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2019 NFL Draft: Jacksonville Jaguars Pre-Combine 7-Round Mock Draft

Zach Goodall

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Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the number third overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL Combine is set to kick off tomorrow, February 26th, so in case you didn’t realize by the mock drafts and scouting reports in the past couple of months here at Locked On Jaguars – draft season is here.

Let’s cut to the chase: A seven round, Jaguars-only mock draft heading into the Combine. Between now and the draft, you’ll see plenty of changes to how mock go about based on Combine performances and breaking down more tape, but this is how I would approach the 2019 NFL Draft for the Jaguars with my G.M. cap on.

1st round – 4th overall (TRADE w/OAK): Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Jacksonville trades their 7th overall pick, 69th overall pick (third round), and a 2020 2nd round pick to Oakland for their 4th overall pick and 131st overall pick (fifth round).

Before the pick gets broken down, take a look at Rich Hill of PatsPulpit.com‘s NFL Draft pick value chart. After the NFL revised their private value chart when compensatory picks became tradeable, Pro Football Talk publicly endorsed Hill’s chart, as he has tracked every draft-pick trade since the rookie wage-scale was created in the latest CBA agreement and based the scale on how teams value picks – not necessarily how they should be valued from the eyes of analysts. In other words, it’s totally objective and based on data.

Future picks are generally valued at a round later than what they actually are, so the 2020 2nd round pick is valued as a 2019 third round pick – and we will match it’s value with the Jaguars 69th overall pick rather than project where they will be selecting next year for the purpose of this exercise. According to the chart, by current value:

  • 7th overall = 425.5 points + 69th overall = 71.38 points + 2020 2nd = 71.38 points = 568.26 points
  • 4th overall = 490.52 points + 131st overall = 18.08 points = 508.6 points

By value, the Raiders would win the trade by just under 60 draft pick value points, but in reality that’s just how it works. Teams moving up typically have to trade away more than what might seem “fair”, but at the end of the day, the Jaguars get their quarterback, get back a fifth round pick to replace the fifth rounder they sent to Cleveland in 2018 for running back Carlos Hyde, and maintain ownership of draft picks in every round this year. Remember – they stsill own the Los Angeles Rams’ 95th overall pick in the third round after trading defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. to L.A. It’s a win-win trade.

Dwayne Haskins is the best quarterback in this draft – that’s a spoiler for when I release my official quarterback rankins after the combine. He’s a tremendously accurate quarterback when it comes to West Coast concepts, which the Jaguars center their pass game around, and has flashed the ability to grow as a deep-ball thrower over time. Haskins knows where his routes develop and identifies coverages well pre-snap, and is smart with the football – he recorded a 1.5% interception rating with only eight interceptions in 533 attempts in his 4831 yard, 50 touchdown sophomore season.

Is it risky to select a one-year starter so high? Of course, but Haskins displayed plenty of growth in key areas as his 2018 season went on – and what made that even more impressive is against the competition he was going against while he showed that growth. In a late three-game stretch against Michigan (ranked 2nd in team defense in 2018), Northwestern (64th – Big 10 Championship game), and Washington (12th), Haskins completed 71.7% of his passes for 1146 yards and 14 touchdowns, with only one interception.

And I’m not too worried about teams trying to jump higher than fourth overall for Haskins, as Arizona, San Francisco, and New York (Jets) are all in ideal spots to land top-tier pass rushing talent that they so badly need. It would be a lot more expensive to move into those picks for other teams, and truth be told I don’t believe QB-needy teams will be willing to vastly out-bid Jacksonville. The New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, and Washington Redskins have plenty of big needs to address other than QB, and could elect to wait for a QB on Day 2 or in 2020 rather than get into a bidding war.

2nd round – 38th overall: Chris Lindstrom, guard, Boston College

The Jaguars will most likely be moving on from right guard A.J. Cann this offseason, unless he is willing to re-sign on a cheap contract as a depth piece moving forward. But considering the free agent market being bare of talent at guard, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Cann test his market and find a new home with a better salary.

Lindstrom has been a favorite prospect of mine going back to when I first started watching prospects in October. He started 51 straight games, dating from the beginning of his freshman season until his final game at Boston College, and that durability will undoubtedly catch the Jaguars’ eye after the uncanny amount of injuries their offensive line saw in 2018. In those 51 games, Lindstrom started 44 games at right guard and seven at right tackle. So while he has mainly played and excelled at guard, he offers some flexibility to play outside in a pinch. He measured in at 6-3 3/4, 303 lbs, with 34 1/8″ arms and 9 1/4″ hands at the Senior Bowl last month. While he doesn’t possess the biggest frame, his lengthy arms will help him lock-out blocks.

He comes from a power-based scheme at Boston College, so his transition to the Jaguars offense shouldn’t be a tough transition. Lindstrom wins with power and active feet as a run blocker, and while he has some work to do with hand placement consistency to gain leverage in pass protection, he mirrors pass rushers well to slow down pass rush moves and often leads to a solid recovery when he gets beat on initial contact.

Lindstrom has ties to the Jaguars as well. He told me at the Senior Bowl that he has a good relationship with Jaguars college scout Chris Snee, a former Boston College offensive lineman who played for the New York Giants under former head coach and current Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin from 2004-2013. Fun fact: Coughlin is also Snee’s father-in-law, as Snee married Coughlin’s daughter Kate in the same year the Giants drafted him, and they had a child together in college. It’s safe to say, if Coughlin wants to do some background research on Lindstrom, he has a good avenue through Snee.

3rd round – 98th overall (from LAR): DaMarkus Lodge, WR, Ole Miss

Offense, offense, offense.

In case that hasn’t been clear (it has been for a while), that’s what the Jaguars must prioritize this offseason. Fix the offense. Add as much talent to the offense as possible.

DaMarkus Lodge offers a ton of potential to be a pass-game weapon on the outside. At 6-2 with lengthy arms (we will get his arm length at the NFL Combine), Lodge offers the length to make contested catches and a fantastic catch radius to back that up. He finished his Ole Miss career with 122 receptions for 1790 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Lodge didn’t run a complex route tree during his time at Ole Miss, as tracked by the staff at The Draft Network. However, he separates well on all vertical plane routes and that should solidify his floor as a deep-threat at the next level. In a West Coast style offense like what the Jaguars have run as of late, Lodge will have to develop his routes across the middle of the field, but their biggest need is someone who can consistently separate and win contested catch battles at all levels of the field. Lodge offers that, and as a one year starter in the same offense that featured receivers D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown as well, Lodge is a bit overshadowed in this draft process and will likely slide. He’d be a steal of a pick for a Jaguars team that so badly needs a player of his caliber.

4th round – 109th overall: Foster Moreau, TE, LSU

Another offensive position that the Jaguars are preparing to overhaul: Tight end. After declining the option on Austin Seferian-Jenkins contract last week, the remaining tight ends under contract for the Jaguars in 2019 are as follows: Ben Koyack and Pharoah McKever. James O’Shaughnessy is set to become a free agent, and while it’s logical to assume Jacksonville will attempt to re-sign him, pen has not met paper yet.

However, it’s hard to expect the Jaguars to draft a tight end early. Under general manager Dave Caldwell, the earliest round the Jaguars have ever selected a tight end is… the seventh (Koyack in 2015). And Coughlin doesn’t have a history of drafting tight ends early either, as the earliest round a tight end has been drafted with him as head coach is the third (Travis Beckum in 2009 with the Giants). So despite the tight end talent at the top of the draft this year, don’t get your hopes up on a guy like T.J. Hockenson or Noah Fant wearing black and teal.

Foster Moreau is a very intriguing mid-round option, who met with the Jaguars at the Senior Bowl and is both close friends and former teammates with Jaguars WR D.J. Chark and RB Leonard Fournette. He’s far from an explosive athlete and comes off as a stiff route runner, but he’s a superb run blocker who has experience lining up in-line, in the slot, and as an H/full-back to do so. He offers nice size at 6-4 1/4, 250 lbs with 33 3/4 inch arms, and at the Senior Bowl he put that length on display to win multiple contested catch battles in the redzone. At LSU, Moreau recorded 52 catches for 629 yards and six touchdowns.

His lack of polish as a route runner due to his athletic limitations will drop him into Day 3 consideration, but Moreau fits the mold of tight end the Jaguars fawn over, and meets their tight end draft range.

5th round – 131st overall (from OAK): Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon

Finally, a defensive pick!

Oregon defensive end Jalen Jelks is a lengthy, yet lanky, five-technique prospect who plays with a ton of burst and is polished against the run. Considering his size, you don’t want him playing inside, but he has the length to add some weight without losing athleticism and burst in order to better compete with the strength of the NFL.

He doesn’t have much of a pass rush plan at all, but Jelks has flashed a couple of pass rush moves on film and a combination of burst and power has led to a nice bull-rush despite his slimmer figure. These factors will undoubtedly push him down draft boards as he will br a true project in need of pass rush polishing and adding weight/muscle. But with Calais Campbell’s contract option getting picked up, keeping him in Jacksonville for at least two more years, the Jaguars can afford to gamble on the raw talent Jelks possesses and develop him as Campbell’s eventual heir. He finished his Oregon career with 15.5 sacks, 30 tackles for loss, and 11 batted passes.

6th round – 178th overall: James Williams, RB, Washington State

With T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant set to be free agents and following an incredibly disappointing 2018 season for Leonard Fournette, I’d be floored if the Jaguars didn’t sign or draft a running back at some point.

James Williams is a bit undersized compared to the Jaguars standards (their last two draft pick RBs, Fournette and Yeldon, stood at 6-0/240 lbs and 6-1/226 lbs, respectively), standing at a listed 5-11, 195. He also hasn’t been fully utilized at WSU, seeing only 518 touches over the past three years. However, he’s turned that small workload into big production as both a runner and a receiver, with 2977 scrimmage yards and 27 touchdowns. Williams has averaged 4.9 yards per carry and 7.1 yards per reception during his time at Washington State.

On film, Williams displays fantastic ability to catch out of the backfield and a surprising amount of contact balance for a player of his stature. He’s a slippery runner with solid, but not great, speed as a whole. He’s a fun complementary type of back who could carve out the role in Jacksonville that fans wanted Corey Grant in for years.

7th round – 236th overall (from BAL): Trysten Hill, DT, UCF

With so few picks focusing on defense, it might be puzzling to see the Jaguars double dip at one of their strongest position groups across the roster – defensive line. However, with the talent Jacksonville has there, they’ve dedicated a lot of cap space across the entire line and are in the position to start drafting heirs across the board. We saw that with the Jelks pick, as well as the Taven Bryan selection last year.

Hill is a raw, explosive athlete from a school not too well known for their defense in 2018. He rotated a lot with other players at defensive tackle – specifially nose, but still put up solid production over his three year career as a Knight: Six sacks and 20 tackles for loss.

He plays with a lot of burst and explosion, much like Jelks and Bryan, but little technique and relies on the burst to create pressure. There’s a lot of refinement he will need to do in order to find NFL success, but at 6-1, 315 lbs, he has the size and athletic ability to become a solid nose tackle at the next level. Perhaps drafting Hill would lead to releasing Abry Jones, which would save the Jaguars $4 million in 2019.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

REPORT: Jaguars re-sign tight end James O’Shaughnessy

Demetrius Harvey

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Nov 11, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end James O'Shaughnessy (80) runs past Indianapolis Colts linebacker Anthony Walker (50) in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars have re-signed tight end James O’Shaughnessy according to a report released by the team. O’Shaughnessy now re-joins a group that includes newly signed tight end Geoff Swaim, Ben Koyack, and Pharoah McKever.

This is great news for the Jaguars tight end group. O’Shaughnessy was a reliable receiving threat for the Jaguars last season, although he was horribly underutilized.

This adds some continuity into the room with Ben Koyack as the only Jaguars tight end with in-game experience with the team. O’Shaughnessy accounted for 24 receptions for 214 yards last season. O’Shaughnessy’s only other reported interest in free agency has been with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Look for the Jaguars to continue to upgrade the tight end position during the draft later this offseason.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

2019 Jaguars NFL Draft Profile: Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson

Zach Goodall

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Oct 13, 2018; Bloomington, IN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes tight end T.J. Hockenson (38) catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown against Indiana Hoosiers linebacker Dameon Willis Jr. (43) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium . Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

After months of quarterback scouting that have all become relatively moot, it’s time to start going in-depth at other positions of need for the Jacksonville Jaguars here at Locked On Jaguars.

With quarterback Nick Foles in the fold after signing a four year, $88 million deal with the Jaguars last week, it’s safe to assume quarterback is just about out of the picture for the team’s seventh overall selection in next month’s NFL Draft. Sure, the Jaguars could elect to draft a QB to backup Foles and eventually utilize the two-year “out” to usher in his heir, but that seems highly unlikely at this point. Jacksonville paid Foles to be their franchise quarterback, and they must build around him immediately to get things back on track.

In which case, the Jaguars need to add weapons on offense. During his time in Philadelphia over the past two years, Foles has targeted tight ends on 33% of his 296 passing attempts. It helps that the Eagles had multiple talented TEs on their roster during that time in Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Brent Celek, and Dallas Goedert, but the Jaguars must attempt to replicate the tight end production Foles had that helped him find so much success.

T.J. Hockenson from the University of Iowa can immediately provide a spark at the tight end position and replicate that formula.

The redshirt sophomore burst onto the scene during the 2018 season, hauling in 49 receptions for 760 yards and six touchdowns in Iowa’s 52.9%-to-47.1% run-to-pass offense. Iowa ran a ton of multiple tight end sets, mainly 12-personnel (1 RB/2 TE), in order to add bodies to the tackle box for the run game and best utilize both Hockenson and fellow Hawkeyes tight end Noah Fant – who, like Hockenson, is a projected first round pick. The two tight ends combined for 88 receptions, 1279 yards, and 13 touchdowns in 2018.

The differences between Hockenson and Fant, which were drawn out well by my friend Ryan Keiran of PatsPulpit.com, are their playstyles at the same general position. Fant is going to be a dynamic receiving tight end on a bit of an NFL learning curve as he is far from a polished blocker, who is best utilized as the new “big-slot” TE that the NFL is beginning to transition towards.

I’ll do a full film review on Fant at another time here at Locked On Jaguars, but my early take is he’s an Evan Engram-style of tight end who would benefit from a pass-happy, vertical offense. Not all of these teams need a tight end, but the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be great fits for Fant who could move him around and play him vertically.

Hockenson is much more universal in terms of scheme fit. He’s athletic enough to play vertically, like Fant, fluid and explosive enough to win in the underneath game, and is the best run-blocking tight end prospect I’ve ever evaluated. And that last nugget is something that will undoubtedly catch the eye of the power-run heavy Jacksonville Jaguars.

Let’s get to the film. Be prepared – there’s really no negative aspects to his game.

FILM ROOM

Blocking prowess

I typically don’t clip up a lot of run blocking plays for film reviews, because you can usually get a good feel for a player’s ability in that aspect from a couple of early-down reps.

But good lord, T.J. Hockenson makes run blocking a sport of it’s own – and he’s a first-team All Pro in it.

Hockenson’s pure strength and explosion into his block is enough to “wow” you from an entertainment perspective, but his technique makes the difference between a “good” block, and the “great” block that leads to him driving the defensive end 10 yards backwards and into the turf. His fluid explosion through contact out of his three point stance creates instant pad-level leverage by getting the DE vertical. Hockenson maintains the lower pad-level and his strong hands stick in the chest frame despite the defender attempting to wiggle himself free like a fish in a fishnet.

You’ll never, ever see Hockenson quit on a block until the whistle is blown. His rep is won by the time the standing EDGE defender crosses the numbers at the top of the field, but Hockenson drives him out of bounds and into the sideline area a yard behind the line of scrimmage. When Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin stated “I suggest we adopt the term ‘grit’ as a way to define ourselves,” at the Jaguars’ State of the Franchise press conference in 2017, plays like this are what he was referring to.

Hockenson plays with grit on every snap.

Hockenson is more than just an in-line blocker. He’s equally as dominant as a space blocker, which will reap benefits for a team that will use him in pass protection vs. loaded boxes and blitz. Diagnose this look as Cover 2-man underneath with the MIKE linebacker responsible for Hockenson (hovering over the left tackle behind the DE). The MIKE reads pass from the QB – the play was a QB draw – and gets his eyes up to Hockenson quickly, but even with eyes on the tight end, the MIKE was unable to stand his ground from the bulldozer of a blocking tight end and eats dirt. It’s the same thing over and over again, whether it’s in-line or out in space – Hockenson wins with a fantastic combination of athleticism and technique which cements his high floor as a blocker at the NFL level.

Hockenson’s technique becomes important when taking on rush and disengaging moves from opposing rushers and defenders. Hockenson wins with initial leverage and hand placement, but the defender gets an arm free to attempt top rip out Hockenson’s arms. But with the lower pad level, Hockenson can get his disengaged arm back up-and-under through the rip and back into the defenders chest, and turn him 180 degrees away from the play.

The next six clips will be the last of Hockenson’s blocking breakdown before moving to his receiving ability, all displaying his ability to seal-block on designed runs and backfield throws to completely open up the field. This obviously requires the previously stated technique and strength through blocks, but the processing speed to diagnose his responsibilities and time his blocks, as a lead-block from H-back/fullback, in-line, and out in space. He can do it all.

Simply put: Enjoy.

Receiving ability

You’ve probably had a lot of fun watching T.J. Hockenson, the blocker, so far… (or maybe not, and maybe I’m just a football nerd).

But I promise you, that’s not all the Iowa product has to offer. The Jaguars prioritize the ability to run block in their tight ends, but in today’s NFL, tight ends need to contribute significantly as receiving threats in order to be considered dynamic.

Hockenson hasn’t mastered all nine routes of the route tree, but he’s proven he can win multiple routes in all three levels of the playing field. His athletic testing results (see below) also offer promise that Hockenson can develop on just about any route there is, too. It’s not that Hockenson struggled with certain routes – he just wasn’t asked to run them in Iowa’s run-heavy offense.

His high-pointing ability wasn’t often utilized at Iowa given their run-heavy philosophy, but the talent, size, and technique is there for Hockenson to be the redzone threat the Jaguars have desperately been searching for.

Hockenson squeezes through a tight, two-defender gap on an outside release with explosion off the line in order to breeze by the coverage LB and separate despite little field room in the redzone. The QB lofts a ball to the back of the endzone, and Hockenson’s mix of technique and athleticim finishes the rep. He identifies the ball and times his full-body extension at the top of his vertical jump in order to get both hands on this ball and bring it  down in bounds without ever letting the closing defender have a chance to make a recovery play.

In order to win in contested areas such as the redzone, fighting through contact and adjusting to throws is as important as anything. Being nearly 6-5 with a 90th percentile vertical jump (see his athletic profile later in the report) is obviously a benefit in this category, but Hockenson has the natural ability to fight for and win contested throws across the field.

Hockenson releases inside to draw the linebacker off of the seam that he intends to get vertical before breaking into a post on a deep mesh concept to keep the safety modest. This is a well-run, pro-style yet schemed-open route that Hockenson can win on at the next level, but the play turns into a YOLO-pass. The QB scrambles left with pressure closing in, and lets this ball rip back towards the middle of the field where Hockenson is playing the scramble drill back towards the left side of the field. He tracks this underthrown ball while navigating back to the side he came from, fights through contact and comes down with a huge gain on what was on pace to become a 4th-and-long punt.

If the Jaguars intend on running the similar, if not the same, passing concepts with Foles in the fold, then plays like this are important in Hockenson’s evaluation – winning in the short-to-intermediate levels of the passing field. Otherwise known as the routes that make a West Coast offense operate.

Hockenson possesses the explosion off the line and agility to maintain speed through his turns in the route to operate in a timing-based passing offense which can be seen in the fluidity of his release from the slot anf through the deep crossing route – a staple of Jacksonville’s offense over the past two years. And with clean footowork, Hockenson cleanly separates with hip fluidity and no wasted movement as soon as the defender begins to pedal vertically again. So long as the QB leads this ball (after years of watching a QB fail to do so, it’ll be a sigh of relief to see that from Foles), this is a yards-after-catch route that Hockenson would wreak havoc with in the Jaguars’ WCO-offense.

Did someone mention yards after the catch?

Hockenson does a great job at keeping his feet underneath him through vertical route breaks, with no wasted movement whatsoever in order to maintain a comfy cushion from the coverage defender. And once again, this is a timing route based off of play action with a relatively immediate release at the top of the route.

And your arm tackles will do nothing to slow down the Hock. He’s a yards after catch and yards through contact machine.

This rep was just disrespectful, and provides another feel for how Hockenson can transcend the offense beyond WCO concepts and integrate some vertical philosophies.

Hockenson lines up in-line in 23 personnel (2 RB/3 TE) – this looks like it’ll be a run play or short-field pass off play-action to get an easy 3rd and 1 conversion, right?

Wrong.

The outside TEs in Hockenson (to the weak side of the formation) and Fant (strong-side – safety help follows) run a Yankee concept that acts like a deep mesh pattern between the most outside players in the formation, getting vertical up the seam and crossing. With the one-on-one matchup and a rub to benefit from, Hockenson gets wide open and the safety tries to recover as the top of the defense is exposed at the rub.

What makes this rep so disrespectful? Watch the second half of the clip. Hockenson wins route-running leverage vs. his man coverage defender by running an inside release. With so many defenders in the box that make an inside release difficult to manuever, Hockenson literally pulls a swim move on the play-action-biting stack linebacker (#14) and breezes to the middle of the field, easily separating from the man-cover #25.

To begin this crucial 4th and 8 rep, with under a minute left in the game tied 28-28, it’s obviously clutch of Hockenson to make a backside sliding catch to get both across the line-to-gain and into field goal range. That’s just a given.

But his explosion off the line of scrimmage is real. Sure, he plays the line at the snap compared to the top outside WR, but to be three yards removed vertically post-snap before the shorter-build, assumptively quicker and nimbler even crosses the line is impressive for any tight end. And Hockenson matches his LOS burst with a fluid hip-turn at the top of this curl to ensure separation from a breaking safety on the most important play of the game up until this point. The QB getting the ball out late eliminates some of that separation, but Hockenson held up to his end of the deal with ease.

Athletic profile (via MockDraftable.com)

Hockenson offers typical height for the tight end position, but based on his NFL Combine testing, he comes in slightly underweight and with below-average length compared to the average NFL TE.

As mentioned while describing his redzone touchdown catch above, however, Hockenson has legitimate athleticism to cover for his lack of elite size at the position. His vertical (37 1/2″) and broad (123″) rank in the 90th and 91st percentiles among NFL TEs in MockDraftable’s database that has collected testing numbers dating back to the 1999 NFL Draft class.

His top speed comes in above average as well, as he recorded a 4.7s 40 yard dash (68th percentile). This is a huge benefit for any team looking to add some vertical field stretching via Hockenson, and if Jacksonville wants to catch teams off guard beyond their traditional WCO passing concepts, Hockensons’s skillset + measurables give them that flexibility.

Last but not least, Hockenson’s 77th percentile, 7.02s 3 cone drill is a cherry on top. A widely praised drill for testing a players ability to change direction, the Jaguars brass is likely salivating at this number. As mentioned previously, Jacksonville’s WCO concepts require short-field route running and the ability to create YAC in a timing-based play. These factors require twitch and quickness from a change-of-direction standpoint. Hockenson’s 3-cone drill proves one thing: He’s anything but stiff, and at bare minimum he can fit the Jaguars current mold as a receiving TE.

What’s nice is that’s just his floor, and his ceiling can provide so, so much more.

Conclusion

Listen, I understand that selecting a tight end in the top 10 is pretty uncommon, but it isn’t unheard of. Eric Ebron (10th overall, 2014), Vernon Davis (6th overall, 2006), Kellen Winslow Jr. (6th overall, 2004) are the most recent to be selected that high.

Winslow Jr. suffered two early setbacks with a broken leg two games into his rookie season and a torn ACL knocking him out of his second season, but currently ranks 31st all-time in receiving yards among TEs. Assuming he met his career average 650 yards per season in those nearly two fully missed seasons, Winslow would rank 13th all-time in the same category. He was worth the selection in hindsight.

Davis, who is still active today and plays for the Washington Redskins (he played his first 9 1/2 seasons with the San Francisco) currently ranks 9th in all time receiving yards among TEs with 7439. He was worth the selection in hindsight.

Ebron… is a bit of a different story. He’s entering his sixth season in the NFL and looked like a bust with the Detroit Lions, recording 186 catches for 2070 yards and 11 touchdowns in four years there. However, Ebron signed with the Indianapolis Colts this past season, and tore his bust label to shreds. He more than doubled his career touchdowns with 13 alone in 2018, along with 66 receptions for 750 yards – both career highs. The jury is not out on whether or not Ebron’s ability and skillset were worth his selection.

Forget what I said in the introduction about run-blocking: T.J. Hockenson is the best tight end prospect I’ve ever evaluated, period. He’s also the safest offensive player in this draft, and considering the traditional NFL learning curve at the tight end, it’s really rare to ever hear that label being thrown around at the position.

His combination of poise as a blocker in all facets as well as extremely high floor in the pass game for an offense stylized like Jacksonville’s absolutely makes him worth their 7th overall pick, and the Jaguars’ dire need of a tight end right now only further solidifies that.

Quarterback Nick Foles will need as many weapons as he can get here in Jacksonville to get this Jaguars team steered straight. Considering his success in Philadelphia with tight ends, it’s incredibly difficult to assume T.J. Hockenson wouldn’t be one of Foles’ most trusted receiving targets, and as a whole Jacksonville’s most important non-QB offensive player given his immense skill-set as a contributor to the run and the pass game.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

REPORT: Jaguars officially sign former Packers LB Jake Ryan

Demetrius Harvey

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Sep 10, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Jake Ryan (47) steps over Seattle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy (27) following a tackle during the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars have officially signed former Packers ILB Jake Ryan. While it was reported on Saturday, the Jaguars would be signing the linebacker, there was still a physical pending. Ryan tore his ACL prior to the 2019 season and is still in the middle of his rehab. Today, the Jaguars made it official.

Ryan was signed to a 2-year $8M contract with an option during the 2020 season according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The contract is similar to the contract Austin Seferian-Jenkins deal from last season which essentially boils down to a 1-year prove-it deal.

Ryan adds another proven veteran linebacker to a group which lacks experience. Before the signing, the Jaguars linebackers on the team were Myles Jack, Telvin Smith, Donald Payne, Blair Brown, Donald Payne, Leon Jacobs, and Nick Deluca. None of them have had much if any experience at the MLB position.

Ryan started  27 games in three seasons with the Packers prior to his injury. He has totaled 213 combined tackles in his career. That is plenty of experience added to the Jaguars linebacker group ahead of the 2019 season. It would not surprise me to see the Jaguars continue to add to the position via the NFL Draft.

It is also worth noting Telvin Smith’s contract cap number reaches its highest point next year ($12.8M). It is possible — if Ryan performs well — for the Jaguars to move on from Smith and move Myles Jack back to his more natural position. Myles Jack will be entering the final year of his rookie contract this season.

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