One of the areas of concern for the Jacksonville Jaguars is the wide receiver position, simply because two of the stalwarts in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are no longer here. The team decided to keep Marqise Lee and bring on Donte Moncrief, but there’s still some concern among some fans on if there will be enough firepower there to keep the offense improving.
A lot of that is going to lean on the improvement of Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole, two rookies last season who each had flashes. Cole actually ended up being the Jaguars most productive receiver, but he also had stretches where he disappeared.
Fortunately the Jaguars have a wide receiver coach who’s been through the ringer and come out on top pushing them along.
“Keenan, as you well know if you studied him over the years, is an outstanding football player, very smart, very disciplined, very tough,” Jaguars vice president Tom Coughlin said about McCardell’s first year as the Jaguars wide receiver coach during the NFL meetings last week. “I always include him and a handful of guys I always call the toughest people I have ever coached and he was one of them. He displays that same attitude, that same toughness, that same resiliency as a coach and I think his players enjoy playing for him too.”
It’s no surprise that McCardell’s path through the NFL should ring true with players like Westbrook and Cole, as for all intents and purposes McCardell was an undrafted rookie. He was a 12th round pick back in 1991, but worked himself into Hall of Fame discussions by the time his career was over.
But back to the receiver group, Coughlin feels like the team has the talent there with the players, they just need to develop. The biggest thing at the position now however, is the Jaguars have a lot of speed to work with, which if things work out, could open things up in the box.
“Well that’s always an issue. That’s always something that you hope to have no matter what you do,” Coughlin said when asked if the speed outside will help with the stacked boxes. “In our style, play action, what have you and that deep crossing pattern, that speed is definitely a factor.”
While I don’t know if the Jaguars receiver group is going to force safeties back any time soon, they do have the type of players that can hurt a defense if someone bites on a play action fake for a split second, because of that speed.
I’m not sure if the Jaguars will draft another wide receiver early in the 2018 NFL Draft, but it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise. Especially if they’re fast.