Is Jacksonville’s young WR duo best in the NFL?

Second-year wide receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are lifting the Jaguars' offense to new heights.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Is Jacksonville’s young WR duo best in the NFL?

Last season was the year of the rookie receiver.

Players like Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Jordan Matthews, and Jarvis Landry took the league by storm. Incredibly, 15 different receivers had at least 400 receiving yards, including three different ones on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster.

With so many rookies performing well, it was easy to overlook Allen Robinson, who had 48 catches for 548 yards and two touchdowns. Allen Hurns stole some of the spotlight, because he went un-drafted and scored six touchdowns, but he was still only the eighth best rookie receiver in terms of yardage.

Fast forward a year, and some of those receivers have hit the dreaded sophomore slump. Some are playing just as well as they did as rookies, if not a little better. And then there’s the duo of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, who are far exceeding their play from 2014.

Robinson had a slow start to the season with one catch and two drops, but since then, has become one of the most dependable receivers in the league. He’s had a minimum of four catches for 50 yards in each of the last nine games, and only two drops on the year. Robinson continued that trend against Tennessee on Thursday Night Football, with five catches for 113 yards, helping the Jaguars get into field goal range multiple times to stay competitive and eventually topple the Titans.

The 22-year-old Robinson’s overall PFF grade of 88.9 is the eighth best for all receivers, and the best for the 2014 rookie receiver class. His 17.4 yards per catch this season is the most for any receiver with at least 25 catches on the year, and his seven touchdowns are tied for second most among wide receivers.

One of the men he’s tied with at seven receiving touchdowns is his teammate, Allen Hurns.

Hurns came into the game against the Titans with a foot injury, which contributed to less playing times and fewer targets; but on the year, he also has been dependable. When he’s been targeted, Blake Bortles has an NFL passer rating of 117.5, fourth-best for receivers with at least 50 targets. Hurns has chalked up 285 yards on eight deep passes, seventh-most for receivers. The multifaceted nature of his game has helped Hurns achieve an overall PFF grade of 86.1, which is 13th best in the league.

Who would have ever guessed that this second-year tandem in Jacksonville would become one of the best WR duos in the NFL this year? The Jaguars are the only team with two wide receivers with overall grades above 84 (ranked No. 8 and No. 13 overall).

Jacksonville has already exceeded last year’s win total, has one of the best young developing quarterbacks in Bortles, has one of the best young running backs in T.J. Yeldon, and two of the best young wide receivers in the game.

If the Jaguars can piece together a better offensive line, the ingredients are in place to become one of the more preeminent offenses in the NFL.

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • Phil Kloc

    And just imagine if Marquise Lee and Rashad Greene can both reach their full potential. These might not be your father’s Jaguars in a couple years

  • crosseyedlemon

    The good news for both the Jags and Titans is that they are in a division that is waiting for a young team to emerge and claim dominance. Both of these teams have plenty of upside potential and could be solid contenders in a couple of years time.

    • Luke

      I agree, although Jags defence has so many holes, and the O-line is god awful. But I think that if those areas are addressed either in the draft or in free agency, Jags can easily take the AFC South.

      Titans, I’m not so sure. Mariota looks like he could develop into a great qb but as it is now, he makes too many mistakes. He’s talented, but he’s a rookie. I doubt either of these teams take this sorry division, but next year (assuming Luck continues to play like garbage), i can definitely see these teams making a solid argument for being playoff contenders

  • Joe

    I love the WR duo in JAX, good to see a team like the Jags and Raiders finally getting some good spotlight. Still a long way to go to be considered contenders but it really is refreshing to see a recently poor franchise have something to look forward to. I know the article said “one of the best WR duos” but I’d just like to point out that I don’t think there is any better duo than Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. Big Ben is a big part of that obviously, but even the month without him they were still great. I’d probably put Jax at #2 for WR combo as of right now but I am also not writing down the combo of all 32 NFL teams to rank them. GB would be up there with Cobb and Nelson if Nelson were healthy.

    • CarsonHowell

      Agreed, but only Brown is such a monster, though. Can’t contend with him. When he’s on, Julio is the only WR who can match him talent-wise.

  • CarsonHowell

    Jags’ o-line isn’t as bad as the numbers suggest. Bortles admits to holding on to the ball for way too long. He tries to extend plays and gets sacked far more often than he should because he refuses to simply throw the ball away.

    Personnel wise, they have a Jockel at LT who has actually had a pretty decent year, Beadles at LG who has been up and down but who will be replaced by the talented rookie AJ Cann next year. Wis at center got hurt but played like a top 10 center before he did. Linder, RG, got hurt but is a top 10 guard(undoubtedly) when healthy. Parnell we got from the Cowboys is a powerful run blocker but only mediocre in pass pro.

    All in all, the line is young but not hardly “god awful” when healthy.