While having some bigger wide receivers on your roster is certainly helpful, especially in red zone situations, it isn't necessary to field a full corps of power forwards. It doesn't work in the NBA, either. You've got to have the little guys with the big guys. You need to smaller, quick guards. Aside from Dennis Northcutt, the Jacksonville Jaguars have not really had a receiver under 6'4" in quite some time. With cornerbacks in today's NFL for the most part not able to make contact with a wide receiver after the snap of the football, it really isn't necessary to continue on with a corps of power forwards.
Many fans were sure the Jacksonville Jaguars would have drafted Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree with the eighth overall selection on Saturday, and under the old regime the very well might have. Thankfully, Gene Smith and company realized an important philosophy the good teams go by: Go big early; and drafted arguably the best offensive tackle prospect in Eugene Monroe of Virginia. While drafting Crabtree would be nice, it's impossible to get him the ball if the quarterback doesn't have time to find him.
The Jaguars addressed their wide receiving corps on the second day of the draft by selecting two under the radar receivers in Mike Thomas of Arizona and Jarett Dillard of Rice. Yes, Rice. Both receivers are smaller quicker guys who have the innate ability to create separation. Thomas does it with his speed and short area quickness while Dillard does it with his superior route running. This offseason head coach Jack Del Rio put an emphasis on getting playmakers who can make plays after they catch the ball, and these two players, as well as seventh-round pick Tiquan Underwood offer just that.
"We got three wideouts, they can all run," Del Rio said following the draft on Sunday. "Mike Thomas and (Tiquan) Underwood in particular can really fly, and Jarett Dillard is the all-time NCAA touchdown receiver. He has a lot of production."
Just for arguments sake, let's compare Michael Crabtree to the two players the Jaguars drafted. Many will point to Crabtree's production at Texas Tech in just two seasons and his two Fred Biletnikoff trophies he received each year there.
Michael Crabtree - 231 receptions, 3127 yards, 41 touchdowns
Jarett Dillard - 292 receptions, 4138 yards, 60 touchdowns
Mike Thomas - 258 receptions, 3221 yards, 22 touchdowns
Now, looking at these numbers... It looks like the Jaguars got the better end of the deal in passing on Crabtree. You cannot really argue for one or the other in regards to production. You cannot argue that one player played in a certain system. While Crabtree is more heralded than Dillard or Thomas, all three were dominant at the NCAA level. It's a popular saying in the NFL-- "wide receivers are a dime a dozen." Unfortunately for the Jaguars, they've been playing with a bunch of nickels.
With the addition of veteran Torry Holt and the hope of Mike Walker finally being 100% healthy, the Jaguars receiving corps might of drafted exactly what they needed at the position: productive playmakers.
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