Yes, the Green Bay Packers drafted a tight end in the third round of the NFL Draft two years ago. Yes, they signed a free agent tight end this offseason. But no, those moves are no sign that the team is necessarily set at the position for the long term.
Richard Rodgers, who is entering his third NFL season, has proven to be an excellent red-zone option, but has been limited athletically and in a blocking capacity. Recent signee Jared Cook is on a one-year contract, and there is no guarantee that he will return beyond 2016. Therefore, the Packers appear to be doing plenty of due diligence on this year's tight end class.
However, until today, there were no reports of the Packers bringing in a tight end for a private visit. Today's report comes from NFL Network's Rand Getlin, who indicates that Green Bay invited a top prospect to work out for them:
#tOSU TE Nick Vannett had workouts and/or visits with the #Panthers, #Titans, #Falcons, #Patriots, #Chargers, #Packers and #Jets.— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) April 19, 2016
Vannett is a bit of a difficult prospect to scout, at least as a receiver; the Ohio State Buckeyes' offense has used the tight ends very little in the passing game under Urban Meyer, and as such Vannett does not have the tape or the numbers of some of the other players at his position in this year's draft class. For his career, he has caught 55 passes for 585 yards and six touchdowns, with his best season coming in 2014 as a Junior (19 receptions, 220 yards, 5 TDs). Where Vannett does excel is as a blocker, and his size (6'6", 257) certainly helps him in that regard.
The Ohio State product did not run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine due to a back issue, but he put up very solid numbers in the agility drills (7.05-second 3-cone, and 4.20-second short shuttle). He did run a 4.85 seconds at Ohio State's Pro Day in March.
Like Rodgers, Vannett is unlikely to be a seam-stretching, down-field receiving option, but his agility numbers are much better than Rodgers (7.23-second 3-cone, 4.47 shuttle). That suggests that he would at least be more effective in that role than Rodgers and would be more productive after the catch.
Keep Vannett's name in mind when the Packers are on the clock next Friday during rounds two or three.