By trading Dennis Northcutt to the Detroit Lions for safety Gerald Alexander, the Jacksonville Jaguars added much needed depth at one position while leaving another unit depleted of veteran talent. Behind Torry Holt, the Jaguars depth chart tends to get a bit murky.
Many fans applauded the trade because Northcutt was never embraced in Jacksonville. His inability to win the fans over was the result of one dropped pass in the playoff loss in New England back in 2007. Aside from the infamous drop, Northcutt proved to be a reliable receiver for David Garrard.
With Northcutt out of the picture, the second most experienced receiver currently on the roster is Troy Williamson.
Williamson was an afterthought last season, and it seems unlikely that he will ascend the depth chart in any meaningful way this year. The former first-round draft pick has never lived up to his draft pedigree. With less than 1,100 yards receiving over a four-year career, Williamson is the second most productive receiver on the team right now.
Those statistics hardly inspire confidence that things will be fine.
The only other receiver currently on the roster with a single catch in the National Football League is Mike Walker.
Sixteen catches for 217 yards. Those are career statistics.
It only gets worse from there as no other receiver has a single reception in the NFL.
With a serious lack of experience aside from Holt, the Jaguars will need to have an eye on the waiver wire to see what shakes out over the next several weeks.
The first player to come up on the Jaguars' radar is Roscoe Parrish.
If the Jaguars were to pursue Parrish, he would wind up being the third most productive receiver on the roster. Again, this is hardly the thing legends are made of. Trading for his services seems somewhat unlikely due to the fact that he will probably wind up being released at some point.
The Jaguars could certainly roll the dice and go with the current group of receivers. This seems to be the least appealing option for the team as they continue the rebuilding process. Putting everything on such an inexperienced wide receiver corps would be nearly the equivalent to surrendering the 2009 season.
Sure, the team might have struck gold with at least one of their recent draft picks. History tends to indicate otherwise as rookie receivers struggle more often than not to succeed initially. There are rare occasions when a rookie will arrive on the scene and immediately have an impact for a team.
Receivers normally require adequate transition time to get acclimated to the NFL. Adjusting to the speed and physical nature of the league can often be an obstacle too difficult to overcome. Williamson is a perfect example of a player struggling with the game at the next level.
Some players never make the move and wind up with pedestrian statistics and a bust label to show for their effort. Some rise to the challenge and find their way in the league. It is literally a roll of the dice.
So, putting high expectations on a young group of receivers to all hit the ground running for the Jaguars seems unrealistic. With Holt nursing a knee that will never be anything close to fully recovered, the team is putting a lot of pressure on young, inexperienced receivers to carry the burden.
History does not side with the Jaguars on this.
Trading Northcutt was a business decision based on a player being dissatisfied with his situation and hoping to get an opportunity elsewhere. Northcutt was certainly not a receiver that would be considered a play maker, but he was solid enough with his production that his presence will be missed for this group.
If Holt and Walker can both stay healthy and be as productive as the team hopes, things will be much better for the younger receivers. However, if either of the starting receivers stumble, the passing game could be in serious trouble in 2009.
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