It’s becoming more and more evident that the tight end position is a huge need for the Jacksonville Jaguars. They have been missing a serious contributor at this position and three of the current tight ends on the roster will be hitting the free-agent market on March 17th. None are worth re-signing and the Jaguars will look to fill the position in free agency and the draft.
The 2021 NFL Draft has a clear tight end tier-one consisting of Kyle Pitts, Pat Freiermuth, and Brevin Jordan. But Hunter Long leads tier two not far behind and could very well work his way further up draft boards as the pre-draft process continues.
Hunter Long was a three-star recruit according to 247 Sports out of high school and received few Divison 1 offers. He ultimately committed to Boston College over Massachusetts and Syracuse. He didn’t have a ton of production in college but managed to progress each season. he beat his 2018 and 2019 receiving yards and touchdowns combined in 2020 with 685 yards and five touchdowns.
Long has good size for a physical tight end at 6’5″ and 254 pounds. He utilizes his hands and boxes out defenders to win on contested catches. He’s a good route runner who can easily navigate down the seam and is a solid run blocker.
Long doesn’t seem to have a lot of weaknesses. He may not be super quick or the most athletic but he has the versatility as a run blocker and pass catcher to be a serviceable number two tight end and a potential starter.
Jacksonville’s offense has become stale and predictable and they could use a big body on offense who can create mismatches against the defense. Hunter Long has the size and physicality to beat linebackers over the middle and win on 50/50 balls against safeties. The tight end has never been the go-to receiver in Urban Meyer, Darrell Bevell, and Brian Schottenheimer offenses, but it’s an evolving position that Jaguars have to invest in.