Rumors were buzzing at last weekend’s NFL Combine. The biggest name that caught the attention of Green Bay Packers fans was free agent tight end, Austin Hooper. It was reported by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky that the Atlanta Falcons do not plan on retaining Hooper and the Packers are one of the teams most interested in the 25-year-old star tight end. If guys like George Kittle, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz are the tier one tight ends in the league, then Hooper is the leader of tier two constantly teetering between the two tiers.
Since 2017, Austin Hooper has made two Pro Bowls while averaging 65 receptions per season, 658 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Last season, was the best year of his career where he had career highs in receptions, yards, touchdowns, and AV.
If the Packers signed Austin Hooper this offseason, they would be getting their most dynamic tight end since Jermichael Finley in 2011. Hooper is a young, 6’4” 254 pound, quick tight end who is essentially the opposite of what the Packers had in Jimmy Graham the last two seasons. As a pass catcher, Hooper would give Aaron Rodgers a downfield threat who can also take the attention off of Davante Adams. If the Packers draft a wide receiver in the first or second round like many people expect them to do and sign Austin Hooper, their receiving corps will already be leaps and bounds better than last season’s. As a blocker, Hooper isn’t elite but he can hold his own against the league’s best edge rushers.
Overall, Hooper is a top four or five tight end in the league and would without a doubt improve Green Bay’s offense. He’s going to cost a hefty price but as he enters his prime, there’s no reason Hooper can’t become a pass catcher comparable to Travis Kelce. At 36-years-old, Aaron Rodgers needs all the help he can get. He needs offensive playmakers who are always a threat to make a big play. Austin Hooper is that guy. With Hooper, Green Bay’s tight end position, along with Jace Sternberger and maybe Marcedes Lewis, will be one of the best in the NFL. This is one scenario in which one player can completely change an offense no matter who else is around him.