The Packers need a tight end but what are they actually looking for?
Predicting draft picks is nearly impossible. However, at certain positions, the Green Bay Packers have made it easier by relying heavily on thresholds to set their standards. They’ve broken them over time as Brain Gutekunst has even admitted (Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers serve as prime examples). But by and large, we have a good idea of what they’re looking for at receiver for example.
At tight end, that code is tougher to crack. With the position looming as one of the most glaring needs on the roster, that makes trying to identify a Packers type even more difficult in a class loaded full of capable players.
Gutekunst, even more than his predecessor Ted Thompson, prizes size-speed athletes, regularly drafting classes among league leaders in Relative Athletic Score, a measure to compare player at their position. But at tight end (and safety), they haven’t prioritized athleticism the same way as other positions going back through the Thompson era. The most athletic tight end the team drafted was technically 2005’s Clark Harris, a player who went on to have an NFL career as a long-snapper.
Players with names you may recognize come in where you might expect with Richard Rodgers (4.57), Jace Sternberger (5.2), and Andrew Quarless (6.29). All scored right around average for overall athleticism. Even Jermichael Finley, one of the most physically gifted tight ends in the league before injuries robbed him of that juice, only entered the league with a 6.42 RAS. At 6.69, Josiah Deguara is better. But as I’ve noted in the past, he leaps over 8.0 RAS as a fullback which may have been his de facto position all along.
So rather than cherry-picking profiles, we actually have to scout traits. Bummer I know. So what do the Packers need from their tight ends?