The Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2021 tight end room looks like this: Tyler Davis, Ben Ellefson, Luke Farrell, Chris Manhertz, and James O’Shaughnessy. None of those players are going to put any fear into the opposing defense and even worse, the team does not have any receiving threat at the position. That has to change.
The Jaguars need a pass-catching tight end. It’s that simple. Even head coach Urban Meyer acknowledged a while back that the team needed to fix the unit. They signed a blocking tight end in free agency (Manhertz) and then draft another blocking tight end (Farrell). It’s understandable that they haven’t signed a receiving tight end in free agency (yet), because there may not have been one available that was affordable. Or maybe they tried and the player signed somewhere else. Or maybe… whatever.
But what is not understandable is drafting a blocking tight end when a highly-rated pass-catching tight end, Brevin Jordan of Miami, was available when they made the selection and was selected two picks later by a division rival.
The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t been able to figure out the tight end position for their entire existence. That’s not to say they haven’t had any good ones, because Kyle Brady and Marcedes Lewis were both good players for the team. However, they haven’t had a very good or elite tight end who was a threat as a receiver.
How did the Jacksonville Jaguars’ tight end group perform in 2020?
In 2020, they had four players start games during the season: James O’Shaughnessy, Tyler Eifert, Ben Ellefson, and Eric Saubert. The other two tights ends on the roster were Tyler Davis, who they drafted in the sixth round that year, and Josh Oliver, who the Jaguars drafted in the third round of the 2019 draft. Eifert was the best of the bunch, playing 15 games and hauling in 36 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns.
Since last season the Jags have released Eifert and Saubert, and they traded Oliver to the Baltimore Ravens for a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. That pick became part of the trade with the Los Angeles Rams for the Jaguars to move up from pick 131 to pick 120. Manhertz, who has six career receptions over four years with the Carolina Panther. No, that wasn’t a misprint – SIX career reception in four years.
In this year’s NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected Farrell of Ohio State in the fifth round with pick 145. Over his four-year collegiate career, he played 43 games, caught 34 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns.
The Jaguars may very well get a tight end who is a receiving threat either in free agency or through a trade with another team. But it’s very unlikely to be one of the top tight ends, because the best free agents have already been signed by other teams and teams that have a very good receiving tight end are probably not in any hurry to trade them.
It doesn’t look good for the Jaguars’ tight end room, and that will make it easier for opposing teams to game-plan for the Jaguars in 2021.