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The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock. Man, does it feel good to say that!
The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t have the big splash free agency period many thought they would, myself included.
Curtis Samuel came and went. Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry were both snapped up by that team up north. Trent Williams was given the bag.
But there was one signing that stood out and either makes or breaks this class...
The Jaguars desperately needed another wide receiver. And while Samuel would have been an exciting addition, Jones is a ”very good” signing... especially when you consider this team could have left last week empty handed.
What makes Jones such a good signing? How much impact will he have on this year’s Jaguars team? Where will he help young guys like D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault?
The Jaguars needed a veteran.
Before free agency, the Jaguars had eight receivers. The team knew they were going to let Chris Conley and Keelan Cole walk, which left them thin numbers-wise. But they were also young—none of their receivers were 25 years old yet and Chark was the most experienced. That wasn’t going to work for a team prepping themselves for Trevor Lawrence’s arrival. Signing Jones allows their future No. 1 overall draft pick a bit more breathing room as he transitions to the pro game.
Laviska Shenault is good but...
Chark needed another true receiver to challenge opposite him on the outside. I think what we’ll see out of Shenault is more what we saw out of Percy Harvin when Urban Meyer was at Florida and Darrell Bevel was with the Seattle Seahawks—a versatile playmaker who will get reps through the air and on the ground from a number of positions. Shenault won’t be as 50-50 in terms of production as Harvin was when he split his total yards between receiving and rushing. But he will be all over the field, and success in that role requires two legitimate receiving threats, like Florida had in Andre Caldwell and Dallas Baker.
This team finally has three legitimate receivers
It was five seasons ago when the Jaguars had two receivers who eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season. But who was the No. 3 guy behind Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns? Julius Thomas? Bryan Walters? The last time this team had three playmakers catching the ball was likely two decades ago when Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell were tearing it up and they force-fed tight end Kyle Brady the ball. Now, with a legitimate talent at quarterback, they have a chance to do something special.
All in all, the Jaguars had an underwhelming free agency class—Urban Meyer was disappointed in the process and the front office likely let a few potential impact signings slip through their fingers.
But signing Jones was a win, and if you’re going to win it better be directly linked to the franchise quarterback you’re about to select at the top of the NFL Draft.