An ankle injury initially ruled out Lee from a large portion of OTAs. But since returning, the first of the team's two second-round picks this year has been making a positive impression.
Lee has been showcasing skills this passing game desperately needs more of. Specifically, the former USC ace has showcased a star quality no other player at his position on this roster boasts.
Jaguars.com writer John Oehser recently attempted to define that quality:
There have been times during the last week and a half – more times than it maybe is reasonable to have expected – where you watch the second-round draft selection from the University of Southern California, and think, 'This guy has … it.'
And about that 'it…'
Whatever the "it" is Oesher referred to, you usually recognize it when seeing it on the field. For receivers, the quality mostly shows up in the ability to win on the outside and the inside. It's an ability to terrorize defensive backs with speed, strength and smart route-running.
Those are all of the things a legitimate No. 1 receiver must do. But a premier wideout is something the Jags lack. Justin Blackmon's suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy and ongoing off-field troubles have seen to that.
Lee must stay fresh because he has the matchup potential to pose the kind of threat the Jaguars initially envisioned when they drafted Blackmon fifth overall in 2012.
He's obviously not there yet. Indeed, wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan has noted some of the typical rookie inconsistency, per O'Halloran:
#Jaguars WR coach Jerry Sullivan chatted with reporters. Said Marqise Lee was "ordinary" Mon, "very good" Tues. Natural for rookie.
— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) August 6, 2014
But of the current crop of receivers, Lee still represents this team's best hope for a dynamic passing game this season.