One of the great debates regarding the Jaguars offseason is whether or not they should upgrade the wide receiver position, as they were solid, but mostly unspectacular throughout much of the 2007 season. The lack of a consistent big time receiver hurt the team in their playoff loss to eventual AFC champion New England, as the Jaguars needed just a few more big plays in the second half, and their receivers couldn't make them.
The thought of trading for one of the game's premiere receivers has been bandied about, and a few players who are rumored to be on the trading block are Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, Detroit's Roy Williams, and possibly Cincinnati's Chad Johnson (we simply don't believe the reports that he's off the market). Any of those great talents would likely cost the Jaguars their first round pick in April's draft (possibly more), as well as a "Brinks truck" full of money. The team's philosophy in recent seasons has been to draft and develop, so trading away a first round pick doesn't seem like a very likely scenario.
Drafting a wide receiver early hasn't equated to immediate success for the Jaguars, as it took Reggie Williams four years to develop into a solid receiver, and the jury's still out on Matt Jones after year three. With the Jaguars currently viewed as contenders who are one or two players away, the Jacksonville front office will have to make a decision on whether to go with what they have, with another year of seasoning for the current group, or potentially sign a free agent to help out. One of the players who will likely hit free agency in less than two weeks will be wide receiver Jerry Porter, formerly of the Oakland Raiders.
Jerry Porter is a eight-year veteran who has spent every season of his career in Oakland, toiling for the last two years in what can only be termed as hell for skill position players. The Raiders have finished no better than 31st in passing over the last two years, and next to last in scoring. Despite his team's offensive woes, Porter has averaged better than 833 yards receiving per season when able to play all 16 games.
At 6'2", 220 lbs., Porter is strong enough to beat the jam at the line of scrimmage, and has deep speed. He runs solid routes and has carried an offense before. In Porter's best season of 2004, the year prior to Randy Moss' arrival, he caught 64 passes for 998 yards, and 9 touchdowns. This was on a team that finished 5-11, and 18th overall in scoring.
Porter has said publicly that he no longer wishes to be a member of the Raiders any longer-
"I've been through rebuilding for a while now and I want to go elsewhere."
With Porter still being 29 years old it would appear that he still has some gas left in the tank. He hasn't played with anything resembling a solid quarterback in many years, yet has still been productive (more productive than any of the Jaguars current group). He could fit in nicely to the Jaguars plans as he is a slightly under the radar free agent receiver prospect, behind the likes of Randy Moss and Bernard Berrian, and he shouldn't receive a king's ransom to sign. Porter could stretch the field and open up the underneath for Reggie Williams, if of course, the price is right.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustrated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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