Jaguars rookie TE Josh Oliver adjusting to life in the NFL
By David Levin
Jaguars tight end Josh Oliver is adjusting to life in the NFL as a rookie third-round draft pick. The San Jose State star wants to make an impact in 2019.
There are plenty of expectations for Jacksonville Jaguars rookie tight end Josh Oliver.
The third-round draft pick out of San Jose State is known for his pass catching ability, something this team has lacked from the position. James O’Shaughnessy led all tight ends on the roster last season with 24 catches but no touchdowns to speak of. It was just one of the many issues Jacksonville faced last season. Now with Oliver on the roster and the addition of Geoff Swaim in free agency, the tight end room looks a bit different from last season.
O’Shaughnessy was also brought back in free agency and Ben Koyack remained on the roster with Pharoah McKever.
The best way to describe how Oliver has made an impression on the Jaguars so far during OTAs is to hear quarterback Nick Foles talk about the rookie. The Jaguars are expected to use the tight end more this season, as has been part of the blueprint used in Philadelphia and Minnesota – the last two stops for offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.
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"“He’s a tremendous player,” Foles said when he met with the media this past week. “I think the big thing (with rookies) is when you’ll see them run and they’ll start making some catches where they are not thinking about the route … not thinking if it’s two-high, one-high man zone. They are reacting to the play. It’s the rookie year, so I’m just trying to talk him through what being a rookie is and how to deal with the emotions of that year.”"
Josh Oliver, who is 6-foot-5 and 249 pounds, looks the part of the fast pass catcher who will be asked to run over the middle to make the tough grab or become an option on third down in the red zone. He is a rookie learning the process as he told me on Tuesday after the Jaguars first OTA. He understands he has a chance to make an impact early as a rookie and help this team score more than the 15 points per contest it did last season.
"“It’s been awesome,” Oliver said of his transition from being in college to being drafted by the Jaguars to this week on the practice field. “To come together as a brotherhood. It’s an awesome process.”"
When he talked to the media on Wednesday, DeFilippo made no secret of the fact he wants to use the tight ends in different situations, especially since there is not a true fullback on this roster. Swaim and Oliver have flashed a bit in OTAs, catching the football in the first three days in camp.
"“It’s early on for Josh. We ask that position to do a lot of things, to do a lot of jobs. That position, besides playing quarterback in our offense, is probably the toughest position to play because we ask you to do so many things,” DeFilippo said.“We like staying in base personnel to keep the base defense on the field and have that position do a lot of jobs. He’s learning. He’s doing a great job, and he’s seen and not heard, which is what you want out of a rookie in terms of keeping his head in the playbook and doing what he needs to do on the field.”"
Now, Josh Oliver will learn as the team continues with Week 2 of OTA’s set to start on Tuesday. He said he is right across from Calais Campbell and Leonard Fournette in the team’s locker room. The veterans have been there to offer advice and help with the adjustment to the NFL.