JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tight end Marcedes Lewis is one game away from playing in the first Super Bowl of his 15-year career. He’s not the threat as a receiver he once was and is primarily a blocker for the Green Bay Packers.
Good for Lewis, but the Jacksonville Jaguars certainly could have used the player they drafted in the first round in 2006 the past two seasons. Tight end has been a mess for the Jaguars, and they’ve been forced to rely on street free agents signed during the season.
But Lewis isn’t the only former Jaguar who will be playing this weekend. Here are four others the Jaguars believed weren’t good enough to even be on their roster:
Sheldon Day, 49ers defensive tackle
The Jaguars drafted Day in the fourth round in 2016, and he played in every game as a rookie and six games is his second season before the Jaguars waived him on Nov. 18, 2017. The San Francisco 49ers claimed him off waivers and it was an easy transition for Day: Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh had spent the previous three seasons as the Jaguars’ linebackers coach and was running the same defensive system.
Day has started in two games and has 15 tackles and one sack as part of a defensive line rotation that includes rookie Nick Bosa and veterans Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. Day started in the 49ers' victory last Sunday over Minnesota.
Where he could have helped the Jaguars: Day is a 3-technique tackle and the Jaguars didn’t have much at that spot after Marcell Dareus went down with a core muscle injury. Taven Bryan, the team’s first-round pick in 2018, has struggled at times at the position, and Day certainly would have played heavily in the rotation regardless.
Allen Lazard, Packers wide receiver
The Jaguars signed Lazard as an undrafted free agent in 2018 out of Iowa State, where he was a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection.
However, Lazard had trouble with drops and got fewer and fewer reps as training camp went on. He was cut and signed to the practice squad and stuck there until Green Bay, dealing with injuries at receiver, signed him to their active roster in mid-December of 2018. He played in all 16 games in 2019 and caught 35 passes for 477 yards and three touchdowns.
He started the last three games of the regular season and last Sunday’s game against Seattle, though he had just one catch for 5 yards.
Where he could have helped the Jaguars: For the second year in a row, the Jaguars dealt with multiple injuries at tight end and the 6-foot-5, 227-pound Lazard could have helped in the red zone by giving quarterbacks Gardner Minshew and Nick Foles another big, physical target. The Jaguars were next-to-last in the league in red zone efficiency (40.4%).
Tyler Ervin, Packers running back
Houston drafted Ervin in the fourth round in 2016 and he returned kicks in 12 games as a rookie. He played in four games in 2017 before suffering a torn patella tendon. He played in nine games in 2018 before being waived on Nov. 7, 2018.
Ervin went to camp with Baltimore in 2019 and the Jaguars claimed him off waivers on Sept. 1. He got sporadic work as a punt and kick returner in six games before being waived on Nov. 30. Green Bay claimed him and he returned 11 punts and six kickoffs for the Packers in four games in the regular season.
He had a kickoff return, a punt return, and two carries for 25 yards in the Packers’ 28-23 victory over the Seahawks last Sunday.
Where he could have helped the Jaguars: If nothing else, he could have been the Jaguars’ primary kick returner all season, which would have kept undrafted rookie Michael Walker off the field. Walker fumbled two kickoffs that opponents turned into touchdowns in games the Jaguars lost.
Blake Bell, Chiefs tight end
The Jaguars signed Bell on Oct. 16, 2018, after injuries to tight ends Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul. A fourth-round pick by San Francisco in 2015, he had caught 22 passes in his first three seasons (two with San Francisco and one with Minnesota) and was out of football until the Jaguars called.
Bell caught eight passes for 67 yards in 10 games in 2018 and the Jaguars didn’t bring him back. He signed with Kansas City and caught eight passes for 67 yards in 15 games (no starts) as a reserve behind Travis Kelce. Bell caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes early in the fourth quarter Sunday.
Where he could have helped the Jaguars: The 6-foot-6, 252-pound Bell isn’t a prolific pass-catcher, but he could have helped as a blocker, which was a major weakness of Jaguars tight ends.