Arkansas Razorbacks tight endHunter Henry
(84). Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Future Draft Need: Tight End
The Packers clearly need help at tight end. It may be their thinnest position on offense. Outside of second-year man Richard Rodgers, there isn’t a lot to get excited about when it comes to this position on the Packers roster.
Even then, Rodgers has great hands and is a savvy route runner, but he lacks the athleticism and speed to stretch the middle of the field.
The Packers offense desperately needs a big target to make plays down the seam and challenge opposing safeties and inside linebackers in the passing game.
Green Bay doesn’t have anybody remotely close to a Jermichael Finley caliber on their roster, and although this player may be difficult to find, it would go a long way to at least add a player with similar physical and athletic traits to their offense next offseason.
CFB Players to Watch
Mississippi Rebels tight end Evan Engram (17) catches a pass during the first half against the Vanderbilt Commodores. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
There are three very good receiving tight ends currently in college football that may declare early for the draft in 2016. As juniors, they still have another year of eligibility, but all three look like second day picks at this point, which may be enough to entice them to take their game to the NFL following the 2015 season.
Arkansas’ Hunter Henry headlines the group. At 6-5, 253 pounds, Henry is a big target in the middle of the field. He’s already caught 21 passes for 286 yards and a touchdown this season, showcasing his ability to make plays downfield. He’s also a tough run blocker, and perhaps the most all-around tight end in college football.
Mississippi’s Evan Engram and Alabama’s O.J. Howard may be in a similar boat. They both possess tremendous athletic traits and speed for the position, but they also both underwhelm at times on gameday. They are upside picks, who could develop into dangerous offensive weapons in the NFL.
If the Packers are looking for balanced tight ends that can run block, Howard and Engram aren’t their guys, but if they’re looking for a tight end that can split out wide and create mismatches in the passing game, then they might target these two prospects in the spring.
Other TEs to Track: Nick Vannett (Ohio State) and Kyle Carter (Penn State) are decent Big Ten tight end prospects, who will most likely land in the middle rounds of the draft next spring. They both have the size and toughness desired at the position, but they may not be the receiving threats the Packers need in their offense.
East Carolina’s Bryce Williams is a sleeper to keep an eye on during the college season. He’s already one of the nation’s receiving leaders at the position this season with 38 receptions and 400 yards receiving. He uses his big 6-foot-6, 258 pound frame to box-out smaller defenders and work the middle of the field.
Next: Top CFB DLs to Watch