Three potential tight end targets for the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
If the Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst decides to use one of the team’s first-round picks on a tight end, there will be a few potential options at either No. 12 or No. 30.
Here’s a look at three tight ends the Packers could consider in the first round:
1. T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
So why would Gutekunst consider using such a high pick? Because Hockenson can be a difference-maker right away in Green Bay’s offense, whether as a receiver or a blocker. And it’s not easy to find tight ends who can do both.
Jimmy Graham doesn’t offer much as blocker, so with Marcedes Lewis set to hit free agency, Green Bay could look to add a tight end who can play that role. Hockenson can do that, but he could also be a key target for Aaron Rodgers.
With a second pick to come later in the opening round, I’d be perfectly fine with the Packers selecting Hockenson, who has the potential to make a number of big plays right away, with the 12th overall pick.
2. Noah Fant, Iowa
Another Iowa tight end to watch is Noah Fant. Fant could be an option for the Packers with their second selection on Day 1.
While Fant might not offer the same versatility as Hockenson — Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network noted in November that “Hock is comfortably a better blocker than Fant” — Fant has the talent as a receiver to become a go-to target right away.
Fant could regularly make big, game-changing plays catching passes from Aaron Rodgers. Grant Tuttle of Arrowhead Addict wrote about Fant’s impressive acceleration:
"“Perhaps my favorite attribute is Fant’s excellent burst. He can take his speed to another level very quickly. This is exhibited in his film with his ability to flat-out outrun defensive backs.”"
With 18 touchdowns in 24 games over the past two seasons, Fant would be an exciting addition to the Packers offense.
3. Irv Smith Jr., Alabama
Another tight end to consider in the first round is Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com believes Smith will be a “quality starting TE very early in his NFL career”. A combination of Smith and Jimmy Graham would be a lot of fun to watch in Green Bay.
Smith averaged 16.1 yards per reception this past season and also caught seven touchdown passes.
Some mock drafts have Smith being selected early in the second round, so it’s possible Green Bay could trade down from No. 30 and pick him on Day 2.
But considering his talent and potential to make an instant impact in Green Bay’s offense, Brian Gutekunst should seriously consider selecting Smith with the 30th pick if he’s still available.