Even with additions to the position in free agency, the tight end position may be the biggest area of need for the Jacksonville Jaguars heading toward the NFL Draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars may still need a starting tight end for the 2019 season. Luckily, the NFL Draft is full of possible choices and one of the deepest units on offense. If there was ever a moment where finding the right fit for the team’s new offensive game plan, it was this year. Also, the team may be able to grab the best player at the position with the seventh overall selection.
This isn’t to say the Jaguars don’t have other needs to fill. While I hate sounding like Mel Kiper, Jr or some other draft expert, the value at the tight end position this year might outweigh the decision to grab a starting right tackle or add depth at other positions on offense based on how the first few picks of the Draft on April 25 unfold.
T.J. Hockenson of Iowa is projected to be the first tight end to come off the board, which might be the best pick for the Jaguars.
After Hockenson, there are plenty of other good players, which may also mean the Jaguars can use any number of scenarios to still fill a need.
- Do they trade back in the first round, hoping Hockenson is still there?
- Do they grab his teammate Noah Fant if they trade back or hope he is available at the top of Round 2?
- Will Irv Smith, Jr. be the choice, in either the second round or early in Round 3?
- Can the Jaguars take a chance and wait on a tight end as late as the end of Round 3 or in Round 4?
These are the kinds of decisions weighing on the front office and what will the team do?
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"“You look at some of the best teams in the league and the tight ends that they’ve had,” General Manager David Caldwell told reporters at the NFL combine. “My time in Atlanta, we always had a good tight end. My time in Indianapolis [they always had a good tight end]. It’s probably the quarterback’s best friend, especially to have a guy that can make plays in that role.“For us, we’re a run-oriented team and I think it’d be a key factor for us to have a guy that can make plays.”"
There isn’t a tight end in this draft that screams Rob Gronkowski, but Hockenson is the closest one to the former New England Patriots star. Finding a pass catcher and blocker is vital to what the Jaguars want to do on offense under new coordinator John DiFilippo.
No player on the Jaguars current roster jumps out at you and makes you believe they are the answer to a record-setting season at the position.
Fun fact here… There have been only four tight ends in team history that have caught more than 48 passes in a season. That must change for the Jaguars to become an effective passing team. Hockenson could make the offense better immediately.
"“It’s one of the better ones [class of tight ends] I’ve seen in recent history, so I think you can get one through the whole draft that’ll come in, make your team and contribute for you,” Caldwell said."