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3 reasons Laviska Shenault is due for a breakout season

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The Jacksonville Jaguars are primed for the most exciting season in franchise history. Man, does it feel good to say that!

If Nate Burleson has his way, Laviska Shenault will be in for a big sophomore season.

When talking on Good Morning Football, Burleson included Shenault on his list of breakout receivers for 2021.

“I just love the way he plays. I know there are some concerns about him being a full-time wide receiver. Well, he proved he could be. My dude had 58 receptions, that is no slouch. I wish as a rookie I put up almost 60 catches. He had 600 yards.”

And even a quick glance at the stats tells us why...

Switch on the targeting computer

Besides D.J. Chark, there’s no receiver who saw more targets come his way.

Shenault had to deal with an ugly revolving door of quarterbacks throughout last season that involved Gardner Minshew, Mike Glennon, and something called a Jake Luton... and he still racked up 79 targets as a rookie playing several positions. That was good for seventh among rookies.

With Gardner Minshew, Mike Glennon, and something called a Jake Luton.

Hands like glue

But where Shenault really shined on this team was his catch rate. He led all Jaguars receivers catching 73.4% of his targets.

That led all rookies who finished the season with more than 20 receptions last season.

With Gardner Minshew, Mike Glennon, and something called a Jake Luton.

Nose for the end zone

And these aren’t insignificant catches either. He caught five touchdowns on a team that only scored 25 through the air. That by itself was tied for fourth among rookies, but catching a touchdown every 11.6 receptions has him claiming the fifth-best touchdown rate.

Again... with Gardner Minshew, Mike Glennon, and something called a Jake Luton.

In conclusion

I could be lazy and say... “Well, he’ll have Trevor Lawrence next year so of course he’ll be better.”

And I’d be right. Very, very right.

But going deeper, I think Urban Meyer will be able to construct a more sophisticated game plan for Shenault going forward—one that has him playing less gadget and more outside receiver opposite D.J. Chark. That might put a dent in his catch rate, but it’ll most certainly improve every other statistic.

And lead to more wins.