The Jacksonville Jaguars have needed a receiving weapon to break out badly for a long time. Justin Blackmon had nice games here and there during his rookie campaign, but off-field issues continue to plague the top-ten pick and leave his depth-chart spot a question mark.
Step forward Cecil Shorts, who went from little-known fourth-round pick out of a Division III school the year prior to to nearly hitting the 1,000-yard mark with two erratic — to put it nicely — quarterbacks in Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert delivering the balls. Now he hopes to build on that, and it starts with modeling your game after the greats when it comes to training camp.
“You see (Larry Fitzgerald) and how hard he works,” Shorts said, via The Dayton Beach News-Journal. “He just signed a $120-million something dollar contract, and he goes out there and works like he is broke … like he is somebody trying to make the team.
Shorts’ breakout season in 2012 has been covered extensively by Pro Football Focus, noting that he finished eighth in yards per route run in the league. I dug a little bit further into PFF’s stat database, and found that Shorts actually finished tied for third in yards per catch as well, matching the San Diego Chargers‘ Danario Alexander, Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ Vincent Jackson and New Orleans Saints’ Joe Morgan.
“For Shorts to fully emerge and become a true star he will have to cut down on his drops,” wrote PFF’s John Castellane. “He had the third-highest Drop Rate among wide receivers in the league last year, dropping 14.06% of the catchable passes thrown his way. Had he caught just one more of those passes he could have joined Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell as 1,000 yard Jaguars receivers.”