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Draft-ervations: Day 2


JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars stayed offensive on Day 2.

The Jaguars, after selecting University of Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison with the No. 27 overall selection of the 2023 NFL Draft Thursday, selected two more offensive players Friday: Penn State tight end Brenton Strange (Round 2, No. 61 overall) and running back Tank Bigsby (Round 3, No. 88 overall).

They also executed their third trade of the draft, trading the No. 56 overall selection to the Chicago Bears for the Nos. 61 and No. 136 overall selections. They had traded back twice in Round 1 before selecting Harrison.

Members of Jaguars Media – senior writer John Oehser, senior reporter/editor J.P. Shadrick and team reporter Kainani Stevens – will share an observation following each day of the draft. Day 2 observations:

John Oehser, Senior Writer:

  • The themes of the Jaguars' 2023 NFL Draft became clear Friday night: Offense-centric and sticking to the board above all else. The team didn't necessarily plan entering the draft to move boldly to improve an offense that ranked No. 10 in the NFL last season, but Friday night produced two players who should fit snugly into Head Coach Doug Pederson's style of offense. Strange is a versatile tight end who should complement veteran Evan Engram and allow Pederson to use more two tight-end sets, something he utilized often as the head coach in Philadelphia but sparingly in his first season with the Jaguars. Bigsby felt like a similar selection because he should allow the Jaguars to use a running-back-by-committee approach more similar to the one Pederson employed in Philadelphia. Many observers and fans have wondered why the Jaguars didn't address cornerback or pass rusher in the first three rounds. While that was surprising, the thought here is that Days 1 and 2 show General Manager Trent Baalke's commitment to sticking with value and not "forcing up the board." It would have been easy to force a corner in the first three rounds. Instead, he took the highest-value player in the spot. That's not necessarily the most popular approach. It's often the smartest one.

J.P. Shadrick, Senior Reporter/Editor:

  • The Jaguars came away with two players who will help their offensive depth and versatility on Day Two. I called two Penn State games on radio last season, and Strange was key in both Nittany Lions wins. In the Week 1 game at Purdue just before halftime, Strange caught a pass near midfield then broke two tackles and outran the defense to the end zone for a key 67-yard touchdown. In a late-September game at Auburn, Strange had a season-best six catches for 80 yards, and was a lead blocker on two breakaway runs for their freshman running back in a big road win. All season they used him out wide as a receiver, they motioned him in to block, they lined him up in the backfield to block, they lined him up in the T-formation in the Rose Bowl Game to block. Versatility is key, and as he said, his best football could be ahead of him. Seeing Bigsby up close and personal over the last few years, he's just what the Jaguars did not have on offense last season: a downhill back that isn't afraid to stick his nose in there and has the size to do it, plus an extra gear if needed. He's 6-0, 210, but seemed to run bigger and more physical than that. I'd be curious what he plays like if he adds about 10-to-15 pounds. This is a perfect option for short-yardage situation to give Travis Etienne Jr. a breather or put in a change-of-pace back. In a few years of chaos in the football program at Auburn with multiple coaching changes and inconsistent quarterback play, Bigsby was one of only a few constants on the offense on the Plains.

Kainani Stevens, Team Reporter:

  • The Jaguars ended the second day of the draft by adding two more offensive weapons to an already loaded offense. Baalke and Pederson's vision became clearer as this team is loading up and will try to outshoot their opponents in 2023. The stockpiling of picks may become a bit cumbersome as we enter the final day of the draft. The Jags attempted to flip some picks and get an additional second-round pick but were unable to get a deal done. Hopefully, more trade options arise on Saturday or a dozen new rookies will be heading to Jacksonville.

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