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2019 Jaguars NFL Draft Profile: Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray

Zach Goodall

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Dec 29, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws a touchdown pass against Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Levi Draper (30) during the third quarter of the 2018 Orange Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the most controversial prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft class, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray enters as one of the most talented players at his position in what is a relatively weak quarterback group.

That isn’t an indictment of his talent, but rather, it’s safe to assume in previous classes with more talent that his “red flags” (and I hate that term, because his listed size of 5-10, 195 lbs isn’t truly a “red flag” – but for lack of a better word) would be picked apart and he’d likely fall down boards a bit. But without a ton of competition in this class, Murray’s stock, despite his size and his questionable pre-draft interviews about his commitment to football, is rising – quickly.

That brings us to the sixth LockedOnJaguars.com QB scouting report this year. Let’s dive in on Kyler Murray.

Arm talent

The fact of the matter – despite any “red flag” planted on Kyler Murray’s draft résumé – is that the Oklahoma product has a hell of an arm, especially for someone of his stature.

So let’s kill any “Murray is a run-first” quarterback talk pronto. Thankfully, that isn’t too much of a discussion from what I’ve read compared to Lamar Jackson last year, but highly-athletic quarterbacks with rushing stat lines like Murray’s – 140 carries for 1001 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018 – typically get hit with that label from folks who don’t study tape.

With the defensive end off of Murray’s right side going untouched to create pressure on play-action, Murray evades after first getting his eyes downfield. He keeps them on the developing post route despite a clear rushing lane that, with his athleticism and ability to make one-on-one defenders miss, Murray could have utilized to potentially gain a first down. Then, Murray makes a 55 air-yard throw off of his backfoot – without ever setting his base – leading his receiver on the post in double coverage for a huge touchdown. Beautiful ball placement, with perfect touch and velocity to get the pass where it needed to be for a score – rather than taking an easy scramble.

On a designed roll-out, Murray finds a field opening near the boundary for his deep receiver on a two-route read with an underneath receiver being covered well out of his break on the short out-route. He quickly resets his feet and launches this pass to the boundary outside of the route, and the ball is placed where only the receiver can make the grab before going out of bounds. The ball placement is absolutely unreal.

The confidence level to squeeze this ball between a man coverage defender and a closing safety over the top up the seam is extremely high, and Murray makes it look easy. He couldn’t have thrown this any better.

Murray scans the field right to left to let the deep post develop and maintains active feet in his pocket off of play-action. He remains calm with eyes down the field despite pressure coming off of both edges and drops a dime to the middle of the field without total balance. The pass goes just off of the finger tips of his receiver – I believe this is caught at thee next level with better timing from a more matured receiver, but if Murray’s feet totally set then this is probably completed in stride. Regardless, it’s a really nice throw with true pocket poise.

Murray truly puts this pass where his receiver and only his receiver can play it. From the left-side hash, Murray lets it rip at the top of his dropback with a fantastic combination of velocity and loft to continue leading his receiver to the boundary outside and away from the defender in man coverage. The typical eye will say the receiver adjusting to the ball outside means the placement was off but I thoroughly disagree, Murray put this ball right where he wanted it. And considering the distance he had to cover from the hash all the way to the opposite boundary, and the little field-room he had to work with to ensure only the WR could play this? Murray’s arm is something special, man.

Murray slides right on play-action and quickly finds the seam target, sets his feet, and makes this toss back to the side he slid from. He’s not a one-way guy when it comes to his arm talent and mobility – Murray is a truly dynamic player who can utilize both skills to make plays happen simultaneously.

Eye and timing maturity

Oklahoma’s offensive scheme isn’t overly complex, and quite often receivers get schemed open. That isn’t necessarily an issue for scouting OU quarterbacks, but it’s always something to think about when judging their game mentally. While Murray wasn’t tasked with making many full field reads, and frankly not much more than half-field and one read+checkdowns, his eye maturity to manipulate defenders gives us a solid idea of his football IQ. When noting this, a stroke of confidence in his ability to make mature reads at the next level arises.

Murray gets two deep routes to the right side here, with the left side getting shutdown pre-snap with two defenders over one receiver. When the slot defender moves inside at the snap for the linebacker to drop on the slot receiver, Murray knows he has a winning matchup – but he waits to throw this seam until he truly looks off the deep safety to the outside 9-route. The safety bites a bit but stays just patient enough to come back and make a play, so Murray gives him one more shake to the outside and the rep is over – the safety dedicates his hips to the sideline, the slot-seam is wide open – touchdown Sooners.

Murray understands the timing of the route combo in the middle of the field with the H-back running a go-route to draw the middle safety off of the in-route by Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. As soon as the safety turns on the go-route, which Murray looks off with eyes dedicated to the middle of the field, he hits Brown in a window he created with great timing and understanding of the route concept.

Once again, Murray stares the deep safety off towards the boundary comeback and does not begin this throw until the dedication to the sideline is there. The second that that happens, Murray’s quick and compact release paired with his fantastic accuracy and velocity do the rest of the work. This level of patience and maturity out of a one-year starting quarterback, especially in an offense like Oklahoma’s, is what makes Murray a special talent and gives a lot of hope to a team that wants to draft and develop him.

Smart football

Electric quarterbacks like Kyler Murray, more often than not, are risk-takers. While the good quarterbacks of that bunch often get rewarded for those risks, there’s plenty that pay consequences as well. Murray falls into the former category – while he’s an electric quarterback who now and then will take risks that normally pay off, he’s never reckless. He doesn’t try to make throws that he can’t make, and he’s smart with his body when utilizing his feet – which is a huge plus on film when grading out a guy of his stature.

Now, Oklahoma’s scheme didn’t offer Murray many checkdown looks in their fast-paced offense, as so many route concepts went to one side of the field, but when the opportunity to check down was to the concept-side, Murray took it when necessary. Murray keeps his eyes to the middle of the field as the the left outside receiver and right slot receiver run a deep crossing combo and the right boundary receiver runs a post. Murray wants to strike whichever deep route to the middle of the field opens, but pressure gets to him and he rolls right and finds his H-back check down in the flats. You don’t see this often in the OU offense as so many routes get schemed open, but against top defenses like Alabama’s, the awareness of the checkdown vs. pressure is reassuring.

Murray runs with elite speed for a quarterback and I expect him to place in the high-percentiles among NFL quarterbacks in the 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine. However, rather than getting risky with that speed in the middle of the field and to make defenders miss, Murray plays smart when he tucks and runs, typically navigating towards the sideline in order to have an escape from any oncoming defenders and to protect himself. He won’t take unnecessary hits, and while he’s quick to take advantage of rushing lanes, he understands his frame is miniscule compared to that of the average defender bee-lining their way towards him, and he plays smart.

Flashes of pocket poise, but not enough proof

While there are certainly examples of Murray playing with poise under pressure, including some reps against Alabama, his freedom to bail from the pocket after scanning his half-field reads due to lack of schematic complexity makes consistent pocket poise for traditional offense hard to judge in his game. There are certainly flashes of it when he had time to look off defenders, but not a ton of proof going across the full-field with pressure.

This is where NFL teams will be cautious. He’s proven that he will look to throw the ball before he runs in Oklahoma’s offense largely due to the lack of full-field progressions it calls for, thus shortening the time of his scan signifixantly. But if teams want to pigeon-hole him into their offense rather than adapt to a half-field read offense similar to OU’s, there’s room for concern based on the unknown. It’s a risk that teams will have to be willing to take when they consider drafting Murray.

Size

What I’m sure you’ve been waiting on: Will Kyler Murray’s size affect him negatively at the next level?

I think it could go both ways, and once again, it depends on where Murray lands. If a team wants him to plug him into a West Coast style of offense that relies on the short middle of the field far more than taking shots and lettimg the QB move, Murray’s height really could lead to the generic “he can’t see over the linemen” stereotype being proven true. I hate that idea because there’s ways to avoid that, but if a team requires true pocket structure to operate their offense with strict 3-5 step drops and a quick release at the top of the drop, Murray simply isn’t their guy.

It didn’t show up much on tape because OU’s offense was far from what’s described above, but there were examples that gave me pause about Murray’s WCO fit at the next level. Typically, in a WCO, you want to lead your slant/crossers through the middle of the field to create yards after the catch. But when you’re 5-10 and struggling to create loft to put this ball more in the middle of the field, much less throwing over towering, lengthy defensive linemen on the top of your drop to that area of the field at the NFL level, you’ll struggle to hit those routes in stride. Murray throws this ball high and behind the receiver here without a true middle-of-the-field threat to throw away from. This needs to be thrown in stride.

In the Big 12, where Murray played, defense just isn’t played at the same level as divisions such as the SEC, or anything close to the size, speed, and toughness as the NFL. So sure, Murray’s five batted passes in 2018 is a great stat and goes to show his size didn’t hurt him as a passer much at all in college. But if he’s forced into a strictly structured throwing offense in the NFL, that number really will increase. He locks onto his slant in the clip below, and lengthy defensive end Anfernee Jennings from Alabama easily knocks the ball away.

Again, I really hate size stereotypes. If you can play, then in my book you can play. The stereotypes come from the generic, square-peg-in-round-hole mentality that has surrounded the NFL and NFL roster building for years. With recent evolution to the NFL passing offense, those stereotypes are finally starting to fade, but the team that selects Murray must be with, or get with, the times. They can’t try to mold him into their West Coast offense. He will thrive in a modern, spread out system that allows him to play with his mobility and to take shots down field and give him time to look off defenders, a skill he’s truly polished at. If he gets pigeonholed into, for lack of a better example, the style of offense the Jaguars ran for the past two seasons, I’m afraid Murray’s talent will go to waste.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Combination of arm strength and accuracy to all levels of the field is the best in this class
  • Velocity across the field is a plus
  • Excellent mobility, utilized to pass and to run
  • Disciplined thrower, calculates risks
  • Smart with body on run, prioritizes sideline and sliding when necessary
  • Eye maturity and patience to manipulate deep defenders
  • Throw timing in sync with route combos and what he sees post-snap

Cons

  • Slight frame, listed at 5-10, 195 lbs. 5-10, 205 lbs with 9.5″ hands would be a win at the Combine
  • Oklahoma offense lack complexity, lack of full-field progressions
  • Lack of complexity leads to less structure, NFL pocket poise projection is unknown
  • Height vs. NFL defensive line with make WCO short-MOF throws difficult to anticipate
  • Wouldn’t commit to football over baseball until last week – should be a red flag to teams about dedication

Conclusion

Kyler Murray is far and away the most exciting, polarizing quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft class, and has a really bright future ahead of him in the NFL if he lands with a team that is willing to shape their offense completely around him. From understanding his size limitations and avoiding concepts that would infringe upon that, to utilizing his mobility to spread the field out and developing his pocket presence and full-field awareness slowly over time, Murray will require a ton of dedication from his landing spot in order to maximize his utmost potential.

The question is: Is Jacksonville that team? That question will be answered on draft night. If the offense they’ve run most recently is any indicator, then no, the Jaguars are not the right team for Kyler Murray. Their most recent offense revolves around West Coast concepts and true pocket structure, and Dwayne Haskins and his floor as a pocket passer fit that mold so much more than Murray.

However, if Jacksonville is ready to can their run-first-and-control-the-clock-through-a-West-Coast-passing-offense, and rather get innovative under new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, then Murray makes a lot of sense. They’d have to shift to a more pass-happy, zone blocking offense where pass concepts are simplified and spread out across the field, and that would require totally new techniques and concepts at each and every position along the offense. It would point towards an offensive rebuild, quite frankly, but one that could pay huge dividends over time.

I just don’t believe the Jaguars are willing to sacrifice the talent they have on defense and the bit of potential they have in their starting offensive line unit (when healthy), as well as where receivers Dede Westrbook and D.J. Chark are in their development – and of course, take the L on their 4th overall pick of an investment in running back Leonard Fournette – in order to rebuild the offense around Kyler Murray. Especially when Dwayne Haskins fits exactly what they want to do.

But if the Jaguars do choose to follow the Kyler Murray route, then Jacksonville will be in for some really, really fun offense down the line. Just, not immediately.

Check out all of the Locked On Jaguars 2019 NFL Draft scouting profiles:

Dwayne Haskins

Drew Lock

Will Grier

Daniel Jones

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown

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

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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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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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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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