Scouts Inc: Ranking David Garrard's targets
July, 19, 2010
By Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson | ESPN.com
Getty Images, US PresswireExpectations are high for second-year players Zach Miller, left, and Mike Thomas.After Mike Sims-Walker and Maurice Jones-Drew, who are Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard’s prime pass-receiving options and how do they rank?
I am very high on the Jaguars’ supporting cast of pass-catchers, even though it’s green.
Jarett Dillard is a very solid all-around young wideout who doesn’t excel in any specific area but isn’t deficient in any department, either. He could survive in this league for a long time. Along those lines, Marcedes Lewis is an underrated player. He is an exceptional blocker. But for the sake of this discussion, Lewis is just a slow-twitch target with good hands and a big body who can provide a safety blanket or dump-down option not all that far from the line of scrimmage. While he is running out of chances, receiver Troy Williamson also could surprise as a down-the-field option for the strong-armed Garrard.
Granted, that doesn’t sound like much to be excited about, but Jacksonville has two receivers who are entering their second seasons whom I expect to step up in a huge way in 2010: Mike Thomas and Zach Miller.
Miller, a second-year prospect, is an exceptional complement to the plodding Lewis at the tight end position. Miller -- not to be confused with the Oakland Raiders tight end of the same name -- can run. Jacksonville would be wise to use a lot more two-tight end sets, often detaching Miller from the formation and using him from a variety of spots on the field.
Miller is adjusting to this game at its highest level after playing quarterback at Nebraska-Omaha. He is a superb athlete for a tight end. He also did flash some productive outings to finish up his 2009 rookie season. Miller can create mismatches. He can be a playmaker in any offense.
But Thomas is my guy. I really like this second-year wide receiver. A four-year starter for the University of Arizona, Thomas was ultraproductive in the Pac-10. At 5-foot-8 and 198 pounds, he’s not the biggest guy around. However, Thomas understands how to play the position and make plays.
Despite his size, he is physical and very aggressive. I hesitate to make this comparison, but Thomas has a lot of the same qualities as the Carolina Panthers’ Steve Smith. Don’t be surprised when you see more and more from Thomas that reminds you of Smith, who I still consider an elite wideout in this league. I am not exaggerating. Thomas is the real deal and he is capable of salvaging this passing game.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.