Continuing our series looking at the Green Bay Packers’ 90-man roster prior to training camp, Acme Packing Company examines the tight-end position and reveals the pre-camp predictions for the team’s 2017 53-man roster. Ten APC contributors submitted full roster predictions, and we will present the consensus predictions drawn from those individual guesses over the next two weeks.
Few offensive play callers value tight ends more than Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. Accordingly, it seems odd that the team went so many years after Jermichael Finley's career ended without finding a suitable heir.
After dalliances with the likes of Jared Cook, the Packers appear to have filled that void for the foreseeable future.
Projected starter: Martellus Bennett
The Packers didn't bring Martellus Bennett in to serve in a limited role. The Pro Bowl tight end will play on most offensive downs so long as his health allows, giving the offense a chance to reach the heights of its 2011-'14 peak.
Projected backups: Lance Kendricks, Richard Rodgers
Lance Kendricks likely secured his spot when he signed a multiyear deal with the Packers in March. Richard Rodgers needs to earn his spot through a solid performance during training camp and the preseason, but his hands and familiarity with Green Bay's offense should give him the leg up he needs to beat out the first- and second-year challengers on the 90-man roster.
Missing the cut: Beau Sandland, Aaron Peck
The promise Beau Sandland offered the coaching staff last year could manifest this year. Rodgers doesn't have a tight grip on his job after the acquisitions of Bennett and Kendricks, and the Packers could ultimately decide that the former undrafted free agent possesses a higher ceiling and thus retain him. Peck's path to a spot on the 53-man roster looks mighty similar, demonstrating enough potential to overcome the knowledge discrepancy with the more experienced tight end.
However, though those avenues exist, Rodgers handing on remains the most likely result, at least in the eyes of the Acme Packing Company writers. Unless the Packers decide to keep four or more tight ends -- something they have indeed done in the past -- there doesn't seem to be room for Sandland or Peck on the 53-man roster.