Final Grades: Tight Ends

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Mark Eckel

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By BOB McGINN

This is the second of a nine-part position-by-position series in which the 67 players of the Green Bay Packer’ 53-man roster and injured-reserved lists at the end of the season are graded. Playing-time percentages are from offense and defense only.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

EMANUEL BYRD (1.1%): When the Packers needed a second body at the position he came off an eight-week stint on the practice squad to play 11 snaps in the finale. When the Lions paid no attention to Byrd in the flat, his 29-yard reception was longer than all but one of the heralded Martellus Bennett’s 24 catches. Byrd lacks the size (6-2, 240), speed (4.65), athleticism (33 5/8 inches) and intelligence (13 on the Wonderlic intelligence test) to be a legitimate prospect. Grade: Incomplete.

LANCE KENDRICKS (44.6%): The Packers plucked the Milwaukee native off the street in March for a song (two years, $4 million, $1.2M guaranteed). The price was right but the production and performance weren’t. Kendricks started 79 games (204 receptions) for the Rams from 2011-’16 but at this point he’s just a second or third tight end. His blocking was better than Jared Cook’s but he wasn’t in the same hemisphere as a receiver. In fact, he wasn’t a threat at all, showing minimal speed and quickness in and out of his cuts. He led the tight ends in “bad” runs with six, one-half more than Richard Rodgers and twice Bennett’s total before he was discarded after 37% playing time. Kendricks’ drop rate of 13.8% (four of 29) was only slightly better than the butter-fingered Bennett (16.7%, six of 36). At a soon-to-be 30, he might be a band-aid for another year. Grade: D-plus.

RICHARD RODGERS (29.2%): Mired as No. 3 until Bennett’s ride on the gravy train ended after Game 7, Rodgers was No. 2 until passing up Kendricks with a month to go. Kendricks played 45.4% of his snaps in a three-point stance compared to 42.8% for Rodgers and 31.8% for Bennett. Rodgers is a sleeker-looking athlete having lost weight over time but it hasn’t been reflected by his playing speed. He’s still that 4.87 40 or thereabouts with good but not great hands (seven drops in 65 drops the past two years). Moreover, he’s a below-average blocker. Now might be the time for the Packers to move on (his contract expired) and force themselves to get better. Grade: D-plus.

The post Final Grades: Tight Ends appeared first on Bob McGinn Football.

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57packer

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#2
Yikes, this position is a mess. They've really got nothing at the position, even after 2 FA signings last spring. They need to draft one or perhaps better yet, grab one in FA. They suddenly have so many draft needs that the holes can't be filled with just picks. Hopefully BG realizes this and signs some FAs to get some freedom and wiggle room come draft day to be more of a BPA drafter.

That said I'd pretty much bring everyone back. While it's certainly time to move on from Richard Rodgers, he'll probably be available for vet minimum on a 1-yr deal. As the #3 TE he's OK until they can prep a young guy.
 

TW

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#3
Not exactly a stable of guys I'd want to have on the field at crunch time. Too many drops, and too little blocking ability. As far as hands, lacking there too. I wish he wouldn't have used the slight for the 13 Wonderlic. There are pass catchers in the HOF who have numbers in that zip code.
 

UWSP 88

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... I wish he wouldn't have used the slight for the 13 Wonderlic. There are pass catchers in the HOF who have numbers in that zip code.
Agree


Bring them all back to camp, draft a couple, search FA and let me earn a roster spot. I like the hands of RR, he is able to grab 90% of what is thrown his way, tad slow on the go. LK did BH no favors this pass season, lots of attempted body catches that were dropped. Did not see enough of the EB, bring him back and see if he has the "it".

We have a lot of picks this year, should double dip at this position.
 

GBP4EVER

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#5
I would not be shocked if the Packers looked at Jimmy Graham. While getting long in tooth he could be a decent red zone target if he comes at right price.
 

rpiotr01

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#6
Not exactly a stable of guys I'd want to have on the field at crunch time. Too many drops, and too little blocking ability. As far as hands, lacking there too. I wish he wouldn't have used the slight for the 13 Wonderlic. There are pass catchers in the HOF who have numbers in that zip code.
Not to turn this into another Bob McGinn debate, but I agree on the Wonderlic - every year it seems to fall more out of favor, but every year he goes back to that well over and over.

Anyway, no question the TE position was a dumpster fire, and doubly embarrassing that TT/Ball paid special attention to the group this off-season. MM specifically asked for a TE who could stretch the middle of the field - TT gave him three guys who were maybe the worst in the league at doing that. No wonder he was cheesed in that year end PC.

The offense really needs another big time receiver, but that doesn't mean it has to be a WR. A pass catching TE would also do the trick, at least to pull attention away from other receivers the way Finley used to.
 
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#7
Get rid of Cobb and Matthews. If not Matthews then restructure him.
Should be plenty of money to pay a FA or two. But....will we do it.
 

Budman

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The offense really needs another big time receiver, but that doesn't mean it has to be a WR. A pass catching TE would also do the trick, at least to pull attention away from other receivers the way Finley used to.
Bingo. Find playmakers and get them the ball.
 

TW

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Not to turn this into another Bob McGinn debate, but I agree on the Wonderlic - every year it seems to fall more out of favor, but every year he goes back to that well over and over.

Anyway, no question the TE position was a dumpster fire, and doubly embarrassing that TT/Ball paid special attention to the group this off-season. MM specifically asked for a TE who could stretch the middle of the field - TT gave him three guys who were maybe the worst in the league at doing that. No wonder he was cheesed in that year end PC.

The offense really needs another big time receiver, but that doesn't mean it has to be a WR. A pass catching TE would also do the trick, at least to pull attention away from other receivers the way Finley used to.
You may have covered a bigger need than a WR. A tight end who can force teams out of double coverage, and create more opportunities between the hash marks, would probably be more important than anything else.

Not being a homer here, but have watched him play - Troy Fumagalli - a solid pick that you could probably get in round 2. He has a missing finger, but that doesn't seem to stop him. He might be the best blocker in the group of TEs coming out this year. I'm choosing him over Mark Andrews, who's possibly a better receiver, because I believe Troy is a better blocker, and with the Packers running and passing game, that can be very important.

I realize he's not really as big as the nearly 250# they claim (probably 10-15# less at this time), but with a little weight room work, he could play at about 250#.

The only guy at TE that I'd take before him in Round #2 would be Mark Andrews. A better receiver, but not quite as good a blocker. I think he spent some time playing baseball??? Don't remember for sure.

Better yet, see if you can sign Tre Burton of the Eagles as a FA, then draft another TE in the middle rounds, since there's as many as 8 or 9 who can be productive in the NFL.
 
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