Jaguars: Tight Ends

In this series we will look at each position on the Jaguars, determine the talent and needs, and suggest changes. The next position group we are going to analyze is the Jaguars tight ends.

The Jaguars tight ends were solid, but unspectacular in 2007, and are expected to be better in 2008. They have guys who are both solid blockers and very athletic in Marcedes Lewis and George Wrighster. Greg Estandia showed some flashes of potential, and Isaac Smolko and Richard Angulo filled in admirably when Wrighster and Estandia went down.

Starter -- Marcedes Lewis. Backups -- Isaac Smolko, Richard Angulo. Injured reserve -- George Wrighster, Greg Estandia.

Marcedes Lewis is the Jaguars former first round pick from 2006, and following a disappointing rookie season in which he was battling a preseason ankle injury, he rebounded nicely in his sophomore campaign. Lewis caught 37 balls in 2007, for 391 yards and two touchdowns. Even though those numbers don't jump out at anyone, Lewis made great strides, showed a great set of hands, and was a solid blocker. The Jaguars expect Lewis to be more involved in the offense next season.

    Contract status: Lewis is under contract through the 2010 season (rookie deal).

George Wrighster has been on the Jaguars roster for each of his five NFL seasons, and has worked himself up the depth chart to where he was finally getting consistent playing time and was a target in the passing game. Wrighster has a good set of hands and athletic ability, but has always been hampered by injuries in his brief career. Wrighster is a solid option as the number two tight end.

    Contract status: Wrighster is under contract through the 2011 season.

Greg Estandia made the Jaguars roster in what technically was his first year, after spending his rookie season on the team's practice squad. Estandia is a very big target as he stands 6'8", 265 lbs. Estandia has shown some nice hands in his limited opportunities, as well as a tendency to make the tough catches. Estandia can also long snap, and will be in the mix for a roster spot once again in 2008.

    Contract status: Estandia is an exclusive rights free agent and is expected to be back next year.

Isaac Smolko filled in at the end of the season when Wrighster and Estandia went down, and caught two passes, one of which was in the playoff game at New England. Smolko was on the team's practice squad prior to his call up, and played special teams and linebacker as well as tight end in the preseason.

    Contract status: Smolko is an exclusive rights free agent and is expected to be back next year to fight for a roster spot.

Richard Angulo was the other tight end, along with Smolko, that filled in at the end of 2007 for Wrighster and Estandia. Angulo is another giant target, at 6'8", 263 lbs., and showed some good hands in his brief opportunities, as he caught eight passes for 81 yards and his first career NFL touchdown.

    Contract status: Angulo is a restricted free agent and will probably not be tendered by the Jaguars.

Are changes necessary? The Jaguars don't have a big play tight end, at least not yet. Lewis has shown some flashes, and he is beginning to look like the player that the Jaguars envisioned him to be when they selected him in the first round. Wrighster has certain athletic abilities, but can he be counted on to stay healthy? Estandia was making solid progress before going down with a season ending injury.

Other free agent options that could be available: Michael Gaines, Christian Fauria, Kris Mangum, Mark Bruener, Billy Miller, L.J. Smith, Marcus Pollard, Jerramy Stevens, and Ben Troupe.

Who makes sense: Really, the only guy out of this weak group that could be a solid upgrade is former Philadelphia Eagle, L.J. Smith. The Jaguars are probably better off going with what they currently have on the roster, as many of these guys are no upgrade and will be new to their system.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of, and a regular syndicated contributor to, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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