Out of all of the Jaguars picks, Marqise Lee was the one I was the most skeptical about. In my draft analysis, I saw Lee as one of the more overrated prospects and thought his ‘fall' in the draft was more than warranted.
Throughout the majority of Lee's rookie year, it looked as if my reservations about him were proving to be correct. He was struggling to not only make an impact on the field, but to even get on the field in the first place (in between injuries and a lack of playing time in several games) but at the end of the season, he turned his game around more than probably any other player on the roster, with strong showings vs Houston, Tennessee, and the Giants.
Lee demonstrates a lot of qualities that the Jaguars try to be about. Competitive. Fast. Fiery. Fast. Really Fast. The book on Lee is clearly not finished, but I'll happily admit I underestimated his ability.
The Best Case Scenario for Marqise Lee's Rookie Season
"The best case scenario for Lee in 2014 is that he stays healthy enough to grow with the young offense and Bortles, whenever he himself is thrown in as starter. As a rookie receiver, Lee will have some issues transitioning to the NFL at first, so expectations should be tempered, even in a best case scenario."
I clearly didn't have very high expectations for Lee's rookie year, which in hindsight was a bad call, but I don't think the reasoning was flawed. WR's have a tough time transitioning to the NFL in their rookie year, and Lee was not exempt from this. But he did ultimately prove he could fight through that rookie wall and make an impact, which considering the state of the team, is impressive and a huge testament to his character.
The Worst Case Scenario for Marqise Lee's Rookie Season
"The worst scenario that could possibly occur to Lee this season would be for him to continue to suffer from injuries, which would lead to him losing some very valuable experience and chance to develop with Bortles and the rest of the Jaguars offense."
This take was more or less correct. Lee did miss out on some action this year, but it is nothing close to a year where you could say he missed a ton of valuable experience. The injuries are still a point of concern for me, though.
Reasonable Expectations for Marqise Lee's Rookie Season
I think it is only reasonable to expect that Lee will struggle some as a rookie. He's a first-year player, he has a history with injuries, he shows inconsistent hands, he'll either have a fellow rookie throwing him the ball or Chad Henne, and the rest of the offense is very young. There will be a lot of bumps along the road.
But Lee will also flash just the way he did at USC. Fisch will find ways to get the ball into Lee's hands, and Lee will create his own yards and make a few electric plays. There may be more downs than ups in Lee's rookie year, but that should be expected.
This is a fun one to try to sort out. Lee had a solid game vs the Giants, showing up big on the final drive and catching a long TD in the comeback. That was his first game of the year where you could walk away feeling excited for him, and the momentum obviously carried over.
His game vs the Texans the next week was solid as well, but he failed to put together a complete game (along with the rest of the team.)
Ultimately, I think his game on Thursday Night Football vs the Tennessee Titans was his best game. Not only was it in the spotlight of prime time, but he was literally almost the entirety of the production of the passing game (65 rec yards out of 115) and he showed the whole package. Speed. Route running. Yards after the catch. Acting skills to get a flag.
I still have a few reservations about Lee. He still fights the ball nearly every time its thrown his way, resulting in a lot of missed opportunities. And if I had to guess, injuries are always gonna be a present issue with him.
But despite all of this, I can genuinely say I am excited for him. Do I think he can be that dependable #1 WR every team coverts? Eh, not really.
Do I think he can be one of the most exciting Jaguars in recent years? Do I think he can be a weapon every time he gets the ball? Do I think him as a person represents everything good about what the Jaguars are trying to build?