TD. Lewis though known for his receiving in college started to develop great blocking ability upon entering the NFL. Over the next 3 seasons he would slowly become known more and more for his blocking then his receiving. Along with the improvement of his blocking ability, his receiving numbers slowly went higher and higher every season:
2007: 37 receptions, 391 yards, 2 TD's
2008: 41 receptions, 489 yards, 2 TD's
2009: 32 receptions, 518 yards, 2 TD's
* In his first 4 seasons he only lost 1 fumble
2010 season: After 4 decent seasons, Lewis has had a break out season. He has shown not only his blocking ability but also his receiving ability. After only half a season he sits tied 4th in the league in TD receptions, 2nd in TD receptions of TE's, and is 11th of TE's in reception yards. He is averaging 13 yards a catch and a career high average of 40.8 receiving yards a game. On paper Lewis is one of the top 5 TE's in the league right now but in my opinion he is #2 (second only to Antonio Gates) because he is the complete package. Lewis is an amazing blocker and receiver, plus he performs in the clutch. Here is a run down of all the TD's he has scored this season:
Week 1: - 21 yard TD reception (Gives Jaguar's 7 - 0 lead)
- 10 yard TD reception (Gives Jaguars 14 - 7 lead)
Week 4: - 15 yard TD reception (Gives Jaguars 21 - 14 lead)
Week 5: - 1 yard TD reception (Ties game at 13 - 13)
- 27 yard TD reception (Gives Jaguars 20 - 13 lead)
Week 8: - 42 yard TD reception (Increases lead to 14 - 3)
- 9 yard TD reception (Increases lead to 28 - 3)
Every game where Lewis scores a TD, the Jaguars win. Plus with the exception of the last TD in last weeks beat down of Dallas, every single TD that Lewis has caught this season has been crucial to the outcome of the game. Of his 7 TD receptions this season, 4 were go-ahead scores and 1 tied the game. The only other 2 were against Dallas, the first one was crucial in that it gave the Jaguars a decent lead and the second was simply icing on the cake. None of these catches have been in garbage time, all have mattered in the outcome of the game and without these catches we would not have won. Marcedes Lewis has been just as clutch as Josh Scobee this season.
"When the ball is in the air, it's my ball." - Marcedes Lewis
Lewis is in a contract year. At the end of this season he will become a free agent and the Jaguars would be simply foolish to let him walk. Lewis is going to be an incredible TE in this league for a long time and the Jaguars can not afford to lose him. If he keeps up his first half production in the second half I will be absolutely shocked and furious if he doesn't make the Pro Bowl, he deserves it. Lewis has been a monster for the Jaguars all season and lets hope that he continues. He deserves all the praise he gets because hes put in the effort. Keep it up.