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NFL breakout players 2018: James O’Shaughnessy is the Jaguars tight end to watch

He may not be their top receiving threat at the position, but the do-it-all tight end should have a big role in the Jags offense.

Jacksonville Jaguars v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images

This spring the Jacksonville Jaguars decided to release their longtime starting tight end, former first-round pick Marcedes Lewis, who had been with the team since all the way back in 2006. To replace him, they went out and signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who was coming off his best season for receptions as a pro, by far, with 50 catches to go along with three touchdowns in 13 games for the New York Jets last season. They also signed former Washington tight end Niles Paul, to help shore up the position.

There is, however, another tight end who was already on the roster, one who I believe is ready to make a big contribution this season as well.

At 6’4 and 245 pounds, James O’Shaughnessy is a guy who can do it all at the tight end position.

Because he has good size, speed and athleticism for the position, line him up just about anywhere, give him any role, and he will be able to handle it. I know the other backup tight end, Ben Koyack, was known as the blocking tight end of the two, but O’Shaughnessy could more than hold his own in the trenches. He may not have been quite as dominant as Koyack (debatable), but O’Shaughnessy brought it every play, whether he was blocking defensive linemen on the line of scrimmage or linebackers and safeties on the second level and out in space.

No matter the blocking assignment, he generally found a way to get the job done.

O’Shaughnessy also showed last year that he is a very viable option in the passing game. As essentially the third string tight end, he caught 14 balls for 149 yards and a touchdown in the regular season, had two more catches in the postseason and looked smooth as hell doing so. He moved around more like a receiver when he ran his routes and he had very little wasted motion getting in and out of his breaks.

In addition to athleticism, O’Shaughnessy flashed some pretty good hands, too. Like I said before, the guy showed he could do it all as a tight end last season, and that includes some pretty nifty running after the catch.

O’Shaughnessy came to the Jaguars right before the season started last year. They claimed him after the Pats, who had traded for him last spring, cut him at the end of training camp. That may have set him back a bit in terms of the depth chart. However, with a full camp in Jacksonville this year and with what he put on film last year, I believe O’Shaughnessy will have shown the Jaguars by the time the regular season rolls around that he can give them a potent one/two punch with Seferian-Jenkins in two tight end sets.

I know while Seferian-Jenkins is one hell of a receiving tight end, he has had his issues as a run blocker, so Jacksonville will need at least one of their other tight ends to block well anyway to get their running game going again this year. I see no reason why that guy shouldn’t be O’Shaughnessy.

With increased playing time and more targets in the passing game, I believe James O’Shaughnessy is going to be able to really show people what he can do this year. His production numbers will take a big step forward, too.

Confidence level: Moderate