One of the best thing about the first week of OTAs for the Jacksonville Jaguars was the news that rookie defensive back Jalen Ramsey would only be out of action until training camp.
Even bigger news was the fact that wide receiver Marqise Lee made it through the first three days without an injury to his hamstring or any other part of his body.
Finally time to make his mark?
There is a bit of sarcasm with those comments, however there may not be another enigma on this roster than the former USC star.
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In a body full of promise, speed and potential, Lee has not been able to stay healthy enough to show he was a steal in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Given the fact that both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns have emerged as two of the best young pass catchers in the league, there is plenty of work to do if Lee is to become one of the go-to guys in this offense.
And with the guidance of offensive coordinator Greg Olson, this is a team that could be better than the 10th ranked offense in the league last year. Lee just needs a chance and the ability to stay healthy.
There could be a fight for the No. 3 wide receiver position in Jacksonville.
Lee will be pushed by second year pro Rashad Greene, but if you look at the depth and who may or not be a contributor, wideouts will have a significant role – with Greene the team’s top return specialist.
“His speed and explosiveness are on a different level than what the other receivers have, so if he's able to make it through organized team activities, minicamp, training camp, and the preseason healthy -- and that's a huge if considering his history -- he most likely will be the No. 3 receiver. " - Mike DiRocco's thoughts on Lee
Lee has spent more time in the training room than on the practice fields since being drafted in 2014.
Jaguars offensive co-ordinator Greg Olson even referred to him as the “albino elephant” or the guy you know is there but you never see him.
It was catchy and done so in a joking nature. But those jokes have lead to Lee acknowledging it himself and agreeing he needs to be more involved in the offense.
The Jaguars even commented that they may have given Lee too much to handle while recovering from his injuries in his rookie season.
Now that he has caught up and knows his role, there is a chance 2016 could be his breakout season – which in the third year of a rookie contract could be his last time to shine.
A stand out candidate
Lee’s top end speed is what separates him from everyone else on this roster.
Robinson and Hurns are big receivers who have good speed, but not break-away wheels, when Lee catches the ball in the open field, his ability to shed tacklers and outrun defensive backs makes him a perfect addition in the slot.
While there are many pundits who think the Jaguars will be much improved on defense, the offense – with the addition of Chris Ivory, a better offensive line, and a healthy Lee – could be even more imposing for the rest of the NFL.
It may only be a OTAs, but it’s a start.
Reports from the Jaguars early practises note that they have seen Lee out there, catching footballs, talking to quarterback Blake Bortles and is a participant in practice drills.
That news might be the most important news Jaguars' fans have heard all offseason.
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