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Why Trevor Lawrence Thinks Jaguars WR Christian Kirk is 'Quarterback Friendly'

The Jaguars' new No. 1 receiver is the type of player Trevor Lawrence likes having at his side.

The Jacksonville Jaguars spent big money this March hoping former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk would elevate a passing game that far too often let down rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence last year. 

So far, Lawrence is more than happy with his team's investment.

"He’s great. Just from a football IQ sense, I think he’s really quarterback friendly," Lawrence said on Monday, the first day of Jaguars organized team activities. 

"The way he sees the field, different coverages unfold, the way he runs his routes, I just think he’s quarterback friendly. And then obviously his speed is something that we really needed and it’s going to help us a lot."

Kirk, who the Jaguars signed to a four-year, $72 million deal with $37 million guaranteed in March, is the largest addition the Jaguars made to the offense this season. He will now be asked to lead a room that had just one receiver record more than 620 yards and whose leading receiver caught just 73 passes for 832 yards and four touchdowns. 

As a group, the Jaguars receivers caught just nine touchdowns last season, with nearly half of those coming from Marvin Jones. DJ Chark caught two of the touchdowns -- nearly a quarter of the team's figure -- and he played in just four games.

Now it will be up to Kirk to be the difference-maker the Jaguars didn't have last season. Lawrence struggled to make big plays at a consistent rate last year for a number of reasons, but a lack of playmakers on offense and receivers who could dictate coverage and get open on their own was the biggest one.

Drafted in the second round (No. 47 overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft, Kirk caught 236 passes for 2,902 yards and 17 touchdowns in four seasons in Arizona. This included a career year in 2021 when Kirk was moved to a full-time slot role, with Kirk recording 77 catches for 982 yards and five touchdowns.

"You guys saw today, he can fly and locate a ball, all those things. [He’s] really talented and we get along really well," Lawrence said. 

"Like I said, [we have] similar personalities and demeanors. Really that’s the cool thing is seeing how this staff has built the locker room with the guys that were already here and the new guys we signed. It just seems like we’re all on the same page and everybody’s a team first guy. You don’t have any selfish guys in that locker room which is obviously really important.”

The Jaguars are, of course, in the early phases of their offseason. Pads haven't come on yet, no game plans have been drawn and no opposing teams have lined up across from the Jaguars. 

But for now, the Jaguars are banking on the upside of Kirk and the hope of him providing Lawrence with the kind of target he didn't have as a rookie. Kirk was that kind of weapon for Kyler Murray last season. Now, the Jaguars need him to do it with even more gusto for Lawrence. 

OTAs will be a key part of Lawrence's relationship and building chemistry with Kirk, as well as the rest of the offense. So far, all signs are the two are off to a good start.

"We’ve had a couple different phases now. We’re back into competing against the defense and that’s a little easier to measure because you can put a grade on it, you can say was that successful or not, complete, incomplete, all those things. It’s a little tougher on air," Lawrence said. 

"I think having those few weeks though to prepare and really master the system helps and now, like today, I felt like we were pretty clean. Obviously, you’re going to always have a few things here and there you want to clean up, but I really like where we’re at. I feel like we’re, I don’t want to say ahead of schedule, but I really feel like we’re right where we need to be. The way that [Head Coach] Coach [Doug] Pederson and [Offensive Coordinator] Press [Taylor], all of those, our whole staff has installed the offense really strategically. I really like where we’re at and the guys are picking it up great.”