JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars stayed offense-centric Friday.
That has been the Jaguars' theme for the first two days of the 2023 NFL Draft. But that wasn't the intent as much as how the first three rounds played out.
And as General Manager Trent Baalke sees it, that's absolutely OK.
"We've stayed true to the board and feel really good about the value we got," Baalke said late Friday following Day 2 of the 2023 draft. "We came out of this day with two really good football players."
The Jaguars, after selecting University of Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison No. 27 overall Thursday, began Friday by trading down. They then tried unsuccessfully to use their growing late-round draft equity to trade back into Round 3.
They finished the night with two more offensive selections – two skill players who will join an offense that ranked No. 10 in the NFL in scoring and yards in 2022:
- Round 2, No. 61 overall: Brenton Strange, tight end, Penn State. The Jaguars traded out of the No. 56 overall selection with the Chicago Bears for this selection, also adding the No. 136 overall selection – the first selection of Round 5.
- Round 3, No. 88 overall: Tank Bigsby, running back, Auburn. This was the Jaguars' lone Round 3 selection entering the draft, and marked the first selection of the draft that the Jaguars did not acquire after trading back. They traded back twice Thursday before selecting Harrison.
"We got two really good football players, key positions that add a lot of depth and versatility to what we want to do offensively," Baalke said, with Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson adding: "It's just kind of the way that the board fell to us the last two days."
Strange (6-feet-3 7/8, 253 pounds), who played four seasons at Penn State, caught 70 passes for 755 yards and 11 touchdowns in his college career. He caught 32 passes for 365 yards and five touchdowns in 2022. Strange was a third-team All-Big Ten selection as a senior, starting 26 games over the last two seasons.
Pederson called Strange "a ready-made tight end for us."
"He's a guy that can come in and pick up the offense and learn," Pederson said, adding that he will fit in well with what he considers a strong tight end room of Evan Engram, Luke Farrell and Gerrit Prince.
"The upside with him is extremely high," Pederson said of Strange.
Bigsby (6-feet-0, 210 pounds), who played three seasons at Auburn, rushed for 2,903 yards and 25 touchdowns collegiately. He rushed for 970 yards and 10 touchdowns this past season and 1,099 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2021.
He also caught 62 passes for 448 yards in three seasons.
"We just loved the way he runs," Pederson said. "He's a smart guy. He understands fronts and defenses and knows what he's looking at. He's a smart runner."
Bigsby joins a running back group that includes 1,000-yard rusher Travis Etienne, D'Ernest Johnson, Snoop Conner and JaMycal Hasty.
"I feel really good about that room," Pederson said. "There's a lot of depth there. There's great competition that's going to show up when we get into training camp. It is one of our stronger rooms on the team."
The Jaguars enter Day 3 with 10 more selections:
- No. 121 overall (Round 4)
- No. 127 overall (Round 4)
- No. 130 overall (Round 4)
- No. 136 overall (Round 5)
- No. 160 overall (Round 5)
- No. 185 overall (Round 6)
- No. 202 overall (Round 6)
- No. 208 overall (Round 6)
- No. 226 overall (Round 7)
- No. 240 overall (Round 7)
Baalke said the Jaguars tried late Friday to trade multiple Day 3 selections for a late Round 3 selection.
"The board fell the way it fell, you know, uh, you know, when you're picking where we're picking, there's a lot of good players that are going to go off the board," Baalke said. "You try to make some trades at times to do some things and takes two to tango. Sometimes you can make a move, sometimes you can't.
"Let's get into day three and see what, what that has in store for us. We feel good about the day now. It's about attacking tomorrow."