In most circles, the wide receiver group was among the strongest position groups in terms of talent in the 2020 NFL Draft. Six receivers were picked in the first round alone, with 11 being picked before pick No. 50.
But through the first week of NFL games, only one single receiver from the highly-regarded group has scored a touchdown: Jacksonville Jaguars rookie receiver Laviska Shenault.
Shenault, the No. 42 overall pick in April, caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Gardner Minshew II in the second quarter of Sunday's 27-20 home win over the Indianapolis Colts. Shenault finished his NFL debut with three catches for 37 yards (12.3 average) and one touchdown, while also carrying the ball twice for 10 yards. 17% of Jacksonville's offensive yards game from Shenault on Sunday.
"But the one thing I knew, when he got the underneath crossing route caught, he’s such a physical guy, a big strong receiver that I really felt like, ‘Hey listen, it’s going to be hard to tackle this guy,’ going into the season because we haven’t done any live tackling in that situation," head coach Doug Marrone said after the game.
Shenault was the ninth receiver drafted in April and the third drafted in the second round. The receivers drafted before him had the following production figures in their NFL debuts:
- Henry Ruggs III: three receptions for 55 yards.
- Jerry Jeudy: four receptions for 56 yards.
- CeeDee Lamb: five receptions for 59 yards.
- Jalen Reagor: one reception for 55 yards.
- Justin Jefferson: two receptions for 26 yards.
- Brandon Aiyuk: inactive.
- Tee Higgins: no catches.
- Michael Pittman Jr.: two receptions for 10 yards.
Aside from his touchdown grab, Shenault also had an 18-yard reception on a wheel route in which he did a great job of tracking the ball. The play was Jacksonville's third-biggest on offense all day.
"I think he made a really good play on the sideline with the big gain, that was a tough catch," Marrone said. "He turned his body around, caught the ball, so it’s good. I think he’s a guy that can do a lot of different things."