Jacksonville Jaguars: Ben Ellefson may pass starting TE on depth chart

(85) TE Tim Tebow and (86) TE Ben Ellefson of the Jacksonville Jaguars [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
(85) TE Tim Tebow and (86) TE Ben Ellefson of the Jacksonville Jaguars [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union] /

Ben Ellefson is having a productive training camp. Could he end up becoming the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting tight end in 2021?

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a well-rounded wide receiver corps and a dynamic running back duo. However, they don’t have a true number-one tight end. Chris Manhertz is currently at the top of the depth chart and he will play a key role as a blocker in short-yardage and red-zone situations. Nevertheless, he doesn’t offer much as a receiver, hauling in just 12 receptions over the last six years.

Tim Tebow was having a solid summer but hit a plateau once the pads went on. The Former Gator displayed good hands early in training camp but must improve at coming for the ball in traffic, per Jamal St. Cyr of News4Jax. He still has a chance to make the roster but he still has a lot of work to do. On the other hand, rookie Luke Farrell hasn’t really stood out but he hasn’t had a horrendous day of practice either.

There’s also veteran James O’Shaughnessy, who missed several days of practice with an ankle injury. Once he returns, he could resume his place as the Jaguars’ number-two/backup tight end. Nevertheless, he has only caught more than 24 receptions in a season once in his six-year career and that was last year, when he hauled in 28 catches. This could be Ben Ellefson‘s chance to make an impression and seize the starting job.

Ben Ellefson could be the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting tight end.

Ellefson went undrafted in 2020 and finished his first NFL season with four receptions for ten yards. That kind of production doesn’t scream starting tight end but he earned more playing time than fellow rookie Tyler Davis. Earlier this year, head coach Urban Meyer said that Ellefson and O’Shaughnessy have improved a lot.

Also, the second-year tight end has made several plays in practice and has even lined up at fullback. He isn’t going to suddenly turn into a Pro Bowler, but he could end up getting a lot of playing time in 2021. So what exactly can Ellefson get at the top of the depth chart? He made the most out of O’Shaughnessy’s absence, getting plenty of reps. He needs to continue making an impression in training camp. Also, he will need to take advantage of every single snap he gets in the preseason.

Simply, Ellefson needs to show he’s a better option in the passing game than Manhertz and O’Shaughnessy. If he can make a few plays and catch every ball he’s thrown, he should at least get a legitimate shot to be the backup tight end behind Manhertz. He will need to outplay O’Shaughnessy, Farrell, and Tebow but that’s pretty doable all things considered.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence won’t be hurting for offensive weapons. He will have a talented wide receiver corps at his disposal and running back Travis Etienne will more likely have a big role in the passing game. However, the rookie passer would surely benefit from having a dynamic tight end. Maybe Ben Ellefson can be that player.

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