We've already looked at the Jaguars quarterbacks and running backs. UCF Jaguar also did his first position preview video this season breaking down the Jaguars wide receivers. In the third installment of our (written) 2018 position previews we will look at the tight end position.
Let's get to it!
The Starter: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ASJ)
ASJ joined the Jaguars this offseason on a two year deal worth over $5 million a season. His arrival (and salary) did not sit well with Marcedes Lewis, the best tight end in team history, who was released soon after the signing of ASJ. Lewis is now a Green Bay Packer and ASJ is firmly entrenched as the Jaguars number one tight end.
After being selected with the 38th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay ASJ had a well documented battle with alcohol abuse and struggled to make an impact on the field. He was arrested for a DUI on September 23, 2016 and subsequently released by the Buccaneers. That was, seemingly, the turning point in his career. ASJ was signed by the Jets later that year, starting two games for New York in 2016 and returned to the Jets in 2017. Last season he posted career numbers, catching 50 passes and finding the end zone three times. But the Jets offense didn't feature much downfield passing, which led to ASJ averaging just 7.1 yards per catch. While they did get a fair amount of production from him in 2017, the Jets failed to use ASJ's best ability - that is the ability to stretch the field. The Jaguars will look to use him as a weapon to open up the running game and force safeties to be weary when stacking the box. At 6'5" and 260 lbs. ASJ creates a mismatch with his size and also possesses above average athleticism at the tight end position. He's shown excellent hands over the years. The Jaguars hope that 2018 will be his best season yet and so does he. ASJ has been open about his battle with alcohol and is now clean. Everyone knows that he has the ability to be a dangerous threat as a receiver but he believes that he'll be much more than that in 2018. Earlier this summer he made that known:
"There's no doubt in my mind I can be the best run-blocking, pass-catching tight end in the league. I'm not worried about it. I've got a good opportunity to come in here and do what I can to help this team win as many games as possible and everyone else will decide how the blocking is, but I'm going to block as hard as I can for my teammates."
The Backups: Niles Paul, Ben Koyack, and James O'Shaughnessy
O'Shaughnessy and Paul both have shown ability as receivers in seasons past and could both easily help the team in the passing game. Niles Paul is the more experienced and probably more talented option, but O'Shaughnessy has shown enough as a receiver that he should stick around. Koyack is a nice blocking tight end and doesn't have hands of stone, so he should stick around in Jacksonville for his third season with team. All three will be asked to contribute on special teams, however Paul is the best special teamer of the bunch and could fill the special teams role vacated by Arrelious Benn.
Practice Squad or Off the Team: Scott Orndoff, David Grinnage
These two guys have virtually no chance of making the active roster, short of an injury epidemic at the position. However, both guys will have a shot to make the practice squad. Grinnage has impressive size, but lacked consistency in college and hasn't been able to stick on a roster. Orndoff is competent blocker and also possesses impressive size. There's probably only room for one of these players on the practice squad.
What are your thoughts on the Jaguars tight end position? Let us know in the comments below!