Scouting report: Intro to new Jags TE Brenton Strange
The Jacksonville Jaguars came into the 2023 NFL Draft with just three tight ends on the roster, which made it a near certainty for them to draft one early. On Day 2, they did just that with the selection of Penn State tight end Brenton Strange in the second round.
In what was a loaded tight end class, Strange wasn't a player many projected to the Jags and was a bit of an under-the-radar prospect. The reason for that was that he didn't have stats that were eye-popping at Penn State and wasn't targeted a lot. Throughout four seasons with the Nittany Lions, Strange only brought in 70 receptions for 755 yards. During his senior season in 2022, he caught 32 passes for 362 receiving yards and five touchdowns, all of which were career highs.
With stats that weren't overly impressive, many fans have expressed their doubts about the selection of Strange. However, some pundits have praised the selection, most notably ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. After the draft, he said the selection of Strange was the Jags' best value pick and that the young tight end could outplay the production fans witnessed at Penn State.
"Even though the Jaguars ended up making 10 picks on Day 3, I tentatively had Strange circled as their best pick on Saturday morning before Round 4 had kicked off, McShay said. "That's how much I like his game. He's possibly the most underrated player in this class and ended up No. 68 on my board. Yes, he ran a 4.70 in the 40, and yes, he never broke 400 receiving yards in a season at Penn State. But I plead you to go watch some highlights before you make an evaluation of Strange. He just wasn't targeted much in the Nittany Lions' offense and can outplay his college resume in the pros."
McShay wasn't the only national analyst praising the pick as NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms said the Jags offense got a solid dual-threat for their offense.
There seems to be a wide range of perspectives on Strange when looking at how the fans and the national media view him. That said, we decided to do a scouting report highlighting the pros and cons of his game.
How does Strange impact the Jags?
While Evan Engram hasn't reported to the Jags' facility for what is a voluntary part of the offseason, he's the Jags' TE1. However, things were unclear when looking past him on the depth chart.
The Jags decided not to retain tight end Dan Arnold in free agency, while Chris Manhertz signed with the Denver Broncos. That put the team in a predicament where Luke Farrell and Gerrit Prince were the only two tight ends on the roster outside of Engram. Of the two, Farrell was the most likely candidate to be the Jags' TE2 as he's played in 32 games despite the limited amount of catches he's registered (11).
The loss of Manhertz also put the Jags in a predicament where they lost their best blocker in the tight end room. When factoring in that key attribute, it's not at all shocking that the Jags drafted Strange, who did more than his share of blocking for the Nittany Lions.
Where Strange differs from Manhertz is his ability as a receiver, though. When the veteran was on the field for the Jags, it felt as though it was a good chance that he'd be there to block. However, with Strange, the tight end position would be a lot less predictable for the Jags as he took 856 pass-blocking snaps and 360 in-line snaps during his last three seasons in college.
Brenton Strange's scouting report
Position: Tight end
College: Penn State
Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 253
A willing and feisty blocker
Has good measurables
Can help from various alignment spots
Fights and gives relentless effort after contact
Has sneaky hurdling ability
Needs to approach defenders with better blocking angles and positioning at times
Route running will need to be polished in the NFL after running a limited route tree
Plays upright at times
Often gets chopped down
Will need to improve his strength
Highlights of his strengths