TIGHT ENDS

 

JAGUARS FOCUS


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On the roster (7): Marcedes Lewis, Mychal Rivera, Ben Koyack, Neal Sterling, Alex Ellis, Gannon Sinclair and E.J. Bibbs.

Needs: The Jaguars have the numbers, but do they have the strength? The front office will reveal that answer on draft weekend. Right now, it’s Lewis and Rivera the projected top two tight ends – not a bad combo if they go that route. But the Jaguars could be looking at a deep tight end class and figuring it make sense to add one.

TOP FIVE

PlayerSchoolHt./Wt.Catches

1. O.J. HowardAlabama6-6/251114

Fourth-year senior stayed an extra season and that will pay off if he goes in the top 15. … Seasons of 14, 17, 38 and 45 catches in 57 games (39 starts) for the Crimson Tide. … Third-team All-America as a senior despite only three TDs. … Viewed as the best all-around tight end in the draft, able to line up in the slot as a receiver and be an effective blocker. … Named top practice player at Senior Bowl. … Ran the 40 in 4.51 seconds, second-fastest among Combine tight ends.

2. David Njoku, Miami6-4/24664

One-year wonder (third-year sophomore) who flourished with new coach Mark Richt – had 21 catches and one TD in ’15, but 43 and eight in ’16. … Great athlete – won national high jump title (six feet, 11 inches) in high school. … Eye-popping per-catch average of 16.6 yards at Miami, which shows his ability to stretch the field. … No 100-yard games last year. … Ran 4.64 in the 40 at Combine, but improved to 4.52 and 4.50 at his Pro Day.

3. Evan EngramMississippi6-3/234162

Lightest tight end at the Combine. … Fourth-year senior who arrived in Oxford at 210 pounds. … Limited to eight games as a freshman because of a high ankle sprain that required surgery. … Seasons of 21, 38, 38 and 65 catches. … Had 926 yards and eight TDs as a senior and was first-team All-America. … Ran the 40 in 4.42 seconds at Combine (fastest among tight ends). … Described as a willing blocker but clearly a receiver first. … Likely a high second-round pick.

4. Adam Shaheen, Ashland (Ohio)6-6/278129

Heaviest tight end at the Scouting Combine by eight pounds (Toledo’s Michael Roberts was 270). … Played basketball at another school in ’13 before transferring to Ashland. … Caught 127 passes (26 touchdowns) over last two seasons and declared as a fourth-year junior. … Weighed 190 pounds as a high school senior. … Conducted his Pro Day at an Ohio high school and five NFL tight ends coaches attended.

5. Gerald Everett, South Alabama6-3/239108

Spent two years at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College and transferred to UAB in 2014, which dropped football (later reinstated). Caught 13 touchdown passes last three years. … Smallest hands (8 1/4 inches) among Combine tight ends, but his 37 1/2-inch vertical jump was tied for third-best. … Projected as a Day 2 pick.

DRAFT CHATTER

A Day 2 topic will be Michigan’s Jake Butt, a two-time second-team All-America who tore his ACL in the Orange Bowl loss to Florida State. A team with depth could take him in rounds 2 or 3 and redshirt him. … Cole Hikutini’s road: Sacramento State, San Francisco City College and Louisville. Caught 50 passes for the Cardinals last year and is a Day 3 pick. … Big Hands Award goes to Toledo’s Michael Roberts (11 1/2 inches). … Arkansas’ Jeremy Sprinkle probably had to answer a lot of character questions after he was suspended for the Belk Bowl for shoplifting $260 of merchandise at a Belk store in Charlotte. … A team looking on Day 3 for a powerful blocker will go with Iowa’s George Kittle, who is 247 pounds but has experience blocking in Iowa’s pro-style offense.

A LOOK BACK

Three years is generally a fair time to assess a draft class. A look at the top five tight ends from the 2014 draft:

PickPlayerTeamTD catches

10Eric EbronDetroit7

Yardage total has gone up each year, from 248 to 537 to 711, but not many TDs.

38Austin Seferian-JenkinsTampa Bay7

Never played more than nine games in a season. Finished ’16 with the Jets

49Jace AmaroN.Y. Jets2

Thirty-eight catches as a rookie, but missed ’15 with an injury and played ’16 for Titans.

52Troy NiklasArizona2

Has played only 26 games in three years and has eight catches for 71 yards.

98Richard RodgersGreen Bay12

Hasn’t missed a game and has 108 catches, but Packers view him as a No. 2 tight end.