Jaguars 2022 training camp preview: Tight ends

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With training camp just five days away, it’s time to start previewing every position on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster. We started with the quarterback position last week and the running back position a few days ago. Now, it’s time to move to another skill position in Doug Pederson’s offense, which is the tight end position. 

The Jags currently have seven tight ends on the roster. Four of them are veterans, and three are undrafted free agents. Of the veterans, Evan Engram was a signing the team made this year in free agency, while the rest of the veterans are returning from last season. That means the Jags are entering camp with a total of four new additions to the tight end room, which has been overhauled completely these last two seasons. 

Here is a preview of the Jags’ full tight end room as we close in on ca

Evan Engram

Jaguars TE (17) Evan Engram flips the ball as he runs past Head Coach Doug Pederson during passing drills at the Jacksonville Jaguars Organized Team Activity session at TIAA Bank Field Monday, May 23, 2022. [Florida Times-Union]

One of the notable offensive signings the Jags made in free agency was the addition of Engram. And while he didn’t get the long-term deals that others like Christian Kirk and Zay Jones received, the one-year deal he signed allows him to prove if he can play to his first-round potential.

Engram was drafted by the New York Giants with the No. 23rd overall pick in 2017, but never fully developed into the athletic threat at the tight end position they were hoping for. While he did have a noteworthy rookie season where he accumulated 64 catches for a career-high of 722 receiving yards and went to the Pro Bowl in 2020, he’s still looking to reach the elite level of play fans have seen from players like George Kittle and Travis Kelce.

Engram has come to the right place if he wants to turn his career around, as Doug Pederson’s scheme is very tight end friendly. If he can decrease his drop rate (has 23 career drops), he could be a frequent target to Trevor Lawrence, who could use a reliable big-bodied receiver.

Dan Arnold

Oct 17, 2021; London, England, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars tight ens Dan Arnold (85) runs with the ball in the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Jags added Dan Arnold last season through a trade where they sent cornerback C.J. Henderson to the Carolina Panthers early in the 2021 season. It didn’t take long for him to become a receiver who could provide significant yardage after the catch for Lawrence and the offense, though he only finished the season with 28 receptions for 324 yards.

Part of the reason why Arnold didn’t produce more is that he missed the Jags’ last six games with a sprained MCL that placed him on injured reserve. He’s now back and fully healthy, and like Engram, he should benefit from the way tight ends are used in Pederson’s scheme.

Chris Manhertz

Jaguars TE (84) Chris Manhertz pulls in a pass during drills on the practice fields outside TIAA Bank Field during the Jacksonville Jaguars mandatory veterans minicamp session Monday morning, June 14, 2021. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

The Jags signed Chris Manhertz last season out of free agency after coming into the 2021 offseason with a need at tight end. He was mostly used as a blocker, but was able to accumulate six catches for 71 yards and a touchdown.

Fans shouldn’t expect his role to change much this season, as Arnold and Engram seem more suitable to be the options to lead the team in receiving at the tight end position. Despite that, though, Manhertz is the most experienced tight end on the roster, and when adding in his blocking ability, it makes him a good option to be the team’s No. 3 tight end.

Luke Farrell

May 15, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Luke Farrell (89) runs a drill during rookie mini camp at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

As a fifth-round selection from last year’s draft, Luke Farrell will be heading into his second season with the Jags. He played in 15 games as a rookie and even started in four, so there is a good bit of film for the new staff to evaluate him through. In the process of his rookie season, he was also able to garner seven catches for 56 yards.

Depending on how many tight ends the Jags keep, Farrell could be a roster bubble player. However, it would be wise for the team to continue to develop him because he’s a young player and can help them both as a blocker and receiver.

Gerrit Prince

Dec 18, 2021; Shreveport, LA, USA; UAB Blazers tight end Gerrit Prince (20) runs after a catch for a touchdown during the first quarter against the BYU Cougars during the 2021 Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Gerrit Prince, who played at the University of Alabama Birmingham last season, is one of three undrafted rookie tight ends the Jags added after April’s draft. He could turn out to be a steal for the team as some draft analysts thought he’d be drafted, but it’s possible his competition level concerned scouts and executives.

Prince is coming off a career-high in receiving yards as he was able to garner 36 catches for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns with the Blazers. When popping in his tape, Prince’s speed sticks out, and if he can showcase that in camp, the Jags’ staff could be intrigued enough to give him a practice squad spot — if not one on the roster.

Grayson Gunter

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Grayson Gunter (87) slips past Jacksonville Jaguars as defensive back Brandon Rusnak (29) lets him go while participating in an offseason training activity Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Like Prince, Grayson Gunter is another rookie tight end the Jags signed in undrafted free agency. However, unlike Prince, he didn’t exit his college career in Southern Mississippi with a lot of receiving yards, only accumulating a total of 15 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown last season. As for his career stats, he garnered 23 catches for 275 receiving yards when looking at the entirety of his career.

It seems like his odds to make the team, or the practice squad are slimmer than Prince’s, but a good showing in camp and the preseason can change that.

Naz Bohannon

Shown in a game earlier this season, reserve forward Naz Bohannon (33) helped spark Clemson’s upset of Wake Forest, providing seven points, three rebounds and three assists.
Clemson Vs Presbyterian Mbb Home Opener. [The Greenville News]

Naz Bohannon is one of the more interesting players on the Jags’ roster. He was a tryout player for the Jags during their rookie minicamp and earned a contract with the team after spending his college career on the basketball court with Youngstown State (2017-21) and Clemson (2021-22). He exited the college game with an average of 9.4 points and a total rebound average of 7.4.

At 6-foot-5, 232 pounds, the Jags could have a very good athlete on their hands for Pederson to mold as a project. As a former power forward, he should already understand some of the fundamentals of the tight end position and will be a player to watch when camp starts.

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