Wide Receivers a Strength in Jacksonville?

If I were to tell you right after the Jaguars playoff loss to New England, that in 2008 the wide receiver position could be a position of strength for the Jacksonville Jaguars, would you take me seriously?

After mini-camp over the weekend, the Jaguars wide receiving corps without Jerry Porter looked very, very good. Reggie Williams, who last year set the franchise record for receiving touchdowns with 10, looks leaner and faster, and seemingly has worked a lot on his route running in the off-season. Wiley veteran Dennis Northcutt looks like he did last year in camp, crisp and fast. Mike Walker had limited action, but looked like a local super hero. New receiver Troy Williamson looked uncoverable by anyone in the Jacksonville secondary, and could possibly be the fastest Jaguar.

Mind you, these were mini-camps and it was pajama practice, so enthusiasm should be tempered just a little. The excitement is hard to bottle however, when you think of the potential for this team on offense. David Garrard looked as good as ever in mini-camp, and seems to be striding towards that elite status that some people have already placed him at. The Jaguars have injected its wide receiving corps with a big shot of speed and explosiveness.

The oft-chastised Troy Williamson, who the Jaguars acquired for a sixth-round pick during the off-season looks like a Pro-Bowler (note there are no pads and little defense). He shows amazing speed and surprisingly good hands. Williamson dropped very few passes in the four mini-camp practices. I also saw him pull down a one-handed grab in traffic deep down the field and then leave everyone like they were running in mud. Williamson's rap in Minnesota however, was that he looked great in practice but simply couldn't catch on game day. It will be interesting to see what he looks like when the pads come on and the real bullets fly.

Reggie Williams looks like a leaner, quicker version of himself from last year. His routes are crisper and the Jaguars defensive backs fell prey to his head fakes consistently. Although, Williams still tends to catch balls a lot with his stomach rather than his hands, he looks like a more polished receiver than last year when he was a tremendous red zone threat.

Dennis Northcutt, while he gets absolutely abused for his drop of a 10-point touchdown in New England in the playoffs, looks as good as he did last season. He has very good speed, runs great routes, and for the most part catches everything thrown his way. With the addition of Jerry Porter, this will allow Dennis Northcutt to return to the slot wide receiver position the Jaguars initially brought him in for last season, where he will be a match-up nightmare for most nickel backs and safeties.

If Jerry Porter is as good as all reports are so far and Mike Walker continues his comeback from IR last year, the Jacksonville Jaguars could have a very dangerous passing game. With their apparent number one wide receiver not participating over the weekend, the Jaguars seemingly didn't miss him. If you add a healthy Porter back to the lineup, the Jaguars wide receiving corps could probably be one of the best positions on the roster. Not to mention the logjam at receiver at the back end of the roster. Matt Jones' status is still up in the air, he really didn't do much at mini-camp. John Broussard flashes the speed and willingness to go up and get the ball he did last year, but he couldn't stay on the field as a rookie. Rookie Jeron Harvey out of Houston looks like a reincarnation of Ernest Wilford, wearing his number and making the same kind of plays Wilford was known for. The fight for the final one or two spots at the wide receiver spot will be one to watch when training camp comes in.


Jags Illustrated Top Stories