Last season, Gardner Minshew took the league by storm throwing for 21 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. To add to that, he threw for over 3,000 yards in the 14 games he played in. Not only did he lead the way to Minshew Mania, but he gave the Jaguars fan base some bright hope for the future.
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After all, Jaguars fans need hope, after the Jags traded away Jalen Ramsey last season, as well as A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell this offseason. With potentially the league's least talented roster heading into 2020, the Jags are the favorite to win the first overall pick in next year’s draft; however, if Gardner Minshew can break out next season, Trevor Lawrence may not be on his way to Florida.
So why would Minshew break out next season? For starters, Minshew was super productive last year, especially for a late round quarterback. Also Minshew has all the tools around him that he needs to take that next step.
Starting with the wide receivers, Minshew has not two, not three, but four legitimate wide receivers who can make an impact. DJ Chark headlines the group after a 1,000 yard, 8 touchdown season, as well as a Pro Bowl appearance a year ago. Chris Conley is also a great option after Conley had 47 receptions for 775 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2019.
Plus, Dede Westbrook, after 66 catches, 660 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns a season ago, established himself as a dependable wideout for Minshew to throw to. On top of the trio of receivers the Jags are bringing back in 2020, Jacksonville invested a second round pick on Colorado wideout Laviska Shenault Jr. Shenault had first round talent, but dropped into the second round after getting injured. Shenault is one of the best playmakers to come out of this years’ strong wide receiving class and will add an outstanding target in Minshew’s arsenal.
Also, Leonard Fournette, depending on if the Jags don’t move him, is a solid running back that Minshew can count on to move the chains. Fournette had over a thousand rushing yards last season and he had 9 rushing touchdowns in his rookie year, proving that he can be an elite red zone rusher that will take some stress off of Minshew’s plate.
On top of Minshew’s strong backfield and good wide receiving corps, Minshew has one of the league’s most underrated red zone threats in tight end Tyler Eifert. If Eifert is able to stay healthy, which has been a problem throughout his career, he will be highly productive in the red zone. Maybe his 13 touchdown season in 2015 is out of the question, but 5 or 6 touchdowns under a full 16 game season could be doable for the former Pro Bowler.
Yet, the one concern offensively in Jacksonville is the offensive line. Cam Robinson, Jawaan Taylor, and Andrew Norwell headline one of the league's worst offensive lines. Yet, if Jacksonville’s young offensive line can improve in 2020, Minshew should have enough time in the pocket to utilize his big play threats all over the field.
With a solid running game, a great group of wide receivers, a red zone specialist at tight end, and an offensive line that should improve in 2020, look for Minshew’s passing yards, passing touchdowns, and efficiency to all increase, leading Minshew to have a breakout season.