JACKSONVILLE – Nine Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Bucky Brooks, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – are breaking down the Jaguars as the 2021 NFL season approaches; today's topic: the offensive player to watch for the Jaguars in '21…
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
Offensive Player to Watch in '21: Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the obvious answer, but I'm going to go with wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. If Shenault can stay healthy, he has a chance to be dominant as a second-year pro. He stood out during minicamp and it appears that the Jaguars will do more than use him as just a gimmick. Shenault has the ability to expand his route tree and go deep. He should be able to do so much more than just catch the ball around the line of scrimmage. With Lawrence in place, I expect him to have a huge year.
Bucky Brooks, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst
Offensive Player to Watch in '21: Lawrence. The rookie quarterback has all the tools to develop into an elite player at the position. Lawrence could dazzle as a young starter in an offense that features a stout offensive line, powerful running game and explosive pass catchers on the perimeter. If he finds his rhythm early in the season, it is easy to envision the rookie quarterback matching the numbers put up by Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert during his 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
Offensive Player to Watch in '21: I think Lawrence will be the Jaguars' Offensive Most Valuable Player in 2021, but I really think second-year running back James Robinson is going to have a huge year. A lot of attention is on rookie running back Travis Etienne Jr. and how the Jaguars will use him. But I think J-Rob, a tireless worker who is in great shape – paired with a legitimate passing game – is a Pro Bowl player waiting to happen. He went over 1,000 yards rushing last year without nearly as much help as he will have this year.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
Offensive Player to Watch in '21: I know this is not a position group, but I hope the Offensive MVP is the Jaguars running game. A young quarterback can do things easier with a running game to take the pressure off. Lawrence is a special player, but even special players need a foundation to help them with success.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
Offensive Player to Watch in '21: The offensive MVP for the Jaguars will be wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. The good thing here is there are plenty of candidates. Chark is in a good place in his life and he's in a contract year. I think he will have a career year with Lawrence throwing him passes, and he will be headed to another Pro Bowl and a rich new contract.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
Offensive Player to Watch in '21: Lawrence. This is the obvious answer, and it's tempting to say the rookie quarterback could be too inexperienced with too many youthful – and understandable – mistakes to be the Most Valuable Offensive Player. But the Jaguars' offense likely will go as Lawrence goes – even during his rookie season. The guess here is he will make enough plays in the passing game to counteract mistakes of youth – and that he will make enough plays with his legs – to define the offense as a rookie. And the guess here is he will be the Jaguars' best offensive player in Year One.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
Offensive Player to Watch in '21: Running back James Robinson. He reminded me of former Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew last season when he led the team in rushing yards despite every defense stacking the line of scrimmage to stop him. Imagine what he can do with consistent quarterback play which can back a defense off the line of scrimmage and give him room to run? I believe Robinson will have a big season thanks to Lawrence and will build on his remarkable rookie season.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
Offensive Player to Watch in '21: Robinson. A 4.5 yards-per-carry average will find a role in any offense in the NFL. All the Jaguars' offensive bells and whistles are great, but if for some reason they are not clicking in a certain game, Robinson is the reliable standby option to keep the offense moving the chain.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
Offensive Player to Watch in '21: Shenault. No one impressed more than this guy throughout organized team activities and minicamp. He put on good weight and accepted the challenge to bring his game to the next level. His body control has improved, and he made some catches in practice that I thought he had no shot at making. All the hype is around Etienne to be that swiss-army-knife type of player. Keep your eyes on Shenault to do it all this year.