Jaguars trade WR Shenault to Panthers for 2023 draft pick

Jacksonville Jaguars' Laviska Shenault Jr. returns a punt during the first half of an NFL...
Jacksonville Jaguars' Laviska Shenault Jr. returns a punt during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)(Gary McCullough | AP)
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Receiver Laviska Shenault, a second-round draft pick in 2020, is getting a fresh start in Carolina.

The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Shenault to the Panthers on Monday for an undisclosed draft pick in 2023.

It’s the second trade in a year between the teams involving early round picks. Jacksonville sent troubled cornerback C.J. Henderson to Carolina last September for tight end Dan Arnold and a fifth-round pick in 2022. Henderson was the ninth overall pick in 2020.

So now Jacksonville has dumped two of its top three selections that year on Carolina, which already has helped Henderson made huge strides as a professional.

Shenault opened training camp in a tight battle for a roster spot despite catching 121 passes for 1,219 yards and five touchdowns during his first two NFL seasons. The Jaguars signed receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones in free agency and liked what they saw from Tim Jones in the preseason.

Moving to Carolina will give Shenault a fourth head coach, fourth offensive coordinator and fourth receivers coach in three years.

“In this game of football, excuses are the No. 1 no-no,” Shenault said earlier this month. “At the same time, it has been a long two years and a lot of different things have happened. But we’re focused on this year. There’s a lot of high hopes, a lot of great things, a lot of great motivation. The vibes are up.”

A hamstring injury slowed Shenault during voluntary workouts in the spring and again early in training camp. And that’s an issue for a specialty receiver whose role had been tweaked to be roughly eight to 10 plays a game.

Shenault lacks the speed to be a typical X or Z wideout or to be much of a threat out of the backfield, a la San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel. He also doesn’t return kicks and has played just 11 snaps of special teams in two seasons.

The 42nd overall pick in 2020, Shenault caught 58 passes for 600 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games as a rookie. He also ran 18 times for 91 yards. He had 63 receptions for 619 yards last year as well as 11 carries for 41 yards.

But he also led the team in drops with eight in 2021 and was the subject of trade rumors after Jacksonville spent nearly $60 million guaranteed to land Kirk, Jones and tight Evan Engram in free agency.

Shenault responded by hiring a speed coach in the offseason and tweaking his workout routine to focus less on lifting and more on movement.