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Colt Lyerla photo courtesy of Standing O Sports

Tight end competition one to watch for Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers tight end competition is one for not only a roster spot, but also time on the field. With Andrew Quarless the only tight end currently on the roster with significant experience, this summer’s competition is sure to be one to watch.

Vikings Packers FootballDon’t get me wrong, I like Andrew Quarless, but he seems like a stop gap rather than a long-term producer. But I could be wrong. He is a willing blocker and can make plays through the air. At times he has flashed big play ability. Against Dallas and Atlanta last season he posted season highs and nearly identical stats, six receptions for 66 yards on seven targets and a touchdown in each game. It should also be appreciated that he has playoff and Super Bowl experience.

After Quarless are a bunch of guys with the ever shifty P-word – potential – and a couple of guys that will make the roster on their ability to play tight end, but mainly their special teams talents.
Third year tight end Brandon Bostick, built very much like Jermichael Finley – more on him momentarily – with similar athletic credentials got on the field some in 2013 before breaking a bone in his foot. A big receiving target who Coach Mike McCarthy has called an ascending player and praised the development of Bostick’s blocking skills.

Photo courtesy of sportspyder

Photo courtesy of sportsspyder

At the end of the third round the Packers may have reached just a bit and selected tight end Richard Rodgers from Cal. He’s a gifted athlete and possesses a pair of rather large hands, 10 1/4” to be exact, this an asset that seems to be a prerequisite for a tight end.

His upside is his athleticism, burst off the line of scrimmage and anticipated play making ability as a receiver. As a blocker he needs some polish. The biggest thing about Rodgers is he is a bit of a mystery. At Cal he played under two different coaches and played two different positions, wide receiver and tight end. Rodgers is a project who Ted Thompson may believe could be coached up to blossom into a Jimmy Graham-type player.

The wild card of this bunch is Colt Lyerla from Oregon. Much has been written about his shenanigans off the field. Thompson is rolling the dice with this acquisition hoping that the stable personalities in the Packers’ locker room can help Lyerla make a fresh start in the NFL.

The experts believe Lyerla is a first round talent who got in his own way with erratic behavior. The Packers took a flyer and signed him as an undrafted free agent following a two-day tryout. Lyerla ran a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash and posted a 39-inch vertical leap at the NFL combine this past spring.

He is extremely athletic for the position and is said to be hard working and competitive. If he can keep his emotions in check the Packers may have gotten a steal.

Ryan Taylor has been a very consistent player on the Packers special teams units. He has toughness and a mean streak. Both are attributes needed to be a special team’s ace. His contributions on offense have been and are expected to be minimal.

Jake Stoneburner, a second-year player from Ohio State cracked the roster in 2013 after starting out on the practice squad. He will have to battle to find a home on the active roster.

Also on the Packers’ 90-man roster is Justin Perillo an undrafted free-agent from the University of Maine.

As each day passes it seems less likely that the Packers will be re-signing free agent tight end Jermichael Finley. After injuring his neck and subsequently having spinal fusion surgery in 2013 the Packers have taken a very cautious approach to resigning him. I would guess that Finley’s time in Green Bay may be up.

Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick both have a great opportunity in front of them. Time will tell if they can capitalize on it. I’ve got hunch either Rodgers or Lyerla may find their way on the field and surprise a few people. This battle at tight end will be fun to watch.

In addition to writing for Patrick Hughes is the creator of “On the Road with the Green & Gold – A Journey Into Packer Nation.” Patrick also blogs about garden design at Wheel & Barrow Landscape, and formerly wrote for Oregon Sports News.


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  • Nick Hesterly

    Andrew Quarless, Richard Rodgers, Colt Lyerla, Ryan Taylor will be the guys we keep.

    • Phillip

      Bostick has as much to offer on ST as Ryan Taylor and 10 times more to offer at the TE position than Taylor does. MM even called Bostick 1 of the 4 core ST guys. Why would they even think about Ryan Taylor over Bostick?? Lyerla played ST, i’m sure Richard Rodgers could play ST, Green Bay is gonna be looking for a TE who can step up and become the future for Green Bay at TE, question marks as to who’s gonna be the TE in a couple of years, they can’t afford to waste a TE roster spot on a guy they know definitely isn’t gonna be that over a guy who could potential be a #1 TE. They can’t waste a spot on a guy who’s solely gonna contribute on ST, ST players can be found in other positions, TE doesn’t have to play ST, but like i said, Bostick and Lyerla are ST guys as well as potential future #1′s. If Lyerla’s head is straight all camp and preseason, i highly doubt Taylor’s gonna find a spot on the 53 man roster.

  • Lukeskywalker88

    I’m excited to see what Bostick and Lyerla can do. IDK much about Rodgers, and Quarless seems to be solid, reliable, and unspectacular, but maybe now that he’s more experienced and more removed from his knee injury he can be something special.

  • Tim Ernst

    Rodgers’ upside is definitely NOT his athleticism or burst off of the line. He has shown very little of either. His upside lies in his positional flexibility and his polish as a receiver. But don’t mistake him for a high ceiling guy like Jimmy Graham. Jimmy ran a 4.53 as a 6’7 monster. Rodgers ran a 4.87 as a 6’4 tweener.

  • Peter Maiz

    Rodgers upside is in the 2nd year. He is not a blocker and I don’t see him starting a single game. I think he’ll go the way of the practice squad. By September, Green Bay should know if they’ll keep Lyerla. Had TT known he was getting Lyerla, I don’t see he would have picked Rodgers. In the meantime, they will use Quarless at TE and use Lyerla intermittingly until he can fill in Quarless’ shoes. However, it’s still a mystery, given Lyerla’s issues.

  • Peter Maiz

    The best option is to bring Finley back if the Patriots won’t take him. I don’t see how he can pass on the 10,000,000$, especially if his new contract involved a one year deal.

    • Phillip

      Well because he can continue to pay his insurance policy, its not gonna cacel on him just because his career don’t end tomorrow. He’ll continue to pay and if his career ends next year cause of injury he’ll still have the 10 mil policy to fall back on. Also, after being cleared I bet that’s gonna make it hard to collect now, obviously he’s gonna have to meet certain criterias, doubt he can just say he’s gonna retire and collect, collecting insurance money is never that easy, insurance company is gonna put all the things in it they can to protect against paying it out, Finleys probably gonna have to do a lot to prove his career ends because of injury. And after he plays out the 1 year prove it deal, where he’s still likely to make 4 or 5 mil, he’ll be able to cash in on a 4 year deal worth far more than 10.

  • Patrick

    Point taken Tim, I respect your opinion. Nick that seems legit, but I have a good feeling about Bostick, as I agree with Phillip’s take. Peter, I think we are in agreement that Quarless is dependable but not really yet shown he can take his game to the next level. But maybe he can, time will tell. Like I mentioned earlier, Bostick could be alright. And Lyerla, despite his missteps off the field he seems like a guy you want to root for. The ceiling for his on field potential is very high.

  • Jimmy Ryan

    I think Taylor is the odd man out. Lyerla is going to see the field this year, maybe not a lot at first, but more as the season wears on and Rodgers hits him on a few seam routes for big gains down the middle. The thing that concerns me is WHO Quarless had his “Big Games” against. The Cowboys who had the worst or one of the worst defenses in the NFL and Atlanta. Against SF in the playoffs Quarless AND Boykin combined for 1 catch for 8 yards. I like Quarless, hell the Packers won a SB with him. I just think if one of these guys jumps out it will be Lyerla. That vertical and 40 time will go well with Rodgers arm.