Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Cecil Shorts III and Justin Blackmon proved themselves to be playmakers in 2012.
The Jaguars have been looking for playmakers at wide receiver since Jimmy Smith retired in 2006.
They may have finally found those players in Cecil Shorts III and Justin Blackmon, who both had great seasons.
Shorts came out of nowhere during his sophomore season to become the explosive deep-ball threat the Jaguars have been missing. He led the team with 979 yards and seven touchdowns. Shorts' 17 receptions of at least 20 yards ranked him ninth in the NFL.
Shorts was on pace to be the team's first 1,000-yard receiver since Smith, but the Jaguars placed Shorts on injured reserve after he suffered his second concussion in a month against the Patriots in Week 16.
Blackmon finished the season strong after a sluggish start to his rookie campaign. He had just 26 catches for 250 yards and one touchdown through his first nine games.
Blackmon eventually became the player the Jaguars hoped he would be when they made him the fifth selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. Blackmon caught 38 passes for 615 yards and four touchdowns during the final seven games, including a monstrous 236-yard performance again the Texans in Week 11. His 64 receptions led all NFL rookies.
Blackmon's rookie season was the best of any rookie receiver in Jaguars history. He finished with the team's rookie records in receptions, receiving yards (865), and average yards per reception (13.5). He tied Matt Jones for most rookie receiving touchdowns with five.
Shorts and Blackmon were the first pair of Jaguars receivers to each break 800 yards in a season since the tandem of Smith and Keenan McCardell did so in 2001.
Wide receivers have been a weakness for the Jaguars for years, but with the emergence of Shorts and Blackmon, it may be the only position that doesn't need serious rebuilding.