The Green Bay Packers came out of their first preseason game with a victory, but it didn't come without a cost. Tight end Tyler Davis tore his ACL during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals, leaving a thin position group even thinner.
The loss of Davis is a significant blow to the Packers' tight end room, as his experience and potential impact were highly anticipated for the upcoming season. While he was more of a special teams expert, the current tight end group is extremely young, so anyone with experience in the NFL is a huge asset.
With his absence, the team will need to explore options within their current roster or consider making moves in the trade or free-agent market to address this sudden gap and ensure the offense can stay productive on the football field.
The 2023 Packers are a young team with a lot of question marks in general, but perhaps no position group has more questions after the first preseason game than the tight end room.
Which of the Packers young tight ends will step up?
The roster now features a meager trio of rookie tight ends: Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft, and Austin Allen. While Josiah Deguara and Henry Pearson can both play tight end, their current listing on the Packers' depth chart as fullbacks leaves the tight end lineup looking pretty bare.
The Packers are undoubtedly eyeing external reinforcements for their tight end corps, but the pressing question is this: who will seize this opportunity to shine?
This unfortunate situation prompts the question: could undrafted rookie Austin Allen leverage this opening to secure a coveted spot on the roster? If only Marcedes Lewis had waited another week or two before signing with the Chicago Bears, I am sure Brian Gutekunst would be on the phone with his agent right now.
Will Luke Musgrave live up to the hype?
Amidst this uncertainty, all eyes are on rookie Luke Musgrave. So far, Musgrave has proven to be as advertised. Anyone who sees him in person comes away asking, "how is someone that big that fast?"
Musgrave was targeted three times and caught one pass for eight yards in the Packers' first preseason game. Quarterback Jordan Love missed Musgrave on a couple of plays that could have gone for big yardage, and maybe even a touchdown.
Musgrave has all of the ingredients of a star tight end but the looming question is this—can Musgrave and Love get on the same page and unleash Musgrave's full potential? Only time will tell.
What will Josiah Deguara's role in Packers offense be?
Third-year player Josiah Deguara recently made the transition from tight end to fullback. He was drafted in the third round of the 2020 draft and has, so far, failed to live up to expectations.
Deguara and the coaching staff may be re-thinking his transition to a new position now that Tyler Davis is out for the season. Could he step up and finally become the player the Packers were expecting when they selected him in the third round of the draft?
Maybe with a new quarterback and an open spot to fill, he will get a few more opportunities to make a name for himself on this year's squad.
To sum it up, the Packers' tight end narrative for the 2023 season depends on how new talents, experienced players, and coaching adaptations can come together. The gap left by Davis' injury is a big one.
Musgrave has a lot of promise and could bring in a new era of great tight end play, but it depends on how strong he and Love's connection can get. Deguara is also at a turning point, trying to live up to the potential the Packers saw when he was picked early in the draft.
As the Packers start this uncertain but promising season, how things go with their tight ends will have a big impact on their overall performance.