In this series of articles, our resident tape wizard Greg Cosell will take an in-depth look at some of the more interesting fantasy players for the 2020 NFL season. It’s a peek behind the curtain of the film room, as these are Greg’s raw, unfiltered notes he takes as he watches a player.
When he came out of LSU as a 4.34 runner who also showed explosiveness in the jumps at the NFL Combine, it was obvious Jaguar WR DJ Chark would be an early pick. But he also might have gotten typecast as kind of a straight-line, deep-threat kind of receiver. While Chark does have those traits, the film shows a more complete player than you might think, and someone who could develop into an awesome NFL receiver.
Chark stats: 73/1008/8 (13.8 YPR, 118 targets)
Chark was the most targeted of the Jaguars’ receivers, leading the team in receptions and yards.
Chark lined up in multiple positions in the Jaguars’ offense, including boundary X. He was also featured at Z at times, with “zin” motion and motion across the formation.
Chark was predominantly an outside receiver, lining up at the #1 in 2x2 sets and 3x1 sets when was on the trips side. Chark also lined up in all three spots in trips bunch.
Chark played some snaps in the slot, which was a function of personnel and formation: his 37-yard TD against the Panthers came out of 12 personnel closed to the boundary/twins to the field with Chark running the deep over route from the slot.
Chark also lined up in the slot at times as the #2 to trips in 11 3x1 sets, and #2 and #3 to trips in empty sets – Chark showcased a lot of alignment versatility both outside and in the slot.
Chark flashed physicality through his vertical route stem to create separation and get on top of corners.
His size, stride length, and speed give Chark a viable vertical dimension to his game. He is a long-legged strider with build-up speed and a second gear.
Chark showed the ability to track the ball well and make tough catches over corners who were in good position.
Chark is effective on slants using his long body to create and maintain position. He showed physicality and competitive toughness.
Chark’s 11-yard TD against the Panthers came from the reduced-split boundary X. It was a smash concept against red zone cover 2 — Chark extended away from his frame to make the catch.
Chark consistently showed the body control and hands to make tough catches away from his frame. He made some tough back-shoulder catches.
Chark’s tendency at boundary X was to run in-breaking routes. He showed some physicality through the route with an understanding of how to use his vertical stem to gain leverage and create separation: two examples are his 31-yard catch against the Panthers and his 34-yard TD against the Colts.
Several of Chark’s big plays against the Panthers came from the boundary X alignment, including an excellent back shoulder catch for 31 yards.
Chark is more straight line and linear as a route runner than quick and sudden. He is not a sink-your-hips/get in-and-out of breaks kind of route runner.
Chark has the speed and stride length to be effective on jet sweeps and orbit reverses. He is also effective on WR screens with his plus run-after-catch.
Chark showed the speed to run away from man coverage when he had free access off the line-of-scrimmage.
34-yard TD against the Colts is an excellent microcosm of Chark as a receiver: clearing press coverage cleanly, using his vertical stem to gain leverage and create separation, tough hands catch, and run-after-catch speed.
I really liked Chark’s tape. He is much more than simply a vertical receiver, showing an understanding of route running and how to attack and break down corners (17-yard catch in the third quarter against the Falcons is a great example).
With more experience and a more consistent offense, I believe Chark has a chance to develop into a higher-level NFL WR who can align in multiple positions.
I am anxious to see Chark in Jay Gruden’s timing-based passing offense. My sense is Chark has the skill set and traits to be effective in any offensive scheme.