Jaguars 2023 NFL Draft: Instant reaction to the Brenton Strange pick in Round 2

Brenton Strange at the NFL Combine
Brenton Strange at the NFL Combine / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

After fortifying their offensive line with the selection of Oklahoma left tackle Anton Harrison in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars have now focused on bolstering their tight end group with the addition of Penn State's Brenton Strange.

The Jaguars trade down twice on Day 1 of the draft. True to form in the second round, they managed to move down a few spots to land Strange. Originally slated to choose at No. 56, they traded it to the Chicago Bears in exchange for picks No. 61 and 136.

Taking Strange fills a need at tight end. Even though the team's brass was able to retain Evan Engram, they did so by applying the franchise tag. If they can't strike a multi-year contract by July 15, they won't be able to engage in negotiations for the remainder of the year and Engram will hit the open market in 2024.

Whether Engram stays beyond 2023, Strange gives the Jaguars a dynamic No. 2 tight end in the short term and a future starter. A four-star recruit out of high school, the former Nittany Lion has the size and adequate speed to develop into a solid pass catcher in the NFL. Moreover, he was a good blocker at the college level, so the Jaguars could deploy him in different ways.

Even though Strange lacks elite speed and must refine his route running, Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network thinks "his traits should add up to a starter at the position in time". Given the presence of Engram, the coaching staff can afford not to put too much on his plate early on and progressively increase his workload.

Did the Jacksonville Jaguars get it right with Brenton Strange in Round 2?

Don't worry if you didn't have Strange going to the Jacksonville Jaguars on your bingo card. Strange himself had no idea he was going to land in Jacksonville.

The truth is that not many analysts had the Jaguars taking Strange near the end of Round 2. When you take into account that many clubs wanted to trade up but general manager Trent Baalke actually moved down, it feels like an odd pick. Moreover, many of the prospects the team was seemingly targeting in Round 1 were still on board early in the second round but Baalke didn't actively target them.

Heck, Florida offensive guard Cyrus O'Torrence, a prospect the Jags liked was still available in the 50s but they let the Buffalo Bills take him at No. 59. Similarly, the front office could have traded up to land Alabama defensive back Brian Branch but passed on the chance to move up.

The Strange pick on itself isn't bad, especially if he becomes a reliable target that can move the chains. On the other hand, it was a bit frustrating to see the Jaguars trade down despite the fact that they had the ammo to move up.

If Strange develops into a key cog on offense, the Jacksonville Jaguars will get plenty of praise. But for the time being, it looks like (at least from an outside perspective) they could have been more aggressive in Round 2 but opted for the safe approach.

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