Packers 2014 Roster Preview: Three Unique Talents added to TE Group

Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE

The Packers added three tight ends this offseason. Each has a unique story and skill set.

To prepare for training camp, we will be breaking down every player on the Green Bay Packers' 90-man roster in more detail, looking at contract terms and 2013 statistics, before we make our prediction for which players will make the 53-man roster at the end of training camp.

After reviewing the four returning players at the tight end position, we know take a look at the three additions to the group; all of which have interesting stories and untapped potential.

#89 Richard Rodgers

6'4, 257 pounds
How Acquired: Third-round selection in 2014 Draft

2014 Contract Terms (Signed four-year, $2.8M contract on June 12)

Signing bonus: $506,016

2014 -- $420,000 cap hit
2015 -- $510,000 cap hit
2016 -- $600,000 cap hit
2017 -- $690,000 cap hit

Career College Stats

University of California Golden Bears

11 career starts, 59 receptions, 896 yards, two touchdowns

Rodgers' career was affected by the coaching turnover at Cal, as he was recruited to play tight end in the Jeff Tedford offense and bulked up to 275 pounds by his sophomore campaign. He was out of shape due to nagging shoulder and foot injuries preventing him for participating in many practices, but as a junior, Rodgers shed 30 pounds and shifted to inside receiver for new coach Sonny Dykes. Richards still hasn't reached his potential, but if given an opportunity to learn a full-time position within the Packers offense; he could develop into an every-down player.

#46 Colt Lyerla

6'4, 247 pounds
How Acquired: Undrafted Free Agent; signed on May 19

2014 Contract Terms (Signed three-year, $1.530M contract on May 19)

No guaranteed money

2014 -- $420,000
2015 -- $510,000
2016 -- $600,000

Career College Stats

University of Oregon Ducks

Lyerla finished with 34 receptions, 565 yards, 11 touchdowns.

Analysis:

Lyerla is a physically talented receiving tight end who just wasn't able to stay out of trouble while at Oregon. Lyerla was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, and had a promising career path before drugs and disciplinary issues plagued the troubled young player. Lyerla did not handle Chip Kelly's departure to the NFL very well from most reports, and quit the team at one point in his senior season.

If Lyerla can stay out of trouble, he has the skills to develop into one of the best tight ends on the team, but he has yet to prove that he can even act like an adult (much less a professional). If he does right the ship, I expect him to make the 53-man roster and push for playing time on offense.

#80 Justin Perillo

6'3, 250 pounds
How Acquired: Undrafted Free Agent

2014 Contract Terms (Three-year, $1.53M contract)

$2,000 signing bonus

2014 -- $420,666 cap hit
2015 -- $510,667 cap hit
2016 -- $600,667 cap hit

2013 Stats

University of Maine Black Bears

Perillo recorded 39 receptions, 490 yards, four touchdowns in 2013.

Career College Stats

His career numbers at Maine were 128 receptions, 1,318 yards, and 15 touchdowns in 44 games.

Analysis:

Perillo is an interesting story, but is a long shot to make the 53-man roster. He has the size to become a dependable a blocker, and his college numbers suggest that he has the ability to develop into a Mark Chmura-type red zone target. Whether he ever gets the chance to display those skills is the biggest question. With four unproven young players already on the roster, and the organization adding a third-round pick, and a talented undrafted free agent ahead of him, Perillo will have to stick out during training camp and preseason games. He could end up being a better player than Ryan Taylor or Jake Stoneburner, but will he get a chance to prove that?

Sidenote: check out this awesome video diary of Perillo from TheBigLead.com.

Josh VanDyke covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He is also currently a sports writer for MLive.com.
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