Outside of the quarterbacks, there might not have been a more disappointing position group for the Jaguars in 2016 than the wide receivers. Of course, a lot of their shortcomings had to do with the poor quarterback play and lack of running game, but the receivers themselves had their fair share of struggles.
Allen Robinson went from being a Pro Bowler in 2015 to struggling to look even average at times in 2016. There were a few games, like in London against the Colts, where A-Rob looked like his old, dominant self. For most of the year, however, Robinson had issues such as creating separation and seeming to not be on the same page as quarterback Blake Bortles. While Robinson did not become ‘drop-prone’, he did have a few bad drops/bobbles that led to interceptions. Robinson finished the year with 883 yards and six touchdowns.
The other Allen, Allen Hurns, had a very quiet season. The biggest reason for that is simple: Hurns battled injuries all year, and missed the final five games of the season. When Hurns did play, he struggled with drops, notching six on the year. Hurns finished the year with 477 yards and three touchdowns.
While Hurns and Robinson failed to meet their expectations for the year, fellow receiver Marqise Lee shattered his. After dealing with nagging injuries for the majority of his first two seasons, Lee had a breakout campaign in his third year, when he was finally able to play the whole season. He displayed a knack for making difficult catches, and was able to display his speed on several long runs after the catch. Lee finished the year with 851 yards and three touchdowns.
Both Arrelious Benn and Bryan Walters were solid depth options, with Benn providing one of the most memorable plays of the year, against the Chicago Bears. Rashad Greene hardly saw the field on offense, and was benched on special teams for muffing punts.
If there’s one position group I would expect to have a bounce back year next season, it’s the wide receivers. Both Robinson and Hurns have demonstrated top-level play in the past, and Lee showed this year that he can at least be a contributor. With (hopefully) improved quarterback play, whether that be a new signal-caller entirely or Blake Bortles with refined mechanics, the wideouts should be able to get back on track. The departure of well-respected coach Jerry Sullivan leaves a bit of a question mark, but the Jaguars hired former wide receiver Keenan McCardell to take over coaching the position, so hopefully he can bring a little thunder back to this group.