By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
Cecil Shorts has bought into what Gus Bradley is selling to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Maybe that is why the third year pro from Mount Union is enjoying his best training camp since joining the franchise.
Shorts, the Jaguars main weapon in the passing attack has caught nearly everything that has been thrown his way so far, drawing rave reviews from Bradley, wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan and the local media. It seems as Shorts goes, so will the passing offense for this team.
His production in training camp has been so impressive, rookie Ace Sanders is using the “Shorts” model as a way to prepare himself in camp as well.
Not a bad role model.
Shorts is one of the bright spots of the Gene Smith era, one where few remain on the active roster and few has made a lasting impression on the franchise (a positive one).
But with Eugene Monroe, Blaine Gabbert, Justin Blackmon and Luke Joeckel as the past four first round picks by this franchise, it could be argued Shorts, a fourth round selection in 2011, will surpass them all. And I can say right now he is the best receiver this team has had since Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell were roaming the outside lanes of the field.
The Jaguars this year need another huge season from their star for various reasons. Whether it is Justin Blackmon’s injury and impending suspension or the lukewarm play of Mohamed Massaquoi or the surprising display by Mike Brown and Tobias Palmer, it is Shorts who this team looks to as a catalyst.
And all he does is deliver.
When I see him on the field and how he spreads himself across the middle or out on a go route, I see some Keenan McCardell in him with more speed. If Shorts is even half as good as the former Jaguars great, then this team has a real find. A player who can spread the defensive backs and spread the defense is always welcome in the NFL. And lord knows the Jaguars want him to be their guy moving forward.
If the training camp is any indication of the season ahead, pencil Shorts in for 85 catches and 1,200 yards. There looks like nothing can stop him. And even if they did, it would be for a short time. Because when a player is that fast and skilled, you want to use him in every opportunity you have.
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