The Jaguars current group of tight ends consists of Geoff Swaim, Ben Koyack, and Pharoah McKever.
The group has combined to make 30 career starts with just 59 total catches. Needless to say, the Jaguars have some work to do between now and the start of the regular season when it comes to getting their tight end room up to snuff.
Ben Koyack has been around the team the longest. Initially drafted in the seventh round by Jacksonville back in 2015, Koyack has spent nearly all of his career with the Jaguars. He was cut heading into the 2018 season but re-signed in mid-November due to injuries at the position. Many fans remember Koyack fondly as the only player to score in the Jaguars playoff win over the Bills in 2017. But in 2018 he didn't catch a pass and should be more of an afterthought than a key cog at this point in his career.
Geoff Swaim was signed last week after starting his career in Dallas. Another 2015 seventh-round pick, Swaim has registered 18 career starts and 35 catches, 26 of which came in 2018. With a career marred by injuries, Swaim comes to Jacksonville with a chance to start anew. 2018 was by far his most productive season but was cut short thanks to a season-ending wrist injury. Swaim is a solid blocker and can be a threat as a receiver, but in an ideal situation, he's your second or third tight end.
Then there's Pharoah McKever. A rookie out of FIU in 2018, McKever didn't see the field for the Jaguars. As a senior in 2017, he showed off the ability to catch the ball, hauling in 27 catches for 301 yards and three scores. But McKever too is not the answer.
The Jaguars need to add at least one tight end in the upcoming draft early on. Jacksonville needs a balanced tight end that can come in and hit the ground running . . . at the very least a guy who can take over the starting duties by the end of 2019. But I believe they should strike early. This draft class has a talented bunch of tight ends, but as you go further and further down the list, there's less upside and far less polish. If I were running the show, the Jaguars would select TJ Hockenson in the first round, either at pick seven or in a trade down, but that seems somewhat implausible. Tom Coughlin has never chosen a tight end so early in the draft. If this front office does pass on a tight end in round one, they should nab one in round two. At the top of round two, they could consider Noah Fant or Irv Smith, if either is still available. Both players project to be immediate starters. Smith is the more polished of the two, especially as a blocker, but Fant has far greater upside as a receiver and downfield threat.
Nick Foles loves using his tight ends and if the Jaguars hope to reach the playoffs once again, they'll need to add to his arsenal of weapons. Whether it's on quick routes in the middle of the field or deep down the field on fade routes, Foles has found great success with his tight ends. The Jaguars need to fix their problem at the tight end position and with this talented group of incoming players at the position, they can turn a deficiency into a strength. I would even suggest that Tom Coughlin and company should draft two players at the position, as unlikely as that may be.
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