The Jaguars still have a hole or two to fill at the tight end position. If the front office does not sign one in free agency, which players are available in the NFL Draft?
The Jacksonville Jaguars tight end position was once again hit by a slew of injuries and players who underperformed in 2019. This could potentially shift the team’s focus on the position to the NFL Draft in April.
Having a consistent tight end will provide a much-needed security blanket for quarterback Gardner Minshew, who now appears to be the starter for the 2020 season after the team traded Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears last week. A consistent tight end would help the passing game, something that did not happen with last season’s game plan.
The Jaguars have many needs all over their roster, but finding the right fit on the end is amongst the most notable holes that have not been addressed in free agency. There are veterans out there who could still give this team a shot in the arm. But if the Draft is the path the front office takes, here are five tight ends that could be available for the Jaguars come late April.
Cole Kmet, Notre Dame
The highest graded tight end in this draft, Cole Kmet changed the landscape of what was considered a weak tight end class. There has been some talk that Kmet could sneak into the late first round or has second-round potential.
Kmet caught 43 passes for 515 yards and six touchdowns for the Fighting Irish, along with a 4.7 40-yard dash at the Combine.
Jacksonville will benefit from Kmet on contested catches and could be an issue for opposing defenses in the end zone. But, the team would potentially have to be willing to use a late first or second round pick if there is a feeling other teams are coveting his skill set.
Adam Trautman, Dayton
A big tight end with fantastic catching ability, Adam Trautman could be part of the answer for the Jaguars’ red zone issues.
At 6’5 and 255 pounds with a 4.8 40-yard dash, Trautman caught 70 passes for 916 yards and 14 touchdowns at Dayton.
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Going up against “lesser” competition would be the biggest knack against Truatman, but if he can make the transition against quality NFL talent, he could be a big pickup for the team. He could be what the Jaguars lost when free-agent tight end Nick O’Leary moved on and signed with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Hunter Bryant, Washington
At 6’2″ and 239 pounds, Hunter Bryant caught 52 passes for 825 yards and four touchdowns his junior season in Washington. His size and speed downfield could cause plenty of nightmares for linebackers covering him across the middle or underneath.
Bryant brings good athleticism on the outside, which will force mismatches against cornerbacks. In the open field, Bryant is a force who can also track the ball well.
Bryant is a player that Minshew will find very appealing with his pass-catching ability. He might not have the build of a traditional tight end, but will fit in nicely with an ever-changing league.
Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic
While Jacksonville has a lot of run blocking tight ends on the roster, Florida Atlantic’s Harrison Bryant will provide a good change of pace to the room. Bryant grew as a receiving threat every season, catching 65 passes for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns in his senior season for the Owls
Bryant is a fluid tight end with good speed — 4.73 40-yard dash — and surprises in the blocking scene. One of Bryant’s most impressive games came week one against powerhouse Ohio State, when he caught six passes for 79 yards.
Bryant boasts a big upside for the Jaguars and can be a solid pick on day two or three for the team. He could replace Geoff Swaim in the team’s two-tight end set.
Thaddeus Moss, LSU
The son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, Thaddeus Moss caught 47 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns in his single season for the Tigers.
Moss doesn’t blow anyone away with his athleticism, but he is a strong blocker with a big build that creates mismatches when going up against safeties and smaller linebackers.
Again, Moss won’t be a big playmaker for the Jaguars but will provide reliable hands, which can be beneficial on third down scenarios, and make an impact in the running game.
Jaguars general manager David Caldwell has a history in drafting in the SEC, and LSU, with running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver DJ Chark so Moss could be the next Tiger to join the Jaguars.