Jaguars wide receiver Mike Walker has had a rough year.
First, he sustained an injury early in the 2007 season and was placed on injured reserve for his rookie season.
Then, at the start of this past season he suffered the losses of both his father and his best friend.
It has been a rough year indeed.
To add injury to, well, injury, Walker sustained a season-ending injury to his good knee against Pittsburgh after having the two best games of his career back-to-back.
Now that had to be depressing.
But there is a ray of light shining for Walker, a ray of light that comes in the form of the release of Matt Jones.
After releasing Jerry Porter, allowing Reggie Williams to depart in free agency and now releasing Jones, the path to the No. 1 receiver spot is wide open.
Throughout his career, Walker has shone flashes on the practice field and last season, on the playing field as well.
Do I think Walker will be the No. 1 receiver at the start of the season? No, probably not. However, I do think that the Jags have an opportunity on their hands.
As the situation stands now, if the season season started today, the starting wide receivers would be Walker and Dennis Northcutt.
Now, I doubt it'll stay that way for much longer because the Jags fully intend to address the receiver position in the draft and in free agency. However, this does give Walker a significant opportunity to make his case for a starting job alongside a veteran like, say, Torry Holt.
If the Jags were to sign Holt, then Walker would probably, by virtue of being the best remaining receiver on the roster, still be a starter.
Northcutt is a good player, but works best out of the slot and doesn't have real big play ability.
If Walker really wants to hang on to that starting spot he'll have to prove himself in the off-season and in training camp because the Jags will probably address the wide receiver position in the draft.
If the Jags draft a young, fast, eager receiver who effectively proves himself he could very well take the job that Walker is currently vying for.
Walker believes that given a good, healthy year and a veteran to study under, he can be the team's real legitimate number one for many years to come.
Whether or not he actually becomes that player is yet to be seen. In any case, nobody here in Jacksonville would have a problem with the second coming of Jimmy Smith.