According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Green Bay Packers invited former Wisconsin tight end Jake Ferguson to their local day on Friday. Previously, the players reported to have attended the Packers’ local day were Wisconsin safety Scott Nelson and Northern Illinois tight end/fullback Clint Ratkovich, who unfortunately tore his ACL at the event.
Local days are a way for NFL teams to get an up-close look at prospects without having to spend one of their 30 visits in the pre-draft process to get a player in the building. Based on geography, teams are able to invite “local” prospects to their facilities for what amounts to a joint pro day without it counting against their visit count.
Ferguson is an interesting prospect, as he could realistically be a mid-round draft pick for the Packers. At the moment, Ferguson is ranked as the 128th overall prospect and eighth overall tight end on the consensus big board. The gem in a weak tight end class (at the top of the draft at least) is Colorado State’s Trey McBride, who is projected to go in the second round. The sweet spot for inline (Y) tight ends, though, is the third round, as Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert, Washington’s Cade Otton and Virginia’s Jelani Woods are expected to go off the board at the end of Day 2.
Should that trio go before the Packers are on the clock with the 92nd overall pick, their lone third-round selection in the 2022 NFL draft, Ferguson becomes an intriguing option with one of Green Bay’s two fourth-round picks.
Jake Ferguson posted a great cone time, but his overall #RAS from the Combine ended up fairly average, which isn't really unexpected.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 4, 2022
Splits are projected until we get officials. pic.twitter.com/l3ZSjhNzgn
Ferguson, famously the grandson of former Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez, recorded 145 receptions, 1,618 yards and 13 touchdowns with the Badgers over a four-year career with the program. While the Packers have a solid tight end room in the short-term, the team needs a long-term option to replace the soon-to-be 38-year-old inline tight end Marcedes Lewis, who is in the final year of a two-year contract with the team. While Robert Tonyan and Josiah Deguara are contributors at the position, they are closer to the move tight end archetype than inline tight ends, which is where Ferguson’s value would play well in the room starting as soon as 2023.