1. The emergence of the rookie class. The Jaguars have been arguably one of the worst drafting teams in the NFL over the past seven years, and that streak of poor production came to a resounding end as the team started four rookies for much of the year. First-day picks Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton improved as the season went on and appear to be fixtures on the offensive line for years to come. Third-round picks Terrance Knighton and Derek Cox were bright spots on a struggling defense, and receiver Mike Thomas turned into a play-maker as the season progressed. Zach Miller and Jarett Dillard made contributions, and seventh-round pick Rashad Jennings showed himself as a capable back-up running back to Maurice Jones-Drew.
2. A number one receiver came to the forefront. Mike Sims-Walker went from a talented guy who couldn't stay healthy to just a talented receiver. Sims-Walker was the Jaguars best target all season long, and he received the ultimate star treatment as the New York Jets decided to cover him during the second half with Darrelle Revis, the best corner in the game. Sims-Walker became the first Jaguars wideout to surpass 800 yards receiving since Jimmy Smith retired following the 2005 season.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew showed he can handle the load. Although Maurice Jones-Drew certainly showed his talent prior to this season, there were still some questions whether he could take the pounding of being an every downs back. Jones-Drew answered those questions in resounding fashion as he led the AFC in rushing touchdowns en route to his first of what will likely be many Pro Bowl selections.
4. Marcedes Lewis became worthy of his draft status. The big Jaguars tight end became more than just a great blocker as he was a fantastic seam threat all year long. Lewis' 30+ catches for 500+ yards and two touchdowns won't get him a ton of Pro Bowl votes, but he showed that he was capable of being a go-to-guy for Jaguars quarterback David Garrard.
5. Problems areas were identified. Whenever a team misses the playoffs, there are certainly areas of need and concern. 2009 clearly showed us that the Jaguars must upgrade the quarterback position as David Garrard proved that his 2007 campaign was clealy a fluke. This season also showed us that the Jaguars must find a pass rush, and an upgrade at safety, as Reggie Nelson did more harm to the team than good. Although this seams like a negative, it's vitally important to know which positions must get better and now the Jaguars and everyone else knows exactly where the upgrades must occur going forward.
5 Positives of the 2009 Jaguars Season
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