With the 69th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select tight end Josh Oliver from San Jose State.
These words are hard to fathom for a 22-year old trying to standout among the obscurity of a 1-11 team.
Much less a college program hidden on the west coast.
However, despite struggling through three different quarterbacks last year, Oliver still found the opportunity to shine (56 receptions, 706 yards, and four touchdowns) as a First-team All-Mountain West selection.
Now it’s time for the NFL.
As you can see, Oliver is not a stranger to uphill battles on the gridiron. This will be no different as he transitions to the next level in Jacksonville. In fact, he welcomes the challenge the Jaguars ahead of him in 2019 and beyond.
At 6′ 5″ and 250 lbs. Oliver is not exactly known for his ability to run block which needs polishing. However his athleticism (4.63-40 yard at combine) provides the capability to create space. This makes him a dynamic option for quarterback Nick Foles.
His speed and toughness in the open field makes Oliver an intriguing target on offense. Therefore, potentially creating advantageous mismatches for Foles and the gang.
Yes, we all know Foles utilizes the tight end for success. But what stuck out to Oliver during his pre-draft visit was his conversation with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. The new coach took time out to discuss his vision for Oliver in the offense.
In a recent article in Jacksonville.com, Oliver said, “I came up and visited, so we got to talk to some extent about the offense and how [DeFilippo] uses tight ends and how he likes to move them around and do all types of stuff with them.”
The article continues with a rave review from the Jaguars’ assistant director of player personnel, Andy Dengler, “I like the makeup of the person. We had him in on a visit when he came in he was very impressive, in person and as a man. He has a lot of athletic ability.” Dengler continued, “The blocking part will have to come, but that’s why we have NFL coaches. But he’s got good hands (and) can stretch the field.” Admirable accolades for a player that is set to start rookie mini-camp on Friday.
Expectations for Oliver are unclear at best. Will Oliver’s style of play translate to the next level?
Perhaps, as that is the direction the league is moving towards.
The Jaguars hope he is able to add some mass to his frame and make strides as a blocker. Perhaps his grittiness from his linebacker days as a prep will payoff from the beginning.
Competition for the starting nod will come down between Oliver, Geoff Swaim, and perhaps James O’Shaughnessy.
Hopefully the veterans will challenge the rookie and create a little competition. But also mentor his development as training camp begins later this summer.