By now, you are well aware that the Green Bay Packers did not select a tight end in the 2013 NFL Draft. You also are aware that they kept four tight ends on last year's roster, and that does not include Andrew Quarless who was on the Physically Unable to Perform list for the first half of the season before going on Injured Reserve shortly thereafter. Finally, you know that starter Jermichael Finley is in the final year of his contract and is no lock to return to Green Bay next year.
All of those factors make Jake Stoneburner an attractive prospect for the Packers.
The Ohio State tight end-turned-wide receiver-turned-tight end-again is very much in the mold of Finley as a big, physical pass-catching tight end. As he prepares for his first on-field workout in the Packers' rookie minicamp later this week, Stoneburner was interviewed by Matthew Hagar of Scout.com this week to discuss his draft and signing experience and his expectations for the 2013 season. As for the opportunity to compete for a roster spot in training camp, Stoneburner had this to say:
I’m going to have to be able to block, but I think I’m going out there and if I show my receiver skills that will hopefully make them say, ‘We have to hold on to him.’
He certainly seems to understand how he would fit within the Packers' offense. Because of his size and speed, he's not likely to be targeted for an H-back position. He would be a much better fit as an in-line tight end with the flexibility to split out wide as a receiver, and he will most certainly be most useful as a receiving option than as a blocker. In fact, Stoneburner's measureables seem most comparable to Brandon Bostick, and it is logical that those two will be competing against each other in camp for the chance at a roster spot.
As for going undrafted, that was clearly not Stoneburner's goal. However, the ability to pick his own landing spot is a bit of a positive, and he appears to have given it serious thought on the final day of the draft:
I wanted to make sure I had a set quarterback that is known for throwing the ball ... I’ve never really been able to have that (at Ohio State). In high school I kind of had that, and I was able to thrive in that. So when I was looking at free agency, I wanted a set quarterback that’s going to be there for a while that I know can throw the ball around. He (Aaron Rodgers) just happens to be pretty good at it.
No argument there.
Ultimately, it seems that Stoneburner has put himself in a great position to compete for a roster spot, and now it is up to him to go out and earn it. With uncertainty still surrounding Andrew Quarless and his recovery from injury and the fact that Bostick was a practice squad player last season, there is certainly a great opportunity for Stoneburner to show that he can be a valuable piece to the puzzle for the Packers.
Thanks to Ted Glover of The Daily Norseman and Land-Grant Holy Land (SBNation's Ohio State blog) for pointing this article out to us.
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