Jaguars need these 3 veterans to break out in 2021

Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /
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Jacksonville Jaguars
Chris Manhertz #82 of the Carolina Panthers, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

2. Chris Manhertz, tight end, Jacksonville Jaguars

It may be too much to ask a player that has scored just one touchdown to suddenly become a deep threat. However, that’s what the Jaguars might do with tight end Chris Manhertz. An undrafted free agent in 2014, the former college basketball player spent time with the Buffalo Bills and the New Orleans Saints before joining the Carolina Panthers in 2016.

Manhertz has appeared in 70 games with 28 starts and has hauled in 12 receptions for 142 touchdowns over his six-year career. The Jags won’t try to turn the Canisius product into a Travis Kelce kind of player but they will probably target him more than eight times, which is his career-high, in 2021. The coaching staff will also use some kind of rotation with James O’Shaughnessy and rookie Luke Farrell, but Manhertz will be the the team’s number-one tight end until further notice.

Expect Manhertz to be targeted once or twice per game and score two touchdowns. While that doesn’t seem like much, it would be another career-high. Also, it would be as many touchdowns as Jacksonville’s tight end unit scored as a group last season.

The Jaguars opted not to sign any other tight ends in the offseason, Tim Tebow notwithstanding. Maybe they think Manhertz can turn to a reliable target on offense but even if he doesn’t, he will still have an important role. The veteran is great inline blocker and will be a key cog in short-yardage and red-zone situations.