Tight end is a position with the ability to change the Packers’ offense from good (even great) to unstoppable. The wide receiving corps, when healthy, has proven a force to be reckoned with, the running game, with an in-shape Eddie Lacy, is one of the better attacks in the league, and the team is quarterbacked by the All-World player that is Aaron Rodgers. What the team has lacked for several years, ever since Jermichael Finley saw his career ended with a neck injury in 2013, is an athletic tight end that was a mismatch for linebackers, corners, and safeties alike. The size, strength, and speed of a quality tight end makes coverage a nightmare for defenses, especially when they have to worry about so much else on offense. For the first time in years, Green Bay has the potential of a tight end corps that can be exactly that.
- Richard Rodgers
This may not be the most popular pick for the No.1 option at tight end after the team signed Jared Cook, but Rodgers is likely still the team’s starter. He played in 70 percent of the Packers’ offensive snaps last season, and figures to be a major figure once again. From his rookie season in 2014 to last year, he more than doubled his stats in terms of catches, targets, yards, touchdowns, and first downs. He managed to do that while tipping the scales at 272 pounds. He’s since slimmed down to 257, where he’ll pick up some speed while still being the best blocking tight end on the team.
- Jared Cook
By far the biggest signing the Packers made in the offseason, Cook is expected to give the Packers the receiving option at tight end that they haven’t had since Finley. Cook has been extremely vocal in saying that he wanted to play with a world class quarterback after playing on teams with poor offenses and poor quarterback play for the duration of his seven seasons. Entering his eighth campaign, Cook has what he wanted in Aaron Rodgers. When he was at the NFL combine years back, Cook ran a 4.50 second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds. By comparison, Randall Cobb ran only slightly faster (4.46 seconds) despite being built like a sprinter (5-foot-10, 191 pounds). Now, obviously Cook isn’t as agile as the likes of Randall Cobb, but his combination of size and speed is a nightmare for defenses to cover. He gives the Packers the option to use a two tight end set and still have the defense left clueless as to whether they will run or pass, adding yet another dimension to an already lethal offense.
- Justin Perillo
Perillo was the backup tight end last season after Andrew Quarless got hurt, but his main role was as special teams player. Barring injury, he shouldn’t be expected to see the field much on offense in 2016. He’s a quality tight end, but not a player that wows you when on the field.
- Mitchell Henry
Henry signed with the Packers in January after spending much of his rookie season on the Broncos’ practice squad. Henry has good hands but doesn’t have the speed or strength necessary to play on a consistent basis in the NFL. He may make the team as a special teams player, but his best bet is likely as a member of the practice squad.
- Casey Pierce
Pierce is a longshot to make the team and could be cut prior to the team’s final preseason game. He’s a decent blocker on the line of scrimmage but is not a quality receiver, lacking top end speed and fine tuned route running. It would be a complete shock if he made the team, and he’s a long-shot for the practice squad.