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NFL Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars: Cecil Shorts Ready to Break Out in 2013

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

2012 wasn’t a season of victories for the Jacksonville Jaguars - moral nor literal. Not having much to celebrate over, it is tough to pick out a few highlights to build on if you’re the Jacksonville front office.

One of the pleasant surprises was the play of second year wide receiver Cecil Shorts. In 14 games last season, Shorts caught 55 passes for 979 yards and seven touchdowns. With the somewhat disappointment coming from rookie Justin Blackmon, Shorts provided the offense with the legitimate wide receiver that they needed.

The most astounding stat coming from Shorts last season was his overwhelming 17.8 yards per catch. Coming up just short of a 1,000 yard season on 55 catches in his second year is something to take notice of. In his rookie season, he only caught a total of two passes – quite the difference just a season can make.

This season, knowing they have an established, young wide receiver, the Jaguars offensive scheme should revolve first around running back Maurice Jones-Drew and secondly around Shorts. Keeping the defense honest with the running game of Jones-Drew will be key to Shorts’ potential success in 2013. If the Jaguars can get Jones-Drew going after coming off an injury, it will do wonders for Shorts.

Of course Jaguars fans are hoping Blackmon pans out into a great wide receiver as well, but for now they know they have a sure thing in Shorts. Now the only question is at the quarterback position. Will Blaine Gabbert be able to succeed in his third opportunity as the starter? If he does not, causing a shake-up at quarterback, this may affect the outcome of Shorts’ season. It will help if the Jaguars can first get solid quarterback play on a consistent basis. If this happens, look for Shorts to continue his breakout career and top the 1,000 yard mark in just his third season.

Ryan Heckman is a Minnesota Timberwolves writer and NFL contributor for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google+