Mulligan Fills Crabtree Void

Fifth-year pro Matthew Mulligan is one of the best blocking tight ends — run and pass — in the NFL.

The Green Bay Packers, who have been doing a lot of work on this year's draft class of tight ends with the departure of Tom Crabtree, the health of Andrew Quarless and the uncertain future of Jermichael Finley, signed veteran Matthew Mulligan to a one-year deal on Sunday, according to reports.

Mulligan's strength is blocking, which could make him an asset. That was Crabtree's forte with the team and, before tearing his ACL against New York on Dec. 4, 2011, the Packers' offensive coaches frequently said Quarless was about on par with Crabtree as a blocker.

In 50 career games with 20 starts, Mulligan has caught 14 passes for 144 yards and one touchdown.

Mulligan, 28, started his career as an undrafted rookie out of Maine. He was cut twice by the Dolphins in 2008 and the Titans out of training camp in 2009. He played in five games for the Jets in 2009, 13 games in 2010 and all 16 games with nine starts in 2011. The Jets — like the Packers with Crabtree — didn't give Mulligan a restricted free agent tender and he signed with St. Louis. He played in all 16 games with nine starts in 2012, finishing with eight receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown.

At 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, he's the same height but 15 pounds heavier than Crabtree. The Rams released him on March 22.

According to the film study and statistical analysis provided by ProFootballFocus.com, Mulligan was the sixth-best tight end in pass protection last season with one sack (and one total pressure) allowed in 53 pass-blocking snaps. By comparison, Crabtree was 22nd with one sack (and two pressures) allowed in 45 pass-blocking snaps. Mulligan was ranked 10th in run blocking while Crabtree was 55th.


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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