Jaguars’ Shorts Working To Be Elite

Cecil Shorts III smiles at the mention.

It’s a knowing smile, because he’s thought about the topic before – more than a few times since last season, actually. It’s a comfortable smile, too, and it’s clear when talking with the Jaguars’ third-year wide receiver that he likes a lot about where he is and where he’s going in his NFL career.

But that smile? It’s not completely pleasant, because although he’s thought about this topic often this offseason, it still gnaws at him. It’s still sitting out there.

Twenty-one yards…

“It bothers me,” Shorts said with a laugh during the Jaguars’ voluntary offseason program, which continues next week with the final week of 2013 organized team activities at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields. “It doesn’t sit well.”

*Twenty-one yards*…that’s how close Shorts was to 1,000 yards receiving last season. It’s a significant number for any wide receiver, particularly one playing for the Jaguars. But really, what he’s thinking about this offseason isn’t that.

Mostly, Shorts said he’s thinking about the future.

That’s because whatever Shorts accomplished last season – and make no mistake: he accomplished a lot – in his mind, it doesn’t matter. At least not in comparison to what’s next.

“I still feel like I have something to prove,” he said. “That’s just how I’ve always been. I always play with a chip on my shoulder. I want to prove last season wasn’t a fluke, but really, last season doesn’t mean anything anymore. I want to continue to get better.

“I am a lot more confident coming into this year than last year. I’m in a different situation now, if that makes sense.”

How different? Consider:

This time last year, Shorts wasn’t thinking about narrowly missing out on goals. Rather, he was thinking about making a roster.

Shorts, a fourth-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft from Division III Mount Union, had struggled as a rookie, catching just two passes for 30 yards. He was written off by many observers, and when last offseason began, he was deep on the depth chart.