Former Paso Robles High School star and San Jose State tight end Josh Oliver was taken Friday by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round of the NFL Draft.
Oliver was the fifth tight end taken in the draft and the 69th pick overall.
Originally recruited as a linebacker or defensive end, Oliver made the switch to tight end after injuries decimated the Sparatans’ receiving corps.
Oliver started four games as a true freshman and caught a touchdown in the AutoNation Cure Bowl. For his sophomore and junior seasons, he started 20 of a possible 24 games. However, it wasn’t until his senior season that Oliver blossomed.
He averaged 12.7 yards per catch and had a team-leading 56 catches with four touchdowns to earn a first-team All-Mountain West Conference nod.
It should come as little surprise that Oliver was drafted by the Jaguars. In addition to having a hole at the tight end position, their current offensive coordinator John DeFilippo served as an assistant at San Jose State from 2010 to 2011 and knows Oliver’s former head coach Brent Brennan well.
Oliver should have an immediate impact offensively at a relatively weak position for Jacksonville.
The Jaguars’ tight end depth chart contains Geoff Swaim, James O’Shaughnessy, Ben Koyack and Pharoah McKever.
Oliver’s main competition should be Swaim and O’Shaughnessy. However, the two have only caught a combined two touchdowns in eight seasons of service.
Swaim is coming off his best statistical season, catching 26 passes in nine games for the Cowboys, averaging 9.3 yards per catch after having nine catches through his first three seasons. He was placed on the injured reserve in Week 11 following a broken wrist. Swaim should figured to be a block-first player in the Jacksonville offense.
O’Shaughnessy started eight games for Jacksonville last season and caught 24 passes for 214 yards and was re-signed as a free agent.
Oliver will be catching passes from former Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles, who signed a four-year, $88 million dollar contract with Jacksonville as a free agent. Foles is known to target tight ends, and Oliver should only benefit from that.
With help from Foles, Philadephia’s Zach Ertz broke the NFL catch record for a tight end last season.
DeFilippo was Foles’ quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia and won Super Bowl LII with him.
Oliver joins other Paso Robles alumni who were also drafted.
Paso Robles lineman Mitchell Van Dyk was taken by the Rams in 2014, and linebacker Don Parish was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth round, 91st overall, in the 1970 draft. A pair of Paso Robles products, halfback Frank Minini and fullback Hamp Pool, were drafted in the 1940s.