3 reasons the Jacksonville Jaguars got it right with TE Brenton Strange in Round 2
The Jacksonville Jaguars managed to keep Evan Engram from leaving in free agency with the franchise tag but tight end still remained a need in the 2023 NFL Draft due to the offseason departures of Dan Arnold and Chris Manhertz. Although the Jags had the chance to go after Luke Musgrave, Michael Mayer, and Sam LaPorta -- this year's top tight end prospects, they went with Penn State's Brenton Strange at No. 61.
While Strange pick raised eyebrows, the Jaguars' brass saw him as a culture fit, with head coach Doug Pederson noting that "he's kind of a ready-made tight end for us". A four-star recruit out of high school, Strange was projected to be a third-round or Day 3 pick. However, general manager Trent Baalke said the people he spoke with had nothing but good things to say about the tight end and added he "really plays the game the way we want to play it".
Even though Strange needs to work on his route-running, his versatility should make him an intriguing piece of the Jaguars' offense. Besides being a capable in-line blocker, the West Virginia native has a penchant for churning out yards after the catch, an highly valuable trait in any passing attack.
With that said, you could argue that the Strange pick deserves skepticism when you consider that there were other higher-graded tight ends on the board when the Jags drafted him. However, there are reasons to believe they got it right with the former Nittany Lion, and here are three.
3. The Jaguars didn't force the Brenton Strange pick in Round 2
The Jags could have taken Dalton Kincaid in the first round but opted to trade down and let the Buffalo Bills draft him instead. In Round 2, the Detroit Lions and the Las Vegas Raiders proceeded to select Sam LaPorta and Michael Mayer respectively. Then, the Green Bay Packers went with Luke Musgrave. All this while Jacksonville kept looking for ways to move down.
Instead of trading to the top of the second round for a tight end, the Jags waited for Brenton Strange to fall to them. General manager Trent Baalke told the media one week before the draft that it wasn't an "absolute necessity" to bolster their tight end room and true to his word, they waited until Round 2 to address the position. Moreover, they didn't have to trade up to get their guy.