The Jaguars have struggled to find a consistent receiving threat at tight end for years. Marcedes Lewis has been a mainstay for the last decade plus at the tight end position in Jacksonville, but he's limited as a receiver and his primary function is being an excellent blocker. The Jags front office has tried to improve the effectiveness in the receiving games for the tight end position throughout the years, but to no avail. Their most glaring strike out was signing Julius Thomas to a rich deal, only to trade him for a late round pick just two years after signing him.
Now, the Jaguars have a big opportunity to finally land a tight end that can be effective both as a receiver and a blocker. This year's draft is loaded with talented tight ends and the Jaguars should look to pounce on one early in the draft. The Jaguars should pair a young tight end with Marcedes Lewis in 2018, and let the younger player learn from the best blocking tight end in the game.
Let's take a look.
1. Dallas Goedert, SDSU
Goedert is likely the best pure receiving tight end in this draft. But he's also shown the ability to block, so he could be a perfect fit for the Jaguars. At 6'5'' and 255 lbs. Goedert has the size NFL scouts dream of in a tight end, but he's also got standout athletic ability and fantastic hands. At South Dakota he did play a lower level of competition than most players, but he dominated that level and appears a likely candidate to become a very impressive combo tight end at the next level. Goedert injured a hamstring early in Senior Bowl practices and his availability for the NFL Scouting Combine is not yet known. Even if he can't participate in the combine, the Jaguars should strongly consider him with their first selection at #29. He's a fluid athlete that looks like a wide receiver when he runs, but also has the ability to line up in line and block.
2. Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Hurst is a former baseball star who was drafted to go pro, but the small ball career didn't quite work out. So, Hurst went back to South Carolina and become an elite tight end prospect. Hurst, like Goedert, projects to be a good combo tight end. He has strong hands, good athleticism, and has displayed good blocking ability. He's the exact same size as Goedert, but appears to be a more physical player, while Goedert seems a more natural receiver. Hurst will be 25 at the start of the 2018 regular season, so he's a good bit older than most prospects. Still, he projects to be a rock solid tight end for years. He's another player the Jaguars could consider in the first two rounds.
3. Ian Thomas, Indiana
Thomas is another player that'll go in the first two days of the draft. Also 6'5'' and nearly 250 lbs. Thomas has the ideal height/size combo just like Goedert and Hurst. The difference here is that Thomas might be a more natural blocker than either Goedert or Hurst. The Jaguars love a tight end that can block, but also want one who can be a solid receiving threat. Thomas fits that bill. He may be less explosive than Hurst or Goedert, but he's certainly a better blocker at this point in his career.
The Jaguars have a number of decisions to make this offseason.
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