We conclude our review of the receiving options for the Green Bay Packers with the tight end position. The Packers chose not to draft a player at the position in the 2013 Draft, instead signing a single free agent beforehand and adding an undrafted rookie immediately afterwards. Here's our take on the position as it currently stands.
Matthew Mulligan (St. Louis Rams)
Mulligan's primary value to the Packers will be as a run-blocker, where he graded out well by Pro Football Focus regularly in 2012. He never has been a major threat in the passing game, however, and he has some mixed reviews as a pass-blocker, so he'll need to develop those areas of his game in order to keep defenses from keying on his presence on the field as a sign that the Packers will surely be running the ball.
Jake Stoneburner (Ohio State Buckeyes)
On the other hand, Stoneburner is a receiving tight end through and through, with very good ball skills and excellent straight-line speed for a tight end. He stands about 6' 3-1/2" tall and weighs in around 250 pounds, but ran a 4.62 40 at the combine and bested that with a 4.53 at his Pro Day. When the Buckeyes had minimal established receiving talent two years ago, he even moved out to wide receiver full-time. He did not have a ton of receivng production, but a lot of that was due to a Buckeye offense that was poor in the passing game overall. Frankly, it's a surprise to me that he went undrafted.
We know what Finley is capable of and his limitations. With the addition of Mulligan and the return of Quarless, I expect that he is split out off the line even more in 2013. He gives Aaron Rodgers a big target like nobody else on the team, and if he can cut down the drops and continue to force missed tackles like he did in the second half of 2012 he should retain Rodgers' trust and have a solid season.
This is the big question mark at the position this season - what can Quarless provide after missing all of 2012 due to torn knee ligaments? He really came on as a blocker in 2011, and if he can continue that progression and be back to full strength he will likely be the tight end with the most complete set of skills on the roster.
Williams actually had several positive blocking performances in 2012, moving to more of an H-back role and run-blocking on more than half of his snaps. He played slightly over 1/4 of the team's snaps last season, and if he continues to develop in that blocking role we could be seeing the end of the fullback position on the Packers' roster.
Taylor was also used at H-back last season, and was almost exclusively a run-blocker. He remains a key special teams contributor, however, and that will likely continue to be his most appealing attribute.
As a practice squad player throughout 2012, Bostick obviously never saw the playing field. However, he showed some promise as a receiver during training camp after being signed as a rookie free agent in late May and according to Packers.com was acknowledged regularly for his work on the practice squad. As that link notes, Bostick has bulked up to 260 pounds and will look to improve on his blocking this off-season.
Projected Depth Chart
Tight End: Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, Matthew Mulligan, Brandon Bostick, Jake Stoneburner
H-Back: D.J. Williams, Ryan Taylor
Check out all of Acme Packing Company's draft coverage: 2013 NFL Draft Central | Green Bay Selects Datone Jones in First Round | Green Bay Drafts Eddie Lacy in Second Round | Complete List of Packers' Draft Picks| Packers Undrafted Free Agent Tracker
Keep an eye on the news about quarterback Aaron Rodgers' new contract extension
Not a member? Join Acme Packing Company and start commenting | Follow @AcmePackingCo on Twitter | Like Acme Packing Company on Facebook | Subscribe to our RSS feed