While the Jacksonville Jaguars had a disappointing season thus far, the team has a budding star on their roster — and not just on the defensive side of the football. For years now, the Jaguars have lacked elite talent on the offensive side of the football. With the insurgence of talent such as running back Leonard Fournette, many presumed he would be the only weapon available. However, his former college roommate — receiver DJ Chark Jr. — has turned out to be one of the most impressive players on the roster today.
Entering the season Chark Jr. was thought of as no more than a potential red zone option, or a wide receiver three with Dede Westbrook and veteran receiver Chris Conley manning the top two options available to now-starting quarterback Nick Foles. Just 10 games into the regular season, the former LSU Tiger is proving he belongs, not only at the top of the Jaguars depth chart, but potentially at the top of the AFC wide receiver rankings.
Looking through the numbers, Chark Jr. is currently tied for the league-lead in touchdown receptions (8), leads the AFC in 20+ yard receptions (15), and is tied for fourth in the AFC in receiving yards with 796. The second-year receiver has also tied a Jaguars’ franchise-record in touchdown receptions through the team’s first 10 games of the season (Marcedes Lewis, 2010).
On Sunday, Chark Jr. hauled in eight receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns. He, along with Buccaneers receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are the only receivers in the NFL this season to post multiple games with at least 100 receiving yards and two-plus receiving touchdowns.
8 catches— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) November 19, 2019
See them all from Sunday ⤵ pic.twitter.com/pKWmnZijwR
Simply put, the Jaguars made a home-run selection when they picked Chark Jr. 61st overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. During his rookie season with the Jaguars Chark Jr. played in only 11 games, hauling in 14 receptions for 174 yards and zero touchdowns. Now he leads the team in not only receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns, but targets (85) as well.
When Foles was named the team’s starting quarterback, the presumption was Chark Jr.’s receptions may decrease due to the affinity Foles showed during the offseason with with Conley and Westbrook. That, however, was not the case on Sunday as Chark Jr. received a season-high 15 targets on the day.
After the game on Sunday, Chark Jr. spoke to reporters about his seemingly instant connection with Foles. “It was good. We’ve still got to work on the connection to feel – his first game back out there. I felt like me as well as the other receivers and Nick (Foles) made some plays,” Chark Jr. said when asked how it was to play with Foles again. The standout receiver, however, not satisfied with how the game ultimately played out, and knows there are six more games to go.
“We can make more and we will make more. For us it’s just one step. We’ve still got six more and I think we will look back at this game and won’t remember it as much because of the next six.”
While there are plenty of negatives surrounding this team, currently, the Jaguars and their fans should look forward to the future of one of their most talented players.