The Jacksonville Jaguars have a lot of young playmakers, ranging from rookies along the offensive line in Luke Bowanko and Brandon Linder, to contributors on defense such as rookie linebacker Telvin Smith and second-year cornerback Demetrius McCray.
But it's rookie receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns who are at the top of their class in nearly every statistical category.
Robinson and Hurns couldn't have been more different coming into the NFL. While the former was rated between a second- and third-round prospect, the latter was thought no better than worth a seventh-round investment. But after 10 weeks, both are performing better than most of their first-year counterparts, and they're doing it in very different ways.
The Jaguars traded up to grab Robinson because they saw a guy who could be a threat in the intermediate game, while also posing a red zone threat. As a sophomore, he became a full-time starter at Penn State, and continued to improve as a junior in 2013. And except for the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, Robinson has been the most consistent receiving threat for the Jaguars game-for-game.
Through 10 games, Robinson is tied for first in the league among rookies with targets (76), receptions (48), and dropped passes (1). He's fourth in yards (548), ranking behind three first-round receivers in Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin, and Mike Evans. And he's stayed healthy, something that's been a problem with Jaguars receivers this year, averaging 52.3 snaps per game, second only behind Sammy Watkins (65.1 snaps per game).
Hurns, however, came into the league as an undrafted free agent. And while he led the league in receiving yards through the preseason, his inconsistency through the first 10 games shows why he wasn't a top prospect. In the last two weeks alone, Hurns piled up a 112-yard, two-touchdown game against the Cincinnati Bengals to a one-reception, nine-yard day yesterday against the Dallas Cowboys.
But while he's been inconsistent, the undrafted rookie has racked up more yards and touchdowns than most drafted players. He's ranked sixth in yards (475), and tied for first in touchdowns (5). He's second in yards-per-catch (15.8), and he's one of only two rookie receivers getting regular snaps who hasn't had an interception when the ball is thrown his way (the other being Arizona Cardinals receiver John Brown).