No matter what happens in the NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars must sign at least one veteran tight end this offseason.
Just last week, I wrote about how the Jacksonville Jaguars must add to their tight end room this offseason. I’d like to take that a step further and make this one of the mandatory assignments the front office must accomplish prior to the NFL Draft in April.
Finding a pass-catching tight end who can move the chains and become an integral part of the offense on third down and in the red zone has been an issue for this team for a considerable number of years. For the past two seasons, injuries have destroyed this group and hampered the offensive game plan.
John DeFilippo, the team’s offensive coordinator in 2019 was adamant about the need to use a tight end early and often, but James O’Shaughnessy, Geoff Swaim, and Josh Oliver all spent considerable time on the injured reserve list last season. Swaim may be released for cap reasons. Nick O’Leary might be brought back because of his pass-catching ability.
The Jaguars should be in the market for a tight end in free agency. While there are plenty to choose from, four of the team’s potential targets have a history of injuries, which may help the front office work out a deal that is more of a low risk, high reward.
I believe the players already in the tight end room could offer this franchise help if they could stay healthy a full season. Jacksonville cannot afford to take chances on waiting to see if that happens or not.
If the Jaguars front office does look to add at least one tight end this offseason, Austin Hooper of Atlanta should be at the top of the list. But given the team’s salary cap constraints, he more than likely will be too costly for this organization.
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"“Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone knows just how dangerous Ebron can be as a receiver due to battles against him in the last two seasons, and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden needs an athletic pass-catcher who can create mismatches at the second level,” writes John Shipley of SI.com.“Ebron won’t command a large contract due to injuries and a down year in 2019, but he makes sense on a reasonable contract for a team like the Jaguars, who got zero production from the tight end position for the vast majority of last season.”"
I like Ebron, but I am also interested to see what the other potential candidates can do if they are all healthy. Reed may be the most interesting of the group. Eifert makes sense because of his connection to offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Injuries have decimated his ability to play the past few seasons.
Henry is another one of those immensely talented players who cannot stay on the field. If a change of scenery will help him get on track, then maybe a move east to Florida will be worth a shot.
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