As the newest member of the BCC staff, I hope to be your fantasy expert. I’m looking to give you insight into the fantasy side of the Jaguars and if I can, maybe even get you to agree with me and help you win your league along the way. With my first post I wanted to look into what I think their fourth round pick Cecil Shorts can provide this year from a fantasy aspect.
With Mike Thomas being the only real, proven wide receiver on this team, Del Rio already said in his first press conference after the draft that Shorts will come in and play a lot as the third receiver. He’s probably not a guy you’re going to end up drafting except maybe as your last round sleeper but at the least I think he could become a valuable free agent pickup once he gets into the flow of the offense and can fill in during bye weeks or be a guy where you can pick and choose spots to start him when he has favorable matchups. His best case scenario would be if Jason Hill doesn’t play like the Jaguars hope he can and he plays his way into the second spot right behind Mike Thomas. In my opinion he certainly has the talents to do so.
Many people like to point out that on his pro day he only ran a 4.50 and 4.52 but they fail to mention that it was outdoors on slick field turf due to rain and it was still drizzling during it. What I would like to point out is that this is also a guy who was an All-American Sprinter at Mount Union and finished 5th in the 55-meter dash at the 2009 NCAA indoor track championships. The speed is there.
He also holds every record you would want a wide receiver to have at their college. He owns the career receptions record with 259, reception yards with 4,705, and reception touchdowns with 63. These surpassed fellow Mount Union alum Pierre Garcon, who started his collegiate career at Norwich for one season before transferring, compiling a career stat line between the two schools of 246 receptions for 60 touchdowns and 4,380 yards. Garcon had 67 catches for 784 yards and 6 touchdowns in 14 games last year with the Colts so the precedent has been set that the leap from Division III Mount Union to the AFC south can be made.
One area where Shorts’ value could be boosted in fantasy is if Dirk Koetter decides to implement a wildcat offense with him as the centerpiece. He was recruited as a quarterback and served as the backup his freshman year but was then converted to wide receiver during his sophomore year to fill the void left by Garcon’s graduation (probably the right move). We first saw the wildcat work to perfection back in 2008 when the Dolphins scored 5 touchdowns with it against the Patriots and it has started a revolution ever since. If Koetter does decide to implement one using Shorts, his value will receive a bump up as it will result in more touchdown opportunities for him so this is something to keep an eye on during the year.
I think what could really hurt him is this lockout though because Mount Union still is a Division III school so the adjustment will be tough enough on him already and now without the help of having rookie mini-camps, OTA’s, or possibly any training camp at all; the learning curve is going to be even harder for him. I know all rookies must be hoping for an agreement on a new CBA so they can negotiate their contracts and start their NFL careers but I can’t imagine there being many more guys out there more anxious than Shorts. The earlier this lockout ends, the better the odds are for Shorts to have a relevant fantasy football season this year.