┃┃╱╲ In this
╱╱╭╮╲╲ we love
▔▏┗┛▕▔ & appreciate
With the NFL offseason upon us, here are some important dates coming up over the next three months to mark on your calendar:
· February 26-March 4 – NFL Combine; Indianapolis, IN
· March 5 – Franchise/transition tag deadline at 4:00pm EST
· March 11-13 – Free Agency tampering window opens
· March 13 – NFL Free Agency officially opens at 4:00pm EST
· March 24-27 – Annual league meetings
· April 1 – Offseason workouts for clubs with new head coaches
· April 15 – Offseason workouts for clubs with returning head coaches
· April 19 – Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign tender
· April 25-27 – NFL Draft; Nashville, TN
Between NFL free agency and the 2019 NFL Draft, here are some avenues the Jacksonville Jaguars could pursue when it comes to building the blueprint of the wide receiver position.
C.J. Board (futures contract)
Did you forget Marqise Lee is on the roster? Not only is he still here, but he is now the veteran leader of the wide receiver room with an uncuttable contract. We will see how much of a step Lee lost following a rather drastic knee surgery, but if Lee can get back to good health, he could actually be a supreme fit in John DeFilippo’s system and perhaps play some out of the slot, which is something he hasn’t done much of so far in Jacksonville. Dede Westbrook is built to be used as a vertical Z receiver who can take the top off a defense, and hopefully the new offensive scheme will use him more like he was used at Oklahoma where he won a Biletnikoff.
D.J. Chark had his growing pains as a rookie and got hurt late in the season, but his rare speed and size combination could make for some interesting match ups. Keelan Cole needs to get out of his own head and get back to the promising gem that the team seemed to had disinterred in his rookie season. There’s room on the depth chart for both a rookie stud and a proven veteran to be added in March and April.
Premium free agents
Golden Tate didn’t turn many heads after his trade to Philadelphia, so it’s unlikely that both he and Nelson Agholor will still be with the Eagles next year. Agholor is still under contract but the team could save $9.4 million with $0 dead cap if they wanted to release the 25-year old receiver. Agholor is familiar with John DeFilippo from Flip’s time with Philly and could be a target the Jaguars would consider pursuing if he became available. Jalen Ramsey has a daughter with Tate’s sister, Breanna, and it would be a familiar affair if Tate came to Jacksonville to run the slot with his crisp route running.
“Jalen, that’s one of the homies,” Tate said. “Tremendous talent, love watching him play, love watching him talk ****. He’s going to bring it every day. Happy he’s part of the family, man. He’s good people.”
Randall Cobb is a player that Dave Caldwell and the Jaguars flirted with before he ultimately chose to re-sign with the Packers in 2015 free agency. Cobb has struggled with injuries in 2018, which could deter the Jaguars from pursuing a sequel, but if healthy, Cobb’s versatility would be intriguing to watch in this offense. Another player some Jaguars fans are pining for is speedster Tyrell Williams from the Los Angeles Chargers. Due to the lack of supply of quality experienced receivers, Williams will be severely overpaid and could be another Jerry Porter-level signing at receiver for the Jags. Williams has vertical speed but also suffers from concentration drops, so his skill set would be redundant with D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook.
Bargain free agents
Recently released by the Ravens, the 31-year old Michael Crabtree could be the advanced veteran receiver the group needs for an affordable rate. Crabtree has proven to be durable (141 career games since 2009) and played all 16 games in a Baltimore offense that was pass deficient in 2018. Jordan Matthews is nothing special and has fallen short of his second round expectations, but his versatility to play from the slot and on the outside could peak interest. A former Miami Hurricane, Phillip Dorsett has played in back-to-back Super Bowls with New England and would further add to the speed of the WR corps. Breshad Perriman had a late season renaissance in Cleveland that made him look salvageable, so it would be worth kicking the tires on the ex-UCF receiver.
Day 2 options
With three Day 2 picks (for now), it’s entirely possible the Jaguars take another wide receiver with one of them. N’Keal Harry is a receiver I’m higher on than most and believe he is getting overthought, similar to how Juju Smith-Schuster was overthought in his respective class. Hakeem Butler is a physical freak at 6’6” and a supposed 40”+ vertical who has been training with Calvin Johnson and would give the Jaguars a red zone target with an enormous catch radius that they’re missing on the depth chart right now. A.J. Brown played primarily out of the slot in Ole Miss’ offense but has the physique and route running discipline to also moonlight on the perimeter and take advantage of match ups. Terry McLaurin will likely be available in round three and has the personality and enthusiasm that teams will fall in love in addition to his speed and receiving prowess.
Day 3 options
If the Jaguars pass on receiver on Day 2, Gary Jennings would be a stellar consolation price. Jennings said he met with the Jaguars scouts “several times” at the Senior Bowl and is one of the most underrated receivers in the country. Jakobi Meyers is an outstanding athlete who is automatic on dig routes and could work the middle of the field with ease. Damarkus Lodge is a physical X receiver who may be the best run blocking receiver in this draft, and Jamal Custis is an enormous target from Doug Marrone’s Syracuse who is a willing special teamer and one-year wonder.
Undrafted free agent options
Out of all non-power five receivers, none has impressed me more than UAB’s Xavier Ubosi and his deep play potential (83% of yardage was on catches of 8+ yards). Another big target from Utah State, the 6’3” Ron’quavion Tarver had an impressive week of practice at the East West Shrine games and would be worth pursuing in rookie free agency. Ohio State’s Johnnie Dixon would be a great addition and easy recruit if the Jaguars end up with Dwayne Haskins on day one, and Jazz Ferguson is a 6’5” former LSU receiver who transferred to Northwestern State and totaled 13 TDs in 2018.
2019 WR depth chart prediction
Johnnie Dixon (practice squad)