Reliable Bryan Walters was injury insurance for Jaguars receivers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Normally, the release of a team's fifth receiver with only 56 catches over two seasons wouldn't warrant anything more than a sentence or two, but the Jacksonville Jaguars' decision to part ways with Bryan Walters could have a bigger effect than it first appears.

Over the past two seasons Walters was inactive for seven games, missed two with a concussion, and missed two others because he was twice cut and re-signed a couple days later. He appeared in 21 games and was targeted 79 times, so he clearly wasn't atop quarterback Blake Bortles' option list.

But Bortles had a lot of success when he did target Walters. Bortles completed 75.7 percent of his throws to Walters, his highest completion percentage to Jaguars wide receivers. His passer rating of 112.4 when throwing to Walters was his second-highest when throwing to a Jaguars wide receiver (only his rating of 125.4 when throwing to Arrelious Benn was higher).

Walters also was one of Bortles' most reliable targets. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Walters had just one drop on 74 targets (56 catches). Tight end Marcedes Lewis (66 targets), running back Chris Ivory (27 targets) and tight end Ben Koyack (24 targets) are the only other Jaguars players targeted more than 10 times with only one drop.

Walters, whom the Jaguars released from IR (foot) with an injury settlement earlier Wednesday, would have had to battle Rashad Greene to remain the Jaguars' fifth receiver behind Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns, and fourth-round pick Dede Westbrook, so he certainly wasn't a lock to make the roster in 2017. His reliability in that role, however, could be missed.