In Day 5 of our Green Bay Packers draft preview, here is a look at the tight ends.
Packers depth chart
Jermichael Finley is back with a pledge to donate $500 to a Boston Marathon charity for every dropped pass and touchdown catch. The Packers certainly hope Finley is writing a bigger check for reaching the end zone because he’ll have a vital role on this year’s team after Greg Jennings’ departure left the offense with just four proven playmakers in the passing game.
Finley is surrounded by D.J. Williams (fifth round, 2011), Ryan Taylor (seventh round, 2011), Andrew Quarless (fifth round, 2010) and Brandon Bostick (undrafted, 2012). Williams and Taylor combined for eight catches for 68 yards, with Williams used mostly as a blocker and Taylor mostly on special teams. Quarless spent the full season on injured reserve and Bostick showed some intriguing potential on the practice squad as a stretch-the-field receiving threat.
Packers draft outlook
This is a major position of need, even beyond Tom Crabtree’s free-agent departure and Quarless’ uncertain future after a serious knee injury sustained late in 2011. This will be Finley’s final season under contract. His cap number is $8.75 million. Will he finally live up to his potential after being one of the NFL’s most productive tight ends over the second half of 2012? If so, the Packers probably won’t be able to afford him. And if he doesn’t live up to his potential, the Packers probably will wash their hands of him.
Strength of draft class
This is an excellent class, and sources have said the Packers have done a ton of homework on it. While it’s lacking in elite talent, the depth is extraordinary. In our conversations with scouts, merely 21 names were mentioned as being worthy of a draft pick.
Bottom of the first (round)
If Tyler Eifert somehow sinks to No. 26, “I’d think Ted (Thompson) would personally run to New York and hand in the card,” one scout said. There are several mock drafts that have Eifert on the board for the Packers, but no scout we talked to could see that happening. Looking into the second round, it appears the Packers like San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar much more than Stanford’s Zach Ertz.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.