Jacksonville Jaguars may select playmaking tight end like Pat Freiermuth in NFL Draft
Just before the start of free agency, Jaguars coach Urban Meyer was brutally honest about revealing one of his team's weakest positions.
He called out his tight ends, declaring that it is a position in significant need of a rebuild. The Jaguars' four tight ends — Tyler Eifert, James O'Shaughnessy, Tyler Davis, and Ben Ellefson — combined for only two touchdowns in 2020.
However, Meyer's expected rebuild did not materialize in free agency - even though they had most cap space of any team in the league with more than $73 million to spend. The top two available free agents - Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry - both signed with New England.
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The Jaguars ended up signing former Carolina Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz, who was called by his former head Matt Rhule as having the potential to be one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL but has only 12 career catches after five seasons..
Though they can take advantage of having a dominate caliber run-blocking tight end like Manhertz, they also need a big play, pass-catching tight end for quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the presumptive No. 1 overall pick by the Jaguars in the April 29th draft.
It appears now the Jaguars will have to turn to the draft to find the playmaking caliber tight end they so desperately need.
Kyle Pitts top-rated TE in draft class
Florida's Kyle Pitts, who ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at the Gators Pro Day on Wednesday, is the top-rated tight end in the 2021 draft class. Though the Jaguars have two first-round picks, Pitts won't be on the board when they select at 25th. Pitts could go as high as sixth to the Miami Dolphins.
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With Pitts likely to be off the board, the Jaguars' best option would be to select either Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth or Miami's Brevin Jordan with their 25th overall pick or 33rd in the second round. The projected second tier of tight ends includes Notre Dame's Tommy Tremble and Boston College's Hunter Long.
Although Freiermuth, 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, played only four games last season after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, he still finished with the team's third-most catches (23 catches, 310 yards, and one TD).
Freiermuth could be top option for Jaguars
Meyer hired former Penn State tight ends coach Tyler Bowen, who coached Freiermuth for the past three seasons. Freiermuth earned the Big Ten's Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year award in 2020.
''I'm that guy that's always going to listen and stay working,'' Freiermuth said during a Zoom call with reporters after Penn State's Pro Day last week. One misconception is that I am a one-speed, route runner and that's completely false. I showed today (Pro Day) that I can accelerate and decelerate. I'm kind of showing teams I can do the double moves and stuff like that.''
Brevin Jordan says he consistently was a playmaker
Another possible option is Miami's Jordan. Most of the draft experts have Jordan rated behind Pitts and Freiermuth, but he is a good route runner who has the speed to get separation from defenders. Jordan has a history of injuries at Miami, which included neck and shoulder issues last season.
In 26 career games with the Hurricanes, Jordan caught 105 passes for 1,358 yards and 13 touchdowns.
''Anybody that doubts my Miami career or tries to say anything because of my injury history, I look at you like you simply like you don't know what you are talking about,'' Jordan said on a Zoom call after the Hurricanes Pro Day. ''My three years here, I was consistently a playmaker. Football is a tough game and you're going to suffer injuries.''
Versatile tight ends: Notre Dame's Tommy Tremble and Boston College's Hunter Long
Notre Dame's Tommy Tremble and Boston College's Hunter Long could be second to fifth-round picks. In three seasons at Boston College, Long caught 89 passes for 1,297 and nine touchdowns.
Tremble, who ran a 4.59 40-yard dash at Notre Dame's Pro Day, caught 19 passes for 218 yards with no touchdowns last season.
''I see myself as a guy who can line up in the slot, out wide, as a wing and on the line and as a fullback,'' Tremble said.''I feel like I'm a guy who can play all those positions.''