Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
After struggling as a rookie in 2011, Cecil Shorts III was the breakout star of the team last year.
He became a big play threat and led the team with 979 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He was on pace to become the first Jaguars receiver to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark in a season since Jimmy Smith did so in 2005, but he was forced onto injured reserve after suffering two concussions in a month.
The 21 yards he needed to break 1,000 has acted as motivation for Shorts so far this offseason, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com.
Shorts said, via Oehser:
“I still feel like I have something to prove,” he said. “That’s just how I’ve always been. I always play with a chip on my shoulder. I want to prove last season wasn’t a fluke, but really, last season doesn’t mean anything anymore. I want to continue to get better."
The motivations appears to be working as he has continued to raise his game during OTAs and looks to be poised to make the Pro Bowl, per Oehser.
While it's too early to definitively say that yet, Shorts will be the Jaguars' primary target on the outside this season. He will likely command double-teams by opposing defenses, which may cause his numbers to drop, but it would free up other receivers.
Shorts is at the top of a group of receivers with something to prove in Jacksonville, and he could take the next step into one of the league's elite pass-catchers in 2013.