Packers Can’t Forget Tight End in 2016 NFL Draft

The Green Bay Packers recently surprised legions of fans by signing free agent tight end Jared Cook. Many have praised the move and rightly so, but that doesn’t mean Green Bay doesn’t need to add another tight end in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Free agency can be a good way to add to your roster and in this case, Cook should fit nicely in Green Bay. He will have a Hall-of-Fame quarterback throwing to him in Aaron Rodgers and he will play on an offense where he will be the third or fourth option at best.

However, Ted Thompson shies away from free agency for a reason — it’s risky. You never quite know how players will fit into your system and because you are usually getting them in the later part of their career, you never quite know how much they have left in the tank.

When it comes to Cook, he’s 28 years old and should have plenty of tread left on the tires. At least enough for a 3-4 good seasons. Yet, the problem for the Packers is that they signed him to a one-year deal.

That can benefit both parties. If Cook unperforms, then Green Bay can let him go. But, if he excels, he’s going to command a big contract and with players like Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, David Bahktiari, J.C. Tretter, Micah Hyde and Eddie Lacy all set to be free agents, it might be hard to find money for Cook too.

That’s part of the reason why the Packers should still target a tight end in the 2016 NFL Draft and why they shouldn’t shy away from drafting one early.

Unfortunately, when it comes to tight ends, the 2016 draft is pretty weak. Only Arkansas’ Hunter Henry is being projected to be a first-round selection. The only other tight end projected two go in the first two rounds is Stanford’s Austin Hooper.

Both players are intriguing prospects and both come from run-heavy offenses, so they know how to block. Henry caught 51 passes for 739 yards last season and can play all over the field. He could be the true long-term answer at tight end for Green Bay and a favorite of Rodgers for years to come.

Hooper is another player with pass-catching skills. He can split out or play in-line. He’s tough and he’s smart and like most Stanford products, he would be ready to play right away. Hooper may not offer the long-term upside of Henry, but he has starter potential.

After those two players, the prospects are pretty thin. So if the Packers want to find their starting tight end for the next 5-10 years, there are two choices: Henry and Hooper. And in order to get one of them, they will need to spend one of their first two picks to make it happen.

Certainly, if the chance to get impact players at inside linebacker or defensive line presents itself, they should jump at. The Packers just shouldn’t be afraid to pound one Henry or Hooper if the opportunity provides itself in the first two rounds of the draft.

 

 

chris peterson

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6 Comments
James Drumheller III

My first thought was to go offense in the first round this year and get the best TE in the draft. Now I truly believe defense is the way to go and get the ILB problem solved once and for all. This is Julious Peppers last year and he wants that elusive ring which he so richly deserves.He led the team in sacks with 10 and a half at age 35. Moving Mathews back outside will make this defense so lethal at rushing the passer that barring to many serious injuries such as last year we’re Super Bowl bound. GO PACK GO!!!! Let’s bring the Lombardi Trophy back home where it belongs!!!!!!

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DannyDS

Mid to late rd TE maybe, but I don’t see any chance Thompson addresses TE before the 4th rd. Honestly, I think Cooks will be Finleyesque and re-signed, in which case TE isn’t much of a need at all. A possible developmental TE to compete w/ Backman and Henry, but thats about it. Certainly not looking for a TE as need.

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DannyDS

BTW the Packers wanted trade for Cooks and take on his 2 yrs remaining and would have preferred a 2 yr deal. If Cooks is productive and helps the offense, I have no doubt the Packers will get him back. After playing w/ a QB like Rodgers why would he be in a hurry to leave so quickly?

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chris peterson

I think he would stay but he’s not going to do it for cheap. That’s all I am saying. And yes I know they tried to trade for Cook. I’ve written that here before.

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chris peterson

Honestly, outside of QB, there isn’t a position on the field where the Packers click couldn’t use help. You are thinking way too short sided. I’m just saying if one of those guys is the best on their board they shouldn’t avoid taking them cause of Cook. Cook is solid, but he’s not an impact player. In the draft you get the best players you can. That’s it.

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