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Monday, July 19, 2010
Scouts Inc: Ranking David Garrard's targets

By Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson

Zach Miller and Mike Thomas
Expectations 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 PanthersSteve 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.

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