A Pre-Draft Look At Our Tight Ends

Part 5 in a position-by-position analysis of where the Packers stand going into the draft.

Starter
It looks like a given that big name free agent pickup Martellus Bennett will be the starter. A colorful personality, it will be interesting to see how he meshes with a very demanding quarterback and coach. There is no denying his talent, but talent isn’t always the most important thing.

It will also be interesting to see if Bennett is an upgrade over the flashes that Jared Cook showed as a (reasonably) similar type of player, or if it was just a spite signing after Cook’s agent bungled the entire offseason. If Bennett is anything like he’s been for the last five years, the position should be pretty solid.

Backups
The Packers picked up a second tight end in their free agency bonanza this offseason, grabbing Lance Kendricks, who replaced Cook last year when he left the Rams, as a final F-you to Cook and his agent. Kendricks is a solid blocker and solid receiver, who started all 16 games for the Rams in 2016, grabbing 50 balls for 499 yards and 2 scores (but keep in mind, that’s in the Rams offense).

Former starter Richard Rodgers has never really impressed (with the exception of this play), but is still nice to have around. He hasn’t lived up to his third round standing, but it’s not his fault he was over-drafted. He’s serviceable and possibly among the best TE3s in the league.

Also, Beau Sandland.

Talent on Roster
About as strong as any other team in the league. With very clear one, two, and three guys, the Packers should be able to do a lot with multiple tight end sets. Bennett may be the best blocker the Packers have had at tight end since Tom Crabtree and it should really add a new dimension to the offense. Kendricks is a capable blocker and receiver and Rodgers has proven to be an above average red zone and possession receiver, but a bit of a work in progress as a blocker. This is a deep position and will give the Packers offense a lot of flexibility.

Draft Need
Medium – Martellus Bennett signed a three year deal, but he’s already 30. Lance Kendricks is 29 on a 2 year deal. Richard Rodgers… well, we’ll always have the Motor City Miracle. It would be nice to get a young prospect to develop, but it’s not critical. There’s a dangerous 2 TE offense brewing though, and these guys can’t play forever. My guess is Ted comes away with a late third day pick or (more likely) UDFA to groom on the practice squad.

 

Other parts in the series
Part 1: Quarterbacks
Part 2: Defensive Line
Part 3: Wide Receivers
Part 4: Cornerbacks
Part 6: Running Backs
Part 7: Linebackers
Part 8: Offensive Line
Part 9: Safeties
Part 10: Specialists

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