Jacksonville Jaguars: Laviska Shenault poised for big breakout

Over the course of the last six months, most of the attention paid to the Jacksonville Jaguars has been directed at Trevor Lawrence, Tim Tebow, Travis Etienne, new head coach Urban Meyer, and a number of other key offseason acquisitions. It’s understandable, given all the change going on in Jacksonville, that not many national voices are talking about second-year player Laviska Shenault, who is in line to be one of the NFL’s top breakout players in 2021.

Shenault was hyped up prior to the 2019 college football season as a possible early first-round pick. Some felt like his game was reminiscent of players like Julio Jones after his 2018 campaign at Colorado where he had 1,126 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns.

Shenault did everything but stitch the jerseys for Colorado that season, lining up as a receiver, running back, h-back, tight end, “wildcat” quarterback — you name it. He was all over the field making plays. Unfortunately, he struggled through injuries and inconsistent QB play in 2019 and his numbers took a slight dip.

It was perhaps his injury history that caused him to fall out of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but Shenault was a fantastic value in the second round regardless of his dealings with injuries.

Shenault was the 42nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and wound up having a very fun rookie season for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Playing in 14 games, Shenault touched the ball 76 times and had 691 yards from scrimmage as well as five total touchdowns.

He was one of the best rookie receivers in the NFL at forcing missed tackles and was also tremendous in the contested catch department.

Although the Jacksonville Jaguars found ways to get Shenault the ball plenty in his rookie season, he’s clearly ready for an expanded role in year two. The Jaguars now have Trevor Lawrence under center at the quarterback position and Urban Meyer will work with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to ensure that Shenault is highlighted on a weekly basis.

The Jaguars have a number of weapons offensively that can create in the open field, but Shenault has a rare combination of size, speed, and physicality as a runner after the catch that really makes him special.

As long as he is healthy, he’s going to be one of the most dangerous young receivers in the league.