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Top tight ends to watch for in the 2023 NFL Draft

The Packers should look to fill recent vacancies at the tight end position in this year’s draft

Dalton Kincaid, Utah

Kincaid is a stellar receiving tight end that has all the physical tools to produce in the NFL. He has outstanding ball skills and has shown the ability to win one-on-one. His relatively average functional strength limits him as a blocker where he would get overpowered at the college level. That may be cause for concern depending on how the Packers want to use him. If he’s a Marcedes Lewis replacement, he isn’t the guy. If he’s a Josiah Deguara or Tyler Davis replacement, he should be able to slot in and execute kick-out blocks and blocks in space while contributing to the passing game.

Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

Michael Mayer has the tools to be a consistent and higher-echelon receiving tight end in the NFL. He has natural hands and the skill set to move the chains at the next level. He has reliable hands with some great contested catch ability but is athletically limited when trying to create separation. His body control and route running should allow him to make an immediate impact. Tight ends typically take time to develop in NFL systems, but Mayer is likely the most pro-ready of this crop of tight ends and could earn snaps based on his receiving ability alone.

Luke Musgrave, Oregon State

Luke Musgrave might have only started 13 games, but he is a tremendous athlete and has a good combination of size and speed. He’s versatile enough to line up inline, split out, or as a sniffer. He is lethal running vertically and can gash teams across the field. While he won’t move people when blocking, he does have the athleticism to climb to the second level, wall off defenders, and work effectively in a zone-blocking scheme.

Sam Laporta, Iowa

Laporta is more of a conventional inline tight end that has tenacity in the blocking game. He runs good routes and has the ability to win all over the field. He can struggle to sustain blocks at times and hasn’t consistently come down with contested catches, but he is excellent after the catch and can make people miss. He might be a little limited physically, but he’s got the attitude and physicality that you love to see from a tight end.

Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State

Kraft is an exceptional red zone threat with the ability to box out defenders and play physically at the catch point. He has an enormous catch radius and he’s a powerful run blocker, though he has limited experience in pass protection. His technique is a little sloppy blocking at times and he will round his routes. He has mostly relied on athleticism up until this point to create production. He’s likely to go later on in the draft around rounds three to four.