Falcons kicked tires on Laviska Shenault before trade to Carolina

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Laviska Shenault Jr. will get a fresh start in Carolina after two seasons in Jacksonville. The Panthers gave the Jaguars a 2023 seventh-round pick and a 2024 sixth-rounder for Shenault, but they had competition in their pursuit of him — namely, the Falcons.

The Jaguars selected Shenault in 2020 with the hopes he’d become a do-it-all weapon for the offense. However, he never really took off, totaling 600 receiving yards his rookie season and 619 in 2021 — ¬†121 catches for 1,219 yards and five touchdowns over his career.

The 6-foot-1, 227-pound Shenault is honestly the spitting image of Cordarrelle Patterson, so you can see where the Falcons’ motivation came from. Jacksonville had some success giving him the ball in the backfield — 132 yards on 29 carries. He just never became the big-play threat he was at Colorado. I imagine Atlanta would’ve used him similarly to Patterson — as a running back sparingly and through quick action on passing plays.

Shenault has been criticized for failing to create separation effectively as a boundary receiver, but the physicality he brings as a wideout makes him the perfect candidate for a Patterson/ Deebo Samuel-type role. He’s a hybrid running back/ receiver through and through. It just goes to show that circumstances matter in the NFL.

Suppose he was in Arthur Smith or Kyle Shanahan’s respective systems; who knows where Laviska Shenault’s career would be at this point. I’m not saying he’s more talented than either Patterson or Samuel, but he was undoubtedly underutilized during his time with the Jaguars. Good coaches find ways to accentuate their players’ attributes, which hasn’t happened in a while in Jacksonville.

Photographer: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire
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