Over the next few articles, I will be going over possible X-Factors on offense and defense for the 2011 Jaguars. This first article will put the spotlight on the wide receiving corps.
During this offseason, when someone mentions the Jaguars receiving corps, they immediately bring up the fact that there is not an established playmaker in the bunch and that Mike Thomas is the only receiver with promise. This article will shed a bit of light on the other guys at wide receiver, so stick around; you might learn something about the dark horses who could become the X-Factor that could turn the Jaguars into an elite offense.
The first receiver that will be looked at is Jason Hill. It is only fitting, since he is projected to be starting opposite of Mike Thomas once the season starts. Jason Hill was selected in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft, by the San Francisco 49ers. He was considered a disappointment in San Francisco when they put him on waivers on November 16.
However, since he joined the Jaguars on November 17, he emerged as a deep threat making 11 catches for 248 yards, resulting in a 22.5 yards per catch For years, the Jaguars have searched for a deep threat since the departure of Jimmy Smith, To many die-hard Jaguar fans like me, this evokes bad memories of John Broussard, Chad Owens, and Troy Williamson. Trust me, I know you've heard it all before, but this guy can actually catch, and if he starts off well through training camp and the preseason, I have no doubt that this could be a special year for him and the team.
The second receiver that will be examined is Jarett Dillard. Dillard was selected in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft from RICE. Unfortunately for Dillard, he has sustained season-ending injuries in both of the previous two seasons. However, he has good hands, he has a 42-inch vertical leap, and he has a smooth running style that has reminds Jaguar fans of Keenan McCardell. Perhaps he can finally shake off the injury bug this year and take some of the pressure off of Mike Thomas and dazzle the fans with spectacular catches this year.
The third receiver that will be inspected is Tiquan Underwood. He was a 7th round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft from Rutgers. At 6-1, 183, Underwood seems a bit slight of frame to become a big play receiver, but it is possible. It did not stop him from making two big catches in the Week 4 game against the Colts, making Scobee's legendary 59-yard kick possible. He has deep speed, but he needs to work on his hands, plus, he makes a decent kick returner.
I know what you're thinking: "No Sidney Rice?!!!!" However, let's face the facts, Gene Smith goes for safe picks that can contribute almost immediately (especially with a shortened offseason and training camp) and while Sidney Rice put up awesome number in 2009, that is his only year of significant success and he is still recovering from that hip injury he sustained last year. Malcom Floyd might not be what some call a sexy pick, but he with his speed and size (6-4, 225), he can contribute immediately as a starter.
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