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Lawrence Cager Is Loaded With Potential

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Undrafted rookie free agent Lawrence Cager is loaded with potential - and some questions

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Kristian Dyer

a day ago

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There’s a lot to like about undrafted rookie free agent Lawrence Cager, another New York Jets addition over the weekend with a lot to prove but plenty of upside. The Jets signed Cager as an undrafted rookie free agent on Sunday.

Potential is an interesting word around the NFL. Scouts love the term. General managers…not so much. Often times potential means something left unfulfilled or wanting. For Cager, the potential he left on the college football field has nothing to do with wasted effort but rather an untimely injury.

At the time of an ankle injury late last season, Cager led Georgia with 33 catches for 476 yards. He transferred to the program last season after spending his previous three seasons at Miami.

 

At Miami, his performances were a bit underwhelming, his best season coming in 2018 when he had 21 catches for 374 yards and six touchdowns. The situation in Miami wasn’t ideal and a quarterback situation seemingly forever in flux didn’t help matters.

 

Two weeks before he suffered his ankle injury, Cager had seven catches for 132 yards and a touchdown in a 24-17 win over Florida. He followed that up the next week with six catches for 93 yards against Missouri.

At 6’5 and 220 pounds along with a wingspan of 33 3/8 inches, Cager has all the physical tools plus, yes, potential. At Georgia, he showed a different level than at Miami, putting up solid numbers. The question remains injuries as he started just six of nine games and missed the end of the year with that ankle injury.

If Cager is healthy from his ankle surgery late last year – and can stay healthy – he’s an intriguing addition to the wide receiver room. The Jets need bodies at the position and Cager is the type of player who can help move the chains.

He’s fluid in his movement and at Georgia, framed up well against defensive backs. He isn’t a burner but showed last year that he can be a solid piece of the offense.

Cager is football quick and able to get separation down the field.

Cager is a physical wide receiver with an NFL ready frame. He rises well for contested balls. For a wide receiver his size, he also has good body control and awareness. Given these attributes, he can develop possibly into a good red zone option for the Jets.

 

Injuries may have derailed his career to this point, but they are also what landed him here in New York rather than being a draft pick. This is an intriguing rookie free agent for the Jets, one who if the pieces can come together, might be able to contribute. If he can get healthy and stay on the field, then Cager has a chance to make this roster and make a go of it.

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seems like a good bet to at the very least make the practice squad or even get on the opening day roster if he has a good camp

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He is a big man target who I think can help in the red zone if he develops 

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Kid can be a good red zone target.

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This guy liked him.  May need to red shirt him.

Quote

Lawrence Cager WR Georgia

by Drew Boylhart • April 6, 2020

STRENGTHS
Lawrence is a tall, strong, fluid athlete. He has those long strides that make it very difficult for defensive backs to keep up with him despite the fact they may be faster. He has the athletic talent to adjust to the ball in the air and the excellent hands to catch those acrobatic, contested and difficult passes. Lawrence does a good job blocking for his teammates. He is a pass-catching machine in the red zone and will move the chains on third downs but what he brings with him is the ability to catch the deep ball in the air, above his defender when everyone in the stadium knows that the play is going to him. Lawrence is a clever and cagy route runner, using his size when he needs to but mostly, using his long legs and long strides to his advantage also. If a team is looking for a receiver to build your offensive passing game around than Lawrence should be on that team’s raider for sure. He as talent, that reminds me of Buccaneers Mike Evens.

CONCERNS
Lawrence has been hurt a lot, and although he has played with some injuries his medicals will be the one issue that will hold teams back from selecting him as high as I have him rated. He only played a few games this year for Georgia after transferring from Miami. That being said, he is the type of player that made the hair on the back of my head stand up the first time I saw him catch the ball.

BOTTOM LINE 2.64
The team that selects Lawrence might have to Red Shirt him for a year and get this kid healthy. Then after that happens he will, of course, go through a learning phase and a competition level phase, and that could set him back a bit too. Of course, during all of that time, you have to hope he doesn’t get another injury that slows his future progress. Of course, if he does get injured at the next level you might not see this kid hit the field in his first contract years. Lawrence has talent like the Buccaneers WR Mike Evans. Mike was selected in the first round but he wasn’t injured and we had a normal Draft process that year so the medicals on Mike were completed. Add to that, the talent at the receiver position in this draft and you can see what Lawrence is up against. As far as I’m concerned if, his ankle injury that kept him off the field for most of the 2019 year for Georgia, is not a chronic issue than selecting him as early as the first round would be a given. But this year everything is in flux so let’s take a hard look at what most teams are looking at if they want to select Lawrence. First of all, there is a lack of production and more than one injury that cannot be confirmed how they will affect his play in the future. That being said, Lawrence does have the size, strength, hands, and overall athletic talent to move the chains, catch the deep ball, and be a weapon in the red zone. You do the math and come up with a round you would select Lawrence in. Remember, if he is healthy, he has the potential to be the Offensive Rookie of the year. I’m on record here and I say second round.

 

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He can be a solid niche-situational type receiver.   Using his tall body to make catches in the redzone-endzone area of the field.  

He has descent short area quickness-agility to get position on CBs.  And make catches at the highpoint of his 6-5 frame with arms stretched above his head.   It's not poor athleticism...it's lack of top-end speed that holds him back.   

Can he surprise and develop into more then a situational receiver?  I think so.  Become a solid #4 type depth piece.  Fill in for a starter and provide decent production when called upon.

Tony Pauline's website concluded their analysis...

"Analysis: Cager made a brilliant choice to transfer from Miami to Georgia and really watched his game take off last season. He’s a tall possession wideout who be effective on third down or in the red zone, and Cager will be a steal in the late rounds."  

I like what I see here...

 

Download video

 

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6 minutes ago, Patriot Killa said:

I’m rooting so hard for Cager.

We did the same thing last year with Dortch. He ended up on the practice squad.

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Serious question, why are people talking about moving Claypool to TE, but not Cager?   Seems like he might be a prospect for move TE, like a Neal Sterling.  I guys those guys were about 15 lbs heavier and that is significant, particularly if they think Cager's frame is maxed out, but it seems like he'd be the type.  He is certainly tall and big bodied.  I'd expect it more from a guy with borderline speed than a freak like Claypool.

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11 minutes ago, #27TheDominator said:

Serious question, why are people talking about moving Claypool to TE, but not Cager?   Seems like he might be a prospect for move TE, like a Neal Sterling.  I guys those guys were about 15 lbs heavier and that is significant, particularly if they think Cager's frame is maxed out, but it seems like he'd be the type.  He is certainly tall and big bodied.  I'd expect it more from a guy with borderline speed than a freak like Claypool.

Les Claypool plays bass not TE 

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1 hour ago, #27TheDominator said:

Serious question, why are people talking about moving Claypool to TE, but not Cager?   Seems like he might be a prospect for move TE, like a Neal Sterling.  I guys those guys were about 15 lbs heavier and that is significant, particularly if they think Cager's frame is maxed out, but it seems like he'd be the type.  He is certainly tall and big bodied.  I'd expect it more from a guy with borderline speed than a freak like Claypool.

Claypool  already has 238 lbs on his 6-4 frame.  And ran a 4.42.  Cager at 6-5 only ran a 4.62 at 220 lbs.  If you add 20-30 more lbs to his frame...he'll potentially turn into a lumbering slug.  

IMO he has more potential to be effective and productive staying as a possession receiver.   

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7 minutes ago, GreenReaper said:

Claypool  already has 238 lbs on his 6-4 frame.  And ran a 4.42.  Cager at 6-5 only ran a 4.62 at 220 lbs.  If you add 20-30 more lbs to his frame...he'll potentially turn into a lumbering slug.  

IMO he has more potential to be effective and productive staying as a possession receiver.   

When I started the post I didn't realize they were that much heavier, but I don't think he'd have to put on much weight.  Those guys are often fairly light. I thinking more like a tweener type, like the way Gailey used Enunwa.  Either way, good points.

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Every year we fall in love with an UDFA receiver.  It worked one year with Robby.  That's it.

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1 hour ago, jetstream23 said:

Many of us wanted that "size" guy somewhere late in the Draft.  I thought it would be Donovan Peoples-Jones or AGG.....Cager looks like a nice consolation prize and not having to use a pick on him is even better.

Surprising this player was not drafted. Size, speed, played at a high level, productive (when healthy). Even with the injuries you'd think a team would have burned a late round draft pick on him. Good for us. Im thinking the chances of Cager sticking on the roster or practice squad is  better than most undrafted free agents ( Unless Im missing something)

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18 minutes ago, BettyBoop said:

Every year we fall in love with an UDFA receiver.  It worked one year with Robby.  That's it.

That's it? How many teams find WRs like Robby Anderson as an UDFA? 

If we land a Robby Anderson type WR every 4-5 years as an UDFA we golden. 

Either way, the hope is that Mims is a #1, Perriman is a #2, Crowder is a 3 and Cager or one of the guys emerge as a decent option. That's all you are looking for from Cager. 

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45 minutes ago, BettyBoop said:

Every year we fall in love with an UDFA receiver.  It worked one year with Robby.  That's it.

The depth of the WR class this year pushed guys into the UDFA pile that didn't belong there in ordinary seasons.  Cager would have been a 5th round pick last year.  Maybe even a 4th rounder.

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1 hour ago, flgreen said:

That's exactly why he left the Canes, then got hurt in Ga.

Sad, "QB U" has fallen on hard QB times

Funny he left the Canes to join Fromm and a run first team.  I did see a lot of Georgia and when he was healthy, Fromm would look to him a lot and bail him and those balloons he throws out of water.

 

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No combine 40 time but draft scout has him at 4.56 at Georgia as low and a high of 4.67. That is similar to Tee Higgins. 

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I couldn't find a 40 time. I saw snippets saying 4.5 range, and one sub 4.5 although nothing that's confirmed.

Just from film, he definitely doesn't run sub 4.5, but I wouldn't be surprised by a 4.55-ish.


https://assets-global.website-files.com/5988f684fda8db00017f4dee/5ea1b324959ebd56504151ab_CFM20_WR-b_Cager_Lawrence_PDF.pdf

I don't know if I agree. I think he's more of a shot in the dark than those guys, but intriguing potential.


Sent from my iPhone using JetNation.com mobile app

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2 hours ago, BettyBoop said:

Every year we fall in love with an UDFA receiver.  It worked one year with Robby.  That's it.

Does Wayne Chrebet ring a bell?   Berrios was udfa too. 

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5 hours ago, TNJet said:

We did the same thing last year with Dortch. He ended up on the practice squad.

UGA fan. He gets my full support either way lol

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4 things to now about Jets' undrafted free agent WR Lawrence Cager

2 hours ago

Lawrence Cager had been on the Jets’ radar from the start of the draft process.

The Jets were among teams that had expressed a great deal of interest in Cager. They flew down to Athens to meet with him and had another meeting scheduled, but it was canceled due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Cager’s 2019 season, even with his injuries, should have been good enough for him to be a Day 3 selection. Cager only started six games for the Bulldogs last season, but he still managed to record 36 catches for 476 yards and four touchdowns. With teams unsure about Cager’s medical history due to the lack of information, he failed to get drafted. The Jets were fortunate to scoop him up as part of their undrafted free agent class. If he can stay healthy, Cager has a real shot at sticking with Gang Green and making an immediate impact as a rookie.

Let’s get to know the undrafted free agent wide receiver out of Georgia better.

Key Receiver at Georgia

usatsi_13610319.jpg?w=1000&h=667

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Lawrence Cager’s experience in an NFL-ready offense at Georgia can’t be overlooked

Jake Fromm — Cager’s quarterback at Georgia and Buffalo Bills fifth-round pick — was reliant on Cager in the passing game. Fromm completed 70 percent of his passes with Cager on the field in 2019 but completed less than 50 percent of his passes without him.

Cager was absent for the Bulldogs’ only regular season loss, leaving the game at half-time with a rib injury. With Cager sidelined, South Carolina wound up upsetting Georgia in an overtime thriller. Fromm finished the game 28-51 passing, throwing three interceptions in a 20-17 loss.

Injury History

usatsi_13761837.jpg?w=1000&h=667

(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

Lawrence Cager was projected to be a late Day 3 draft choice. The reason he went undrafted has to do with his extensive injury history.

In Cager’s senior season at Georgia, he dealt with lingering rib and shoulder injuries before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Cager’s second-year at the University of Miami was also cut short due to a torn ACL suffered in the preseason.

Among undrafted free agents, Cager has one of the better shots at sticking considering New York’s current wide receiver room. Still, he’s going to need to prove that he can stay healthy during a limited offseason program for rookies.

From Miami to Georgia

usatsi_11390728.jpg?w=1000&h=665

(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Lawrence Cager originally wanted to go to the University of Georgia out of high school, but the Bulldogs didn’t have a scholarship to offer him. Instead, Cager went with the University of Miami.

As a true freshman, he played in 11 games, recording eight receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown. He missed all of his sophomore campaign after suffering a torn ACL in the preseason. Cager did bounce-back for his junior season, catching 16 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns. For his final season in Coral Gables, Cager caught 21 passes for 374 and led the team in receiving touchdowns with six in 12 starts.

He decided to pursue a graduate transfer to Georgia with his extra year of eligibility. The Bulldogs had just lost receivers Riley Ridley, Terry Godwin and Mecole Hardman to the NFL. This time around, Georgia pursued Cager, who was recruited by his former offensive coordinator at Miami, James Coley.

What he brings to the table

usatsi_13645242.jpg?w=1000&h=667

(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

Lawrence Cager has the measurables to be the perfect target for Sam Darnold.

Cager has outstanding size at 6-foot-5, 220-pounds combined with enormous catch radius and athleticism. He is a reliable possession receiver who can work in the middle of the field and make contested catches in the red zone.

Not only did he play a lot faster in 2019, but Cager also proved how aggressive and physical he can be at the top of routes as a pass-catcher and run-blocker. Surely his durability concerns and injury history will cause some concerns, but he’s definitely worth the risk as an undrafted free agent.

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20 hours ago, JiF said:

In addition to his injuries, he's never played with a real Qb either, so that kind of hurts when you're a WR. 

If he had gone to FIU, and played with Morgan, he'd have been the 1st WR off the board.😁

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19 hours ago, Bowles Movement said:

Does Wayne Chrebet ring a bell?   Berrios was udfa too. 

Agree on Chrebet, but Berrios was a 2018 6th rounder from that Pats that spent his rookie year on IR.  We picked him up off waivers last year. 

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19 hours ago, lauderdale jet said:

he also plays with wynonas big brown beaver

I heard he was a race car driver as well

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2 hours ago, KRL said:

After reviewing Cager's season I noticed he only played 8 games due to
injury:

https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/lawrence-cager-1.html

Georgia played 14 games last year, if Cager was able to stay healthy his
projected numbers would've been:

58 catches
833 yards
14.3 average
7 TD

He wasn't a "draft pick" but the more you look at his potential he should
be treated as one

Yep.  A lot of late round/UDFA WR's in this class would have been drafted as early as the 4th round last year.  

There should be no one counting out a UDFA WR this year.  We could easily see both UDFA's we picked up end up on the Week 1 roster.  Doctson, Vyncing Smith and Berrios need to watch out.

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