Packers pre-draft position report: Tight ends

Apr. 16, 2013
Packers position series: Is this TE Jermichael Fin...
Packers position series: Is this TE Jermichael Fin...: April 16: Press-Gazette sports editor Mike Vandermause and reporter Rob Demovsky discuss the Green Bay Packers' tight end picture with Jermichael Finley back in the fold and the addition of blocking tight end Matthew Mulligan.
Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley. File/Press-Gazette Media

Once again this year, Packers beat writer Rob Demovsky will provide a pre-draft breakdown of the Packers’ roster at each position heading into the April 25-27 NFL draft.

Here’s the position schedule:

April 10: Defensive line
April 11: Linebackers
April 12: Defensive backs
April 13: Offensive line
April 14: Running backs
April 15: Receivers
Today: Tight ends
April 17: Quarterbacks
April 18: Special teams

Tight ends

What they have: Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, Ryan Taylor, D.J. Williams, Brandon Bostick, Matthew Mulligan.

Position analysis: The Packers paid Jermichael Finley’s $3 million roster bonus last month ensuring he will play out the final year of his contract, which will pay him a total of $8.25 million this season in combined salary and bonuses. If he’s the same player he was late in the season, when he caught 32 passes for 396 yards and a touchdown in the final seven games, then perhaps this won’t be his last season. Coach Mike McCarthy said recently: “I really think the bye week, he had an opportunity to step away and change some things. He was a different guy. He was focused and productive in the second half of the season.” Quarless missed all of last season because of his 2011 knee injury but he might be the kind of in-line blocker the Packers are looking for from this position to boost the running game. Last season, Tom Crabtree was the team’s best blocking tight end, but he signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent. Taylor also has more blocking ability than pass-catching and is a core special teams player. Williams, in two years, hasn’t made a major impact on the offense, but he’s supposed to be a pass-catching tight end. Bostick, a converted receiver, spent last season on the practice squad but has some potential in the passing game. His blocking is raw. Mulligan was signed off the street and has played in 50 career NFL games with the New York Jets and St. Louis Rams but has only 14 career catches. At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, he fits what McCarthy is looking for in a blocking tight end.

The future: McCarthy believes one key to improving the running game might be adding some more big blocking tight ends like Mulligan. McCarthy said: “I’d like to have one, possibly two on-the-line tight ends, the bigger body, the 255 (pounds), 260.” They might also have to consider adding a pass-catching tight end if they’re not planning to re-sign Finley. If that’s the case, then perhaps they would consider taking Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert or Stanford’s Zach Ertz in the first round.

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