More pressure on Keenan McCardell with inexperienced Jaguars receivers

Of the receivers Keenan McCardell will oversee, only four¬†have appeared in more than 16 NFL games. David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With the Jacksonville Jaguars releasing receiver Allen Hurns on Tuesday, receivers coach Keenan McCardell is going to be under a lot of pressure again in 2018.

McCardell was arguably the offensive MVP last season when he had to heavily rely on a pair of rookies following the loss of Allen Robinson in the season opener and Hurns for six games late in the season. McCardell turned Keelan Cole, who was undrafted after playing at Kentucky Wesleyan, and fourth-round pick Dede Westbrook, who missed nine games after sports hernia surgery, into reliable options for Blake Bortles.

His job should be a little easier in 2018 -- but not much. Of the Jaguars' 10 receivers, only four have appeared in more than 16 games and only three have more than 400 yards receiving in their careers. Here's a breakdown:

Marqise Lee

Stats: 53 games; 171 catches for 2,166 yards and eight TDs

Lee was the Jaguars' top receiver last season (56 catches, 702 yards, five TDs) and he said last week that he needs to become a better leader and help Cole and Westbrook continue to develop. He's the team's most dependable receiver (something nobody would have predicted after his rash of injuries in his first two seasons), despite having 12 drops over the past two seasons.

Donte Moncrief

Stats: 53 games; 151 catches for 1,875 yards and 18 TDs

The Jaguars are hoping Moncrief, whom they signed to a one-year deal last week, can be the downfield playmaker to replace Robinson. Moncrief has flashed the ability to win 50-50 balls, which is something Robinson did very well. He needs to be more consistent and the Jaguars feel that a stable quarterback situation and a good run game will help him do that.

Jaelen Strong

Stats: 20 games; 31 catches for 330 yards and four TDs

The Jaguars claimed him on waivers from Houston on Sept. 19, but he got hurt in his first practice didn't play in a game until Week 17 against San Francisco. He caught three passes for 38 yards and suffered a torn ACL before going on IR. His best season was his rookie season in 2015, when he caught 14 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns. He'll have to battle to make the team.

Rashad Greene Sr.

Stats: 17 games; 24 catches for 175 yards and 2 TDs

Greene has missed 31 games because of injuries since the Jaguars drafted him in the fifth round in 2015, and he averages just 5.2 yards per catch. He was very good as a punt returner as a rookie (16.0 average on 18 returns, including one for a touchdown) but struggled in 2016 before losing the job. It will be tough for him to make the team.


Stats: 16 games; 42 catches for 748 yards and three TDs

He clearly wasn't ready for the role that was thrust upon him after Robinson was lost on the third snap of the season opener and it took him until November before he finally started to feel comfortable. A couple of troubling signs, though: He cut a route over the middle short to avoid contact and alligator-armed several other passes for the same reason. He only caught three passes for 82 yards in the playoffs, and one of those was a 45-yarder against Pittsburgh.

Jaydon Mickens

Stats: 10 games; 27 catches for 287 yards and one TD

he took over as the punt returner in November and averaged a solid 10.3 yards per return, which included a 63-yarder for a touchdown. He made four of his six catches last season against Houston in December, though two went for touchdowns. He might have to make the team as the punt returner.


Stats: seven games; 27 catches for 339 yards and one TD

Once he got on the field in mid-November, Westbrook flashed some of the traits that made him a Heisman Trophy finalist and Belitnikoff Award winner at Oklahoma in 2016. The Jaguars are counting on him making significant strides in 2018 to emerge as one of the team's top offensive playmakers.

Shane Wynn

Stats: five games; one catch for 19 yards

Wynn had a fantastic preseason but a foot injury landed him on IR before the 2017 season began. He actually has more carries (two) than receptions. The 5-foot-6 Wynn will have a hard time making the roster.

Tevaun Smith

Stats: two games

Smith signed a futures contract with the Jaguars in January. The former eighth overall pick in the 2016 CFL draft by the Edmonton Eskimoes has spent time on the practice squads with Indianapolis, Oakland and the Jaguars

Lamar Atkins

Stats: none

He also signed a reserve futures contract with the Jaguars in January. Atkins was a fullback and key special teams contributor at Louisville (2013-16).