Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars - jaguars.comJohn Oehser
JACKSONVILLE - Senior writer John Oehser and Jaguars analyst Bucky Brooks examine the Jaguars' wide receivers in this position-by-position look at the '23 offseason:
Position: Wide receivers
Position Coaches: Chad Hall
Christian Kirk (17)Marvin Jones Jr. (10)Zay Jones (15)Tim Jones (1)
Jamal AgnewKevin Austin Jr.Willie JohnsonJaylon MooreKendric PryorSeth Williams
2022 at a Glance: This was a memorable season for the Jaguars' pass-catchers, a season of balance and production that followed an offseason of major change. The Jaguars overhauled the position in the 2022 offseason, signing Kirk (Arizona Cardinals), Zay Jones (Las Vegas Raiders) and tight end Evan Engram (New York Giants) as unrestricted free agents. That trio finished as the Jaguars' top three receivers - and newcomers formed the core of a pass offense that turned in multiple game-turning plays in quarterback Trevor Lawrence's second NFL season. Kirk caught a team-high 84 passes for a team-high 1,108 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns. Zay Jones caught 82 passes for 823 yards and five touchdowns. Marvin Jones Jr. in his second season with the team after signing as an UFA from the Detroit Lions in the 2021 offseason, caught 46 passes for 529 yards and three touchdowns.
Offseason Storyline: a main storyline here is newcomer Calvin Ridley, who was acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons last November 1. Ridley, who did not play in 2022 while suspended by the NFL for violation of the league's gambling policy, applied for reinstatement February 15 and was reinstated March 6. He was cleared by the league to participate in all team activities, with the Jaguars' voluntary offseason program scheduled to begin April 17. Ridley has caught 248 passes for 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns in four NFL seasons, including 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020 - his last full season. Marvin Jones Jr., who made multiple clutch catches during two seasons with the team, will become an unrestricted free agent on the March 15 start of the 2023 NFL League Year.
Free Agents as of March 15: Marvin Jones Jr.
Bucky Brooks' Top Three Free Agent Wide Receivers:
1, Robert Woods, Tennessee Titans2, Nelson Agholor, New England Patriots3, DJ Chark Jr., Detroit Lions
Bucky Brooks' Top Three Collegiate Wide Receiver Prospects:
1, Jaxon Smith-Njiba, Ohio State2, Zay Flowers, Boston College3, Jordan Addison, Southern California
Oehser Analysis: This area doesn't figure to be overly newsworthy in the coming weeks in free agency, but it will be a focus when the offseason program begins on April 17. The key offseason storyline is the development/acclimation of Ridley, who last played in Week 6 in 2021. How Ridley meshes with Lawrence and the offense - and how near he is to his previous form - could determine much about how much the NFL's No. 7 passing game from 2022 improves in 2023. This area figures to be intriguing in the offseason and into next season, with Engram/Kirk/Zay Jones and Lawrence all entering their second season in Head Coach Doug Pederson's offense. That continuity and familiarity with the offense - and with each other - could help what was an improved passing offense in 2022 become one of the NFL's best units in this area in 2023. That figures to be even further enhanced by Ridley, a front-line route runner who emerged as the Falcons' No. 1 receiver in 2020. If Ridley approaches that level, the Jaguars could have one of the NFL's best receiving corps in 2023 - a remarkable accomplishment considering none were on the roster in 2021.
Brooks Analysis: The Jaguars' rebuilt WR corps keyed Lawrence's growth as a passer. The veteran collection of pass catchers helped the franchise quarterback play a fearless brand of football that sparked the offense. The dependability and reliability of Marvin Jones Jr., Zay Jones, and Kirk encouraged Lawrence to throw the ball to spots before his intended targets were out of their breaks. In addition, the trust established between the quarterback and his pass-catching crew enabled Pederson to make bold play-calling choices in critical moments. As the chemistry between Lawrence and the wide-receivers corps continues, the Jaguars' offense could make a significant jump in production in 2023 with an all-star-caliber wideout (Ridley) joining the squad.