Jaguars roster: Who will start at tight end in Week 1?

TE Tim Tebow #85 and and OL Walker Little #72 and OL Cam Robinson #74 (Imagn Images photo pool)
TE Tim Tebow #85 and and OL Walker Little #72 and OL Cam Robinson #74 (Imagn Images photo pool) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars spent the offseason upgrading most position groups. However, their tight end group didn’t get as much attention as their other units. A battle may brew in training camp and it will be with monitoring who separates himself from the bunch.

Alex Kay recently wrote about every NFL team’s most important position battle in training camp and he believes that tight end is the one to watch in Jacksonville. Kay points out that all the tight ends in the Jaguars roster can block. Nevertheless, none of them are a deep threat nor a number one. He thinks veteran James O’Shaughnessy, their second-most productive tight end last year, is the best of the bunch.

On the other hand, Kay opines that the dearth of talent at the position forced the Jags to take an unconventional route and sign Tim Tebow, who is making the transition from quarterback to tight end and last play in an NFL game in 2012. By all accounts, the Florida product has impressed in training camp and has been well-received by teammates. Just don’t expect him to suddenly turn into an All-Pro.

Who is most likely to start at tight end for the Jaguars in 2021?

This one is going to be a tough one. Even if Tebow makes the roster, it’s hard to see him become the Jags’ number-one tight end in 2021. Don’t get it twisted, he’s doing great in his transition, not in comparison to his teammates. Head coach Urban Meyer recently told the local media O’Shaughnessy and sophomore Ben Ellefson have improved significantly. He also mentioned that even though Chris Manhertz‘s expertise is blocking, he could develop into a functional receiver.

The team’s brass also said that even though rookie Luke Farrell was underutilized at Ohio State and believes he has the tools to be a receiving tight end in the NFL. All the Jaguars’ tight ends bring something to the table and will be great in a complementary role, but the team needs one to stand out from the pack, and that could be Ellefson.

An undrafted free agent in 2020, the North Dakota State product appeared in seven games with four starts last year before a knee injury derailed his rookie campaign. Although Ellefson was only targeted once, he got playing time over fellow rookie Tyler Davis. Also, he has gotten praise from the former regime and the previous one, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see his role increase and even seize the starting job in training camp.

Now, don’t expect Ellefson  — or any Jaguars’ tight end for that matter — to have a 1,000-yard receiving season. Instead, picture the sophomore hauling in somewhere close to 50 receptions for 600 yards and four touchdowns. That would be an upgrade over Tyler Eifert‘s production in 2020. Last season, the 2013 first-round pick caught 36 receptions for 369 yards and two touchdowns. That should be the bare minimum the team should expect from its number one tight end this upcoming season, whether it’s Ellefson or someone else.

Kay rightfully pointed out this will be the Jags’ most important training camp battle, not the most exciting one. This Jacksonville has plenty of options at wide receiver and running back. They now need a playmaker at tight end.

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