JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars need to find a way to supplement the production of injured wide receiver Allen Hurns.
The veteran suffered an ankle injury in the team's 20-17 overtime win over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10. Hurns was injured late in the fourth quarter and hobbled to the sideline.
He was replaced by first-year wide receiver Jaydon Mickens on the next play. The young receiver was targeted immediately, picking up 11 yards on his first NFL catch.
Despite his inexperience, Mickens showed the wherewithal to sprint toward the sideline after making the catch, preserving much needed seconds on the time clock.
Mickens has only been on the Jaguars' active roster for a month. He has already made a strong impression on offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
"He's an awesome guy, very professional," Hackett said Thursday. "He works at it. So I think that's always something as a coach you get excited about because you can trust that."
Mickens made a name for himself in Week 9 when he returned a punt for a 63-yard touchdown. The play allowed Mickens to find his place on the Jaguars' roster. It may also lead to an even bigger role on offense.
With Hurns out of the lineup, the Jaguars are left with limited options across from fellow starter Marqise Lee.
Mickens, Keelan Cole, Larry Pinkard and Dede Westbrook are all playing in their first NFL regular season.
Mickens has shown the ability to be a playmaker. Hackett may take advantage of his skills with Hurns sidelined.
"His quickness and his ability to adjust in routes and his ability just to pick [the offense] up is really exciting," Hackett said. "He brings another quickness factor that gets you really excited at that position. It's different than some of the other guys that we've had and different than the guys we've had on the field."
Being a unique talent allows Mickens to accomplish what others can't do. If he can stretch the field and pick up chunks of yards at a time, he could find a long-term role on offense.
The next few weeks will be very important for the Jaguars. Mickens' performance during that stretch could determine his opportunities moving forward.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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