Who was the Jags’ unsung hero from 2021 season?

Jamal Agnew, who scored on the ground, through the air and as a returner this season, was among the team’s most underrated players.

The Jacksonville Jaguars were far from aggressive spenders in free agency last offseason despite possessing the most salary-cap space in the entire league, but they did add a handful of guys who were expected to be major contributors. Players like Marvin Jones Jr., Shaquill Griffin, and Roy Robertson-Harris all had varying levels of efficacy this year, but none of them had the biggest impact among the new additions.

That honor goes to receiver and return specialist Jamal Agnew, according to NFL Network’s Nick Shook, who listed Agnew as Jacksonville’s unsung hero in 2021. The former Detroit Lion was brought in as a returner, but with D.J. Chark Jr.’s season ending prematurely with a broken ankle, Agnew saw some snaps on offense before suffering a season-ending injury himself.

Agnew didn’t play a full season and didn’t see a massive volume of touches in 2021, but he was certainly explosive, reaching 15-plus miles per hour on 22 special teams touches (tied for the 12th-most such occurrences in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats). Agnew found the end zone in three different scenarios — as a rusher, a receiver and a returner — and provided sparks for the talent-poor Jaguars in a difficult season.

Agnew scored twice on returns, once on a kick return in Week 2 and again on a kick-six the following week. In the passing game, he totaled 229 yards and a touchdown on 24 catches. His addition was often overlooked this past offseason, but the converted corner had to do it all for the Jags this season.

His return in 2022 should shore up Jacksonville’s return game, but it will also give the team an option at receiver if things get desperate once again.

Jamal Agnew gets Jags on the board with longest WR rush in franchise history

Jamal Agnew continues to impress with his speed and got the Jags on the board after the team was previously struggling.

The Jacksonville Jaguars got off to a terrible start Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts and found themselves down 17-0 after just a few drives. With the offense struggling, they decided to get creative and put Jamal Agnew in the backfield — and it turned out to be the best decision of the day.

After taking a handoff from quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Agnew ran to the left of the formation and used his blazing speed to turn in a 66-yard rush for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the extra-point attempt afterward was missed, but the Jags at least got on the board and moved the score to 17-6.

Agnew made history with his touchdown as it marked the longest rush by a receiver in franchise history. It also was the longest rush by a receiver in the NFL since 2016, when Tyreek Hill was able to turn in a long rush, too.

Since the touchdown neither team has been able to score and the defenses have seemingly settled down. However, if the Jags can continue to be creative with Agnew, maybe they can change that trend sooner than later.

Jamal Agnew becoming acclimated to new role in Jacksonville

Jags receiver/returner Jamal Agnew discussed his expanding role in the passing game.

Outside of quarterback Trevor Lawrence and perhaps leading receiver Marvin Jones Jr., it’s hard to argue that any of Jacksonville’s offseason pickups have proven to be more successful than the addition of receiver and return specialist Jamal Agnew.

Agnew didn’t wait long to make an impact with the Jaguars, as he already has two 100+ yard touchdown returns, including one on a kick-six. But since receiver DJ Chark Jr. was lost for the season, Agnew has become the team’s No. 3 receiver, and he’s been solidly productive.

In his first start in the win over the Dolphins, Agnew totaled five catches for 78 yards. He has already set a career-high in receiving this year, and his role should only expand from here.

Agnew began his career as a cornerback, where he played in addition to returner for his first three years in Detroit. However, under current Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell with the Lions in 2020, he made the switch from cornerback to receiver.

He told Pro Football Focus that his interest in signing with the Jags stemmed from a familiarity with Bevell’s system and the opportunity to see more action at receiver.

“Bevell’s probably one of the biggest reasons why I came here,” Agnew said. “I’m a pretty confident guy, and I always knew I could find myself a role and excel on the offensive side of the ball. That was probably my biggest decision-making in free agency, was going somewhere where I didn’t have to learn a whole new playbook. Obviously, the offensive playbook is super complex compared to the defensive side of the ball, so when I saw Bevell got the job out here and they really needed to fill a void in the special teams, I was like Jacksonville’s my top priority.”

At just 26 years old and with less than two full seasons at receiver under his belt, Agnew’s potential is through the roof. He’s continuing to develop every week, and he said that he has the skillset to be an elite player at receiver, not just returner (he leads the league in touchdown returns since 2017).

“I want to be one of the best in the league,” Agnew said. “I feel like I’m still learning and I’m still new to the position. I mean, I’ve really only been playing it for a year and a half and I feel like I’ve progressed a lot, but I feel like I could be so much better.”

With Chark out for the rest of the season, the team needs someone to step up at the receiver position. The early indications are that Agnew has the skillset to be that guy, and if he continues to get better as fans have witnessed, 2021 could easily be Agnew’s best season since entering the NFL.

Jamal Agnew snubbed by Pro Football Focus 1st-quarter All-Pro team

Agnew has the most return touchdowns in the league right now, but he’s currently listed as a Second-Teamer by PFF.

Jacksonville made a lot of offseason changes to its roster, but it’d be hard to argue that any of them have panned out better than the addition of return specialist Jamal Agnew.

He had five return touchdowns in his four seasons with Detroit, and the Jags hoped he would bring an element of explosiveness to special teams that has been sorely lacking.

Mission accomplished.

In four games, Agnew already has two scores on the season from returns. The first came against Denver in Week 2 when he returned a kickoff 102-yards to paydirt, and the second came on a kick-six in Week 3 against the Cardinals. Agnew’s 109-yard return on that play ties for the longest play in NFL history.

He’s one of the few aspects of this team that could qualify as elite, and it’d be hard to argue that he hasn’t been the most valuable returner in football this year. Pro Football Focus is going to try to, though.

In its first-quarter All-Pro list, Agnew was snubbed from the First Team in favor of Washington’s DeAndre Carter. There have only been two kick return touchdowns in the NFL this season, and Carter and Agnew account for them.

But PFF must not be taking into account the kick-six, because otherwise, it’s hard to see how Carter would be the First-Teamer here while Agnew occupies the Second Team spot, considering the latter has one more touchdown on returns.

Jacksonville certainly hasn’t inspired a lot of confidence this season, but the return game has been one of the few areas that is an actual strength relative to the rest of the league. If Agnew continues on this path, he should notch his second career First-Team All-Pro recognition.

Jags Week 3 Player of the Game vs. Cardinals: KR Jamal Agnew

With Jamal Agnew playing like an All-Pro returner for the 2021 season, it’s only fair that we name him Player of the Week for the second straight time.


For Jacksonville Jaguars fans, Week 3’s game against the Arizona Cardinals was a roller coaster of emotions, but the biggest moment came almost right before halftime. With veteran kicker Matt Prater set to attempt a 68-yard field goal, the Jags had veteran returner Jamal Agnew wait in the end zone and the highlight that followed resulted in history being made at TIAA Bank Field. 

For those who missed it, Agnew came up with a clutch touchdown by registering a 109-yard return, which ties the longest in NFL history. This comes a week after he was the first player since Marqise Lee (2016) to return a kickoff at TIAA Bank Field. We’ve discussed the importance of Agnew’s abilities on special teams, but this week, the veteran further proved the point. 

Despite the team’s loss, Agnew came up big for the Jags in a key moment and made history for Jacksonville. For that reason, it feels only right to make him Player of the Game for the second consecutive week. 

When the Jags signed Agnew back in the spring and protected him during training camp, many fans wondered what plans Urban Meyer could have had for him. At present day, it’s clear what he saw in the veteran. In this particular instance, Agnew took advantage of various offensive linemen and tight ends being on the field and simply outran the competition with his 4.3 speed.

Once the play was over, he became only the third player in NFL history to score a 109-yard touchdown. It also happens to be the longest play in franchise history.

Most would agree that the team’s ultimate enemy so far has been themselves, and this young group has some work to do in order to secure some wins. But in just three games this season, Agnew has already made a statement and has proven himself to be a threat every play he is on the field. If this performance continues, and if Trevor Lawrence and the offense can get on their feet, this team has a chance to score with the best of them heading forward.