Being thin at the wide receiver position is never a good thing in the NFL. The Jacksonville Jaguars, in search of depth due to various issues with their current players at the position, are under extra pressure to get help on the outside.
According to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports, Jacksonville is addressing its need for pass-catchers by signing former New York Giants wideout Ramses Barden:
Jaguars are signing WR Ramses Barden, former Giants third-round pick who is still hoping to cash in on big potential.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 6, 2014
The signing came hours after Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union tweeted that Barden was working out for the Jaguars:
Among workout guys on field now is WR Ramses Barden.— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) August 6, 2014
Barden spent the first four years of his career with the Giants, sitting out the 2013 season, generating some buzz in 2012 following a big game against Carolina with nine receptions for 138 yards. That would be as good as things would get for him in New York.
The 28-year-old started just one game during his time in New York, appeared in 29 games and recorded 29 catches for 394 yards and no touchdowns. He signed with the Buffalo Bills in January but was released in late July.
One reason for Barden's inability to have a big breakthrough, despite elite size, his inability to adapt in other areas of the game, as noted by former NFL scout John Middlekauff when asked about the receiver on Twitter:
Despite those numbers in New York, Barden instantly becomes one of Jacksonville's most experienced receivers.
Josh Katzowitz of CBSSports.com highlighted all the injuries and suspensions that have hit all the critical playmakers for the Jaguars this offseason:
With Ace Sanders suspended for the first four games of the season and with 2013 team leader Cecil Shorts out for now with a bum hamstring, the Jaguars announced Friday that second-round draft pick Allen Robinson and free agent pickup Tandon Doss also suffered injuries Thursday and will be out for "an extended period of time."
Crazy uh, SPEED - can't get open or run routes @bigjoedana: You're a Cal Poly guy .. Why hasn't Ramses Barden made it in NFL?— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) August 2, 2014
At the very least, Barden provides Gus Bradley's team with veteran depth. He's not a game-changing talent who will be the safety net for Blake Bortles or Chad Henne, whomever the starter may be when the season commences.
There are, however, worse options to have at your disposal than a 6'6", 224-pound wide receiver who can be a matchup problem in the red zone. We haven't seen that side of Barden yet, but keep in mind he was also playing behind Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle in New York.
Jacksonville will at least provide Barden with a real opportunity to make a difference where the expectations aren't going to be high because the franchise is still in a rebuilding phase. He's still young enough to be a decent NFL player in the right situation.
If Barden can live up to some of his potential, he could be an asset for an offense looking for playmakers at the skill positions. It could also be the first step in a potential career turnaround.
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