Packers 2021 pre-draft preview: No need to draft a tight end

Green Bay Packers, Robert Tonyan (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Robert Tonyan (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Few positions have been added to as aggressively as tight end in recent years by the Green Bay Packers.

It’s a position they’ve regularly signed free agents at from Jared Cook to Martellus Bennett to Jimmy Graham to Marcedes Lewis. They’ve also spent third-round picks at the position in consecutive years.

Yet it was Robert Tonyan, an undrafted free agent, who was the player to finally break out as the Packers’ next star tight end.

Our last pre-draft positional preview looked at wide receiver. Today, we move onto tight end.

Free agency recap

The Packers signed Tonyan to a second-round tender this offseason as he was a restricted free agent. It means another team can agree a deal with Tonyan and sign an offer sheet, but Green Bay can match it. If not, they’d receive a second-round pick as compensation.

Green Bay also smartly re-signed veteran Marcedes Lewis to a new contract, ensuring last year’s tight end room remains the same, assuming Tonyan is back.

Need in the draft?

No. No. No.

Unless something crazy happens like Kyle Pitts falls to No. 29, the Packers don’t need to draft a tight end.

Draft outlook

Tight end has been an uncertain position for the Packers in recent years, but Tonyan’s breakout season changes things. Add in the fact Green Bay has invested a lot into the position and there’s no need to add another tight end in this year’s draft. Again, unless a potential superstar talent like Pitts falls down the board.

Tonyan is the unquestioned starter at the position after “Baby Kittle” caught 52 passes for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Lewis will also play a lot of snaps on offense as he brings so much value as a blocker.

Expect to see Josiah Deguara involved due to his versatility as he returns from a torn ACL. The Packers will also be hoping for more from third-year Jace Sternberger, who clearly has potential as a receiving tight end.