The Jacksonville Jaguars signed tight end Jacob Hollister less than two weeks before the start of the season opener. Here are three realistic expectations for him in 2021.
The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t give their tight end room as much attention as others this offseason. Instead of pursuing the best free agents or investing an early-round selection in the position, the team’s brass signed Chris Manhertz and drafted Luke Farrell in Round 5.
Both Manhertz and Farrell are fine players but the Jags could have done more to address the position. Head coach Urban Meyer himself said earlier this year that team needed to rebuild the tight end room in some way. After the final round of roster cuts, it looked like James O’Shaughnessy was going to be the Jaguars’ number one tight end in 2021. The 2015 fifth-round pick might still be at the top of the depth chart but the team added reinforcements in Jacob Hollister.
The Jags wasted no time to sign Hollister after being released by the Buffalo Bills. The Wyoming product is far from an upper-echelon tight end. Still, he will give Jacksonville’s tight end unit a boost. Here are three realistic expectations for the Wyoming product in 2021.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will count on Jacob Hollister to make an impact.
1. Jacob Hollister will catch 45 receptions for 450 yards.
Although 45 catches don’t sound like much, Tyler Eifert led all Jaguars’ tight ends in 2020 with 36. James O’Shaughnessy was next with 28. You won’t see a gigantic spike in production from the group in 2021 but there will definitely be an uptick.
Also, 45 receptions would be a career-high for Hollister who hauled in 41 in 2019. The former Cowboy won’t get to 50 receptions because O’Shaughnessy will also see a significant amount of snaps in the regular season.
2. Four or five touchdowns seem reasonable.
The Jaguars got a combined two touchdowns from their tight end group last season, and Eifert was responsible for the two. Hollister has scored three touchdowns in each of the last two seasons, so four would also represent a career-high.
The fact that the Jaguars’ quarterback situation was from optimal in 2020 had a direct effect on all their skill-position players. With Trevor Lawrence now taking snaps behind center, Hollister (and O’Shaughnessy) should have no trouble posting better numbers.
3. Jacob Hollister will play 50 percent of the snaps.
Hollister mainly played on special teams in his two first NFL seasons. He started to get a significant number of offensive snaps in 2019, as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. That year, he appeared in 46 percent of their offensive snaps. That number went down to 35 last season. On the other hand, he started five games in 2020.
The fifth-year tight end will once again register career-highs in offensive snaps in 2021. He will appear in 50 percent of the Jaguars’ offensive snaps and make eight starts. O’Shaughnessy may get more playing time at first but Hollister will earn more snaps as he grows comfortable in the offense.
Signing Hollister rectifies a mistake the Jacksonville Jaguars made.
Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has earned plenty of criticism lately. Some of it isn’t valid and some of it isn’t. Not addressing the tight end room earlier this year falls in the latter category.
When the Jaguars declined the one-year team option on tight end Tyler Eifert’s contract, it seemed like they weren’t going to bring in a difference-maker. Sure, the free-agency tight end class wasn’t particularly deep but there were certainly a few enticing options such as Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry (Hollister was also part of that group).
In the end, the Jags managed to give their tight end room a boost before the start of the season by acquiring Hollister. The move won’t garner many headlines but it was meaningful regardless.