With the recent news of the Jacksonville Jaguars signing former Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera, the quagmire that is the tight end position just got murkier.
After the Jacksonville Jaguars traded away tight end Julius Thomas to the Miami Dolphins in a pair of trades that brought left tackle Branden Albert, it seemed clear the Jaguars would look to the future at the position in the 2017 NFL Draft.
In fact, plenty of mock drafts got in on that idea. Todd McShay’s mock draft 3.0 may have garnered the most attention, sending big-time tight end O.J. Howard to Jacksonville with the fourth overall pick.
That pick would be a strong move by the Jags, especially needing to address the position with Marcedes Lewis, a 2006 first-round pick, heading the depth chart. While that wasn’t a perfectly clear move, it was a logical step. The Jags just muddied the waters further, however.
By signing Mychal Rivera, formerly of the Oakland Raiders, the Jaguars have added a decent player to the position that could push Lewis out of the presumed starting role for the team. Rivera had a 534-yard, four touchdown season back in 2014 as a 10-game starter for the Raiders. Given enough opportunities, he may be able to step up once again.
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Sadly, the sample size hasn’t been great for Rivera in recent years. He has just two starts since 2014 and only had 18 catches for 192 yards and one touchdown in 2016. With Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper both posting 1000-yard seasons in 2016, it’s fair to see why Rivera’s production has dropped off, but he also was the second-most productive tight end on the roster behind Clive Walford.
The Jags would be wise to not solely count on Rivera suddenly stepping up, though. The signing is a promising move with a promising player, but it isn’t a solution. The Jags would be wise to take a top tight end in the 2017 NFL Draft. Fortunately, there are plenty of good ones to choose from.
The Rivera signing muddles the water a bit, but the true prizes at the tight end position are in the draft.