Jaguars Camp Competition - Wide Receivers

What is seen by many as a team weakness could indeed be a strength this season for the Jaguars assuming some of their young wide receivers step up. We will examine the team's wide receiving corps and break down who will make the team's final roster.

The competitors: Mike Sims-Walker, Mike Thomas, Troy Williamson, Jarett Dillard, Clarence Denmark, Jason Harmon, Nate Hughes, John Matthews, Kassim Osgood, Roren Thomas and Tiquan Underwood.

When there are 11 wide receivers invited to training camp, there's a pretty big message being sent that the competition for roster spots is wide open. There are about three locks for roster spots at the position and they are Mike Sims-Walker, Mike Thomas and Kassim Osgood. The Jaguars finally began to see why they drafted Mike Sims- Walker in 2009 as he took on the role of the team's number one receiver, catching 63 passes for 869 yards and seven touchdowns. Sims-Walker is a flawless route runner, has strong hands and enough speed to take short passes to the house.

Mike Thomas' role on the team should be defined this season as was a solid target from the slot position as a rookie in 2009. Thomas is quick, sudden and has good hands which many players of his stature (5'8", 198 lbs.) do not. At this point, the starting receiver job opposite Sims-Walker is Thomas' to lose.

Kassim Osgood is a roster lock due to his special teams acumen as he has been selected to three Pro Bowls. Osgood began his career at wide receiver in San Diego and hopes to reassume that role in Jacksonville. Osgood is certainly a big target at 6'5", 220 lbs., but he isn't a natural route runner, lacks suddenness and has questionable hands.

So who fills out the rest of the roster?

Troy Williamson is the most talented of the remaining players at the position, but he always seems to have an issue that gets in the way of him realizing his potential. After being a Top Ten pick by the Vikings in 2005 mostly thanks to his speed, Williamson fizzled out quickly in Minnesota as he wasn't playing with much talent at quarterback and had major issues catching the football. Williamson ran into some bad luck last season as a shoulder injury ended his season in Week Three. In two seasons with the Jaguars, Williamson has caught just eight passes and this training camp may be his last chance to salvage an NFL career.

Jarett Dillard and Nate Hughes will likely be battling it out for possibly one roster spot. The Jaguars used a fifth-round draft pick to select Dillard from Rice a year ago, and his season was shut down by a broken ankle in the team's ninth game. Dillard can jump with anyone, has solid hands and is a professional route runner. Nate Hughes could be a "Jack of all trades, master of none" type of receiver. Hughes has speed, runs solid routes, has good hands, but isn't all that explosive. He has looked good in previous camps and preseasons, but for him to make this roster he must contribute on special teams.

Can any of these guys surprise?

With the Jaguars having what is seemingly a wide open competition at wide receiver, there will be some opportunities for plenty of undrafted free agents to flash. Clarence Denmark, a Jacksonville native, will be entering his second training camp with the team, and he was one of the wide receiver stars of OTA's. Starring in non- contact drills doesn't mean a lot, but it's better than not standing out at all..... Jason Harmon is a big target (6'2", 214 lbs.) who is coming off a knee injury from his days at Florida Atlantic...... John Matthews was just awarded to the Jaguars off waivers and spent most of his rookie season of 2009 on the Colts practice squad.....Roren Thomas is a small (5'10", 172 lbs.), fast target who played at small school Tennessee-Martin before transferring to smaller school Lindenwood. Thomas returned kickoffs as well as playing wide receiver in college.... Tiquan Underwood was the Jaguars only draft pick from 2009 that didn't make their opening day roster. Underwood has explosive speed, but has poor hands. If he can make a difference on special teams, a roster spot is possible.

How will it all shake out? Mike Sims-Walker is the team's number one receiver, definitively. If the Jaguars don't acquire a veteran, Mike Thomas will start opposite Sims-Walker. Kassim Osgood will likely play in red zone situations thanks to his large body and leaping ability. Troy Williamson will make the roster if he stays healthy through camp. Williamson is only 27 and he has simply too much talent to give up on. Jarett Dillard will earn a roster spot and in a mild upset, Tiquan Underwood will find his way to the roster. Clarence Denmark has a great chance to earn a practice squad spot, as does Nate Hughes.

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