By Andy Benoit – www.NFLTouchdown.com
God bless â€˜em, they’re trying. The Jaguars have continually brought in solid, talented players to fill the abyss that formed at the wide out position after Jimmy Smith retired. Anticipating the abyss, Jacksonville drafted Reggie Williams with their first-round back in 2004, then Matt Jones with their first-rounder in 05. They also used another first-round on a pass-catching tight end in 2006, drafting UCLA’s Marcedes Lewis.
What’s more, before Smith’s retirement in 2005, the team was routinely searching for a replacement for Keenan McCardell. In ’03, Jacksonville traded for Cleveland’s Kevin Johnson, a former 33rd-overall draft pick. That year, they also brought in Troy Edwards, a former first-round pick of the Steelers. Both Johnson and Edwards were out of the league before the end of 2005.
Of the names already mentioned, the only one who has truly had success in Jacksonville the past five years is, well, Smith. Williams and Jones are still on the roster, as is Lewis. But none has ever reached 650 yards receiving on a season.
Naturally, the Jaguars’ response this year was to bring in yet more under-producing talent. They traded a sixth-round selection to Minnesota in exchange for former seventh-overall pick Troy Williamson, a swift downfield threat if not for the fact that he practically plays with his hands in his pockets. The Jags also ponied up big doe for Oakland’s proverbial malcontent, Jerry Porter. The uniquely gifted Porter has been a potential breakout prospect for seemingly all nine years of his career.
But since amassing more than 1,400 combined yards receiving in ’04 and ’05, Porter has made headlines more for his attitude than production (neither of which have been very good).
Jack Del Rio declared Porter to be the team’s best receiver even before the veteran set foot on the field. The hope is that a chance to play for a winning club – and in Dirk Koetter’s system – will rejuvenate the wideout. If it does, Porter will be the club’s first 1,000-yard receiver since Jimmy Smith. If it doesn’t, then he will have proven himself as a true Jaguar wideout.