Tight ends (5)
Active: Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Dominique Dafney
PS: Bronson Kaufusi
The tight end room is solid and very role-specific. Big Bob Tonyan is the team’s top pass-catching threat and didn’t record a drop last season — he could be a breakout candidate on offense. “Big Dog” is going to be the team’s blocking tight end/move tackle that helps make this offense click. Behind them is Josiah Deguara and Dominique Dafney, who are both versatile and bring mismatch opportunities and other unique wrinkles to the offense.
On the practice squad is lesser known tight end, Bronson Kaufusi. Kaufusi is a 30-year-old converted defensive lineman who has shown promise as an inline blocker. Kaufusi is worth the practice squad spot if for no other reason than developing him as a possible Marcedes Lewis replacement next season. The blocking tight end role is of great importance to this offense.
Offensive linemen (12)
Active: Elgton Jenkins, Billy Turner, Josh Myers, Royce Newman, Lucas Patrick, Dennis Kelly, Jon Runyan, Yosh Nijman, Jake Hanson
PS: Ben Braden, Cole Van Lanen, Jacob Capra
PUP: David Bakhtiari
The Packers’ offensive line is a strong unit top to bottom. When David Bakhtiari is healthy, this unit will have a chance to be elite as they begin to gel. The Packers are going to be starting two rookies (Josh Myers, Royce Newman) at center and right guard respectively. They might take their lumps early in their careers but to have drafted two preferred starters on the offensive line in the same draft is an accomplishment for the front office.
There are a plethora of depth options the team feels good about should the preferred starters sustain an injury. Lucas Patrick can play all three interior spots (assuming he returns to the bench when Bakhtiari is healthy). JRJ can play either guard spot. Yosh Nijman and Dennis Kelly will be the reserve tackles, and roster surprise Jake Hanson should be the back-up center and guard in a pinch.
Wisconsin native and Packers offensive line coach Adam Stenavich will assuredly have his players ready no matter the state of the offensive line. He’s a rising star in this league and other teams will be taking notice of the job he’s done soon enough.
On the practice squad, the Packers were able to retain the services of Ben Braden, who entering camp was competing for a starting spot. To retain Braden, who has been with the team the last two years, waiting in the wings is a luxury for the Packers. He’s likely the next man up in case of injury.
Cole Van Lanen didn’t make the initial 53 but with a year of development on the practice squad, I’d be willing to bet he’ll make it next season. Van Lanen needs to focus on playing tackle rather than moving around, because swing tackle is a very attainable role for the Wisconsin native moving forward.
Jacob Capra had a nice preseason but is a below average athlete with a project-able frame. If he can add some weight, his interior versatility could put him in position to make a push next season.