For the first time in several years, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a first-round receiver on their roster. Only this time, it isn't a player they drafted -- it is tryout player-turned-free agent addition Laquon Treadwell.
The Jaguars signed Treadwell on Friday after he impressed head coach Urban Meyer during veteran minicamp as one of four tryout players earlier this week. Now, the former Minnesota Viking and Atlanta Falcon will get his third and potential final chance.
So, what does the signing of Treadwell mean for the Jaguars moving forward? We break it down below.
Treadwell is likely just a training camp body due to the numbers at wide receiver
The addition of Treadwell on the surface isn't overly surprising. He has the type of physical possession receiver skill set that the Jaguars currently don't have much of among its backups. Most of the Jaguars backups are explosive height/weight/speed projects or special teams aces, while Treadwell is a high-floor/low-ceiling depth option as a possession receiver who can haul in catches in the congested areas of the field.
With this in mind, it is hard to see Treadwell cracking the Jaguars' Week 1 roster unless the team suffers a few injuries at the receiver position. The Jaguars already have their starting three receivers locked in with DJ Chark, Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault, while Jamal Agnew can likely be guaranteed a spot as well since he is set to be the team's primary return man.
If the Jaguars are going to carry six receivers, that leaves two spots to be battled for between Collin Johnson, Phillip Dorsett, Jalen Camp, Josh Imatorbhebhe, Pharoh Cooper, and now Treadwell. Johnson and Dorsett should be the two favorites for those spots based on the offseason training program, while Treadwell would likely have a hard time beating out Camp after Camp had a solid offseason and was just a sixth-round pick. Treadwell did enough during his tryout to earn a look during training camp, but it is tough to see him earning a spot on the 53-man roster.
Decision to waive Jon'Vea Johnson is somewhat surprising
If any of the Jaguars' depth wide receivers were going to be waived in favor of adding Treadwell, Jon'Vea Johnson would not have been the consensus pick to be the player on his way out. The Jaguars waived the veteran receiver and former Dallas Cowboy on Friday to make room for Treadwell, ending his tenure with the Jaguars before it could really get going. When looking at all of the available context and evidence, it is a surprising move, even if a non-impact.
Johnson had impressed throughout the Jaguars' offseason training program due to his blend of height, speed and leaping ability. He turned heads with tough grabs on a few different occasions and ultimately he stood out more than players like Josh Hammond or Tim Jones. Plus, he has history with wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal after they spent time together in Dallas.
"It's not a surprise, because we loved his film, but Jon'Vea the last two days, his speed and athleticism and how smooth he is has shown up here – almost a little bit earlier than we thought it would," Lal said in 2019 according to DallasCowboys.com.
The Jaguars were going to have to make a tough release no matter what considering the talent and depth the team possess at receiver, but it is surprising that Johnson was the ultimate odd man out in favor of Treadwell.
Could Jaguars envision a move tight end role for Treadwell? Perhaps, but the chances are slim
When Treadwell's signing was announced, a large number of Jaguars fans immediately had the idea of Treadwell going from a large and lumbering possession receiver to a move tight end, a role that would seem to fit him due to his large frame, size and catch radius. The Jaguars have even toyed with the idea of moving Johnson to tight end before, so the precedent is there for them to make such a move.
"I actually thought of that, we’ve thought about that because athletic tight ends are so hard to find," Meyer said following the 2021 NFL Draft when asked about a potential position switch for Johnson. "That’s why they got paid so much money in free agency. Everybody’s looking for that guy. I just don’t think he’s got — some guys are, Laviska [Shenault] is a bigger, thicker guy — I don’t think he’s got that body type."
So, does Treadwell instead fit that kind of role? While his lack of burning speed and his reputation as a physical receiver would give some inclination to the possibility, it is hard to envision Treadwell in that role. He is big for a receiver, but he doesn't have the pure size to hold up as a tight end, even in a pass-catching role. The Jaguars have also already been impressed by two of their 'F' tight ends in James O'Shaughnessy and Ben Ellefson, who both Meyer and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell have called two of the team's most improved players from last season.
The Jaguars clearly like Treadwell for his size and strong hands, but it is unlikely he is a tight end convert. Instead, look for him to try to carve out a spot as a receiver on the outside.