Hayden Hurst

There is no secret the Jacksonville Jaguars still have needs on the offensive line, at tight end and at wide receiver. It is believed one of these three positions will be filled with the 29th pick in the NFL Draft. While I have stressed the team take South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst, I could easily see general manager David Caldwell and Executive Vice-President Tom Coughlin add another offensive lineman to the mix.

Either way, the tight end position is still in play for these Jaguars. Hurst, a local product, could hear his name called earlier, as teams may view him as a Dallas Clark-type of player. Hurst’s ability to catch the football and block defenders will make him an attractive piece to the Jaguars’ offensive game plan.

The Jacksonville Jaguars released long-time veteran Marcedes Lewis this offseason and added Austin Sefarian-Jenkins in free agency. Sefarian Jenkins has only averaged 7-yards per catch in his career. The only other tight ends on the roster are Ben Koyack, who caught the game-winning touchdown against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC wild card game, and James O’Shaughnessy, who was used sparingly last season. Blocking is a major component for tight ends in the Jacksonville Jaguars run game.

Per ESPN.com, there are only two tight ends that fit that bill: South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst and South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert. Hurst (6-foot-3, 250 pounds), who attended high school in Jacksonville, caught 100 passes for 1,281 yards and three touchdowns in three seasons with the Gamecocks after playing two seasons of minor league baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

“You can find some guys that are a little bit on the lighter side that can do the pass aspect of the game and do some of the blocking aspect,” executive VP of football operations Tom Coughlin said. “In that case you would hope the guy would fill in as you would in pass protection roles like a back does. But to be able to say that this guy’s at the point [of attack on the line of scrimmage] and he’s coming off the ball and you can play him in those situations and eventually into even third down, that’s tough.”

The other option may be for the Jaguars to grab a tight end in Round 2, where Mark Andrews of Oklahoma might be available. Mike Gesicki of Penn State has been a hot name of late. The Jaguars may need to move up in the second round if they feel he could be the player they desire.


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