|30||Andrew Quarless||TE||6-4||252||25||5||Penn State|
|31||Brandon Bostick||TE||6-3||250||25||2||Newberry College|
|34||Davante Adams||WR||6-1||212||21||R||Fresno State|
Quarless: In a comeback season from a major knee injury that cost him the final four games of 2011 and all of 2012, Quarless replaced injured Jermichael Finley as the No. 1 tight end and caught 32 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Obviously, it was a tale of two seasons. In the six games with Finley, as Quarless got back into the swing of things, he averaged 30.5 snaps and caught four passes for 28 yards. In the 10 games without Finley, as Quarless knocked off more and more of the rust, he averaged 52.0 snaps and caught 28 passes for 284 and both scores.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Quarless caught the ball well, with just two drops. However, he forced only three missed tackles and averaged 4.4 yards after the catch per catch. Compare that to Finley, who forced 10 missed tackles and averaged 9.5 YAC on his 25 receptions. The running game averaged 0.27 yards less per carry with Quarless in the game compared to when he was out, according to league data.
“The things that Andrew and I talked about immediately after the season were, No. 1, we need to finish better,” tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot said. “No. 2, we need to get better with our fundamentals as far as our footwork in the run game and our pad level. In the pass game, we need to make a bigger impact. We have to run routes more efficiently. I think that the time that Andrew spent off the field rehabbing and getting his knee back to health cost him — not unlike anyone else in that position.”
Quarless was re-signed in free agency with a two-year, $3 million contract that included a $350,000 signing bonus.
Bostick: The former Division II wide receiver flashed his immense potential occasionally last season. In 11 games, he caught seven passes for 120 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown. He had a gain of at least 22 yards in three consecutive games. He averaged 8.9 YAC per catch but dropped three out of 14 targeted passes, according to ProFootballFocus.com. The running game averaged 0.81 yards less per carry with Bostick in the game compared to when he was out, according to league data.
Bostick missed the final two games of the season with a foot injury that required surgery. The injury kept him out of half of the offseason practices.
“The more reps that Brandon gets, the better off he’s going to be,” Fontenot said. “The more memories that he’s able to create and experience on the field practicing against our defense in a full-tempo situation, the better off he’s going to be. Obviously, he’s taking baby steps since he’s been back, but pleased with his progress. Ultimately, we’re really thinking about having him come into training camp healthy and ready to go.”
Bostick’s athleticism gives him a chance to partially offset Finley’s possible absence. He’s confident he can get the job done.
“Last year, I was more focused on making the team and doing the little stuff,” he said. “Now, I’m focused on I want to be the starter. I want to be that guy. Everything I’m doing right now, I want to be the starter. I’m trying to make plays every time I’m out there and trying to be consistent.”
Rodgers: The best tight end — and the best rookie — on the practice field this spring was Rodgers, a third-round pick out of Cal. After catching 39 passes for 608 yards and an impressive 15.6-yard average in 2013, Rodgers caught just about everything in sight during the offseason practices.
Will it translate to training camp and the regular season? Is Rodgers, who ranked ninth in the 40-yard dash out of the 10 drafted tight ends, athletic enough to win when the tempo picks up? Is he tough enough to block, when even his college coach didn’t think he was tough enough to block?
“Richard is a pretty balanced player,” Fontenot said. “What I saw on tape is exactly what we got. He’s very efficient with his footwork, he’s very efficient moving; he doesn’t waste a lot of motion. He’s very smart, he does pick up things relatively quickly. He works very hard. I like what I see so far. It will be fun to get the pads on to see how he handles things physically.”
Kuhn: The dependable Kuhn rushed 10 times for 38 yards and caught 13 passes for 81 yards last season. The box score, however, doesn’t describe his value. He saved the season with his block of Julius Peppers, a play that allowed Aaron Rodgers to throw the winning touchdown pass. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Kuhn ranked fifth among all backs in pass protection.
“Every time you get a chance to go out on the field, you try and reiterate why you’re valuable,” Kuhn said. “And whether that’s playing fullback, halfback, shoot, any position on the offense, you want to do the best you can and show people all around the league that you are a valuable player, and I think I did that pretty good.”
Kuhn has scored a touchdown in five consecutive postseasons — the only player in the league to accomplish that feat — and his seven career playoff touchdowns is tied with Dorsey Levens for second place in franchise history behind Antonio Freeman’s 12.
Adams: With only Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin as proven weapons in the passing game, the Packers could use an instant splash from Adams, their second-round pick. Chances are, that’s not going to happen. As rookies, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Nelson and Cobb combined to average 37.5 receptions, 512.3 yards and 2.0 touchdowns. Over the past eight drafts, only three rookie receivers produced a 1,000-yard season.
Adams had off-the-charts numbers at Fresno State. Even while playing only two seasons, his 38 career touchdown receptions were more than any player in the nation. Like Jones, Adams’ game is about getting open, making the catch and using his power to gain additional yardage. His 4.56 clocking in the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine beat only four of the 33 drafted receivers, but his 39.5-inch vertical leap ranked second.
Adams dropped a few passes during the offseason practices, but receivers coach Edgar Bennett didn’t think it was cause for concern.
“He has good hands,” Bennett said. “He has good hands, strong hands, shows all the ability to catch the ball away from his body, pin the ball, go up and attack the ball at the high point. Shows the flexibility to adjust to the football. Overall, we felt like he had good hands.”
Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.
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.