Many Questions Face Green Bay Packer Tight Ends Heading into 2022

Packers Tight Ends
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Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has been given a lot of accolades. Some of them earned, some of them not. The Packers have a very solid roster, one that should be good enough to win another NFC North title. However, many have wondered if the roster is deep enough to do just more than win an NFC North title. There are some key positions that seem pretty thin. One of those positions is the Green Bay Packers tight ends.

Green Bay Packers Tight Ends Under Fire Heading Into 2022

Much of the publicity this off-season for the Packers has centered on the wide receiver position. Many believe that Gutekunst hasn’t given quarterback Aaron Rodgers enough veteran pass catchers to work with. While Gutekunst used a second-round (Christian Watson) and fourth-round (Romeo Doubs) pick to bolster the position, nothing was done on the veteran front.

The wide receiver group does have a lot of questions, but the Green Bay Packers tight ends seem to have even more. Gutekunst might not have signed a veteran wide receiver, but he did spend draft capital on the position. The same can’t be said for the Green Bay Packers tight ends.

This off-season, Gutekunst didn’t draft or sign a free agent tight end. Instead, he will be relying on the same group he had last season. It is a risk, a big one, that might end up blowing up in the Packers face.

A Lot Hinging on Tonyan’s Health

Since Jermichael Finley suffered a career-ending injury in 2013, the Packers have been in search of a pass-catching tight end. In 2020, it appeared they found one in Robert Tonyan.

The former undrafted free agent signee had a career season in 2020. He caught 52 passes for 586 yards with 11 touchdown receptions. Tonyan became a favorite of Aaron Rodgers and gave Matt LaFleur a pass-catching option at tight end. Tonyan’s 2020 season made many believe that he was going to be the face of the Green Bay Packers tight ends for seasons to come. Unfortunately, 2021 threw a wrench into that.

Tonyan’s 2021 started off very sluggish, but it appeared as the season went along, things were starting to turn for Tonyan. Unfortunately, that is when Tonyan suffered a torn ACL. Tonyan finished the season with 18 catches for 204 yards with just two touchdown catches. The injury not only cut his 2021 season short but also has made his availability for 2022 up in the air.

With Gutekunst’s lack of moves at tight end this off-season, it will be key for Tonyan to be close to 100% when he returns.  Currently, on the roster, Tonyan is the best pass catcher of the Green Bay Packers tight ends, even if he isn’t 100%.  That illustrates two things, one, how important Tonyan is for LaFleur’s offense  The other, how weak the depth is at tight end.

Lewis Returns for his 17th Season

It seems curious why a person wouldn’t be happy to see Marcedes Lewis return for his 17th NFL season. Sure, he isn’t much of a threat (he caught 23 passes for 214 yards) as a pass-catcher anymore. But as a blocker, you aren’t going to find a better one in the NFL.

But apparently, for some daily Packers podcasters, being one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL isn’t enough. Even with those naysayers, Lewis still has a big place in the Packers offense. With David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins still recovering from injuries, Lewis will be vital for helping out whoever replaces Bakhtiari and Jenkins at left and right tackle.

What Lewis brings to the Packers offense as a blocker makes up for what he doesn’t as a pass-catcher.  Along with that, his leadership, especially with having a first-year tight ends coach John Dunn with such a weak resume, will be needed in the Green Bay Packers tight ends room this season.

Packers Think They Have Something in Davis

When Brian Gutekunst claimed that the Packers “really have something” in Tyler Davis, many checked to see if there were two Tyler Davises on the 2021 Packers roster. For those who looked, they discovered they only had one.  One that caught just four passes for 35 yards without a touchdown catch.

It seems like a curious comment by Gutekunst. Once again, it also shows how weak the Green Bay Packer tight ends depth is going into 2022. The fact that the general manager is pointing out a player who caught just four passes in a season that the Packers were without their best tight end says something.

Still, Davis might have shown something in practice that might have got Gutekunst excited.  Davis has the size, 6’4″ 252 pounds, and appears to be a good athlete. He will be given a chance to show he is “something”. Tonyan might start out the season on the PUP list and without another pass-catching option on the roster, Davis will given his chance.

2022 will be a Big Season for Deguara

There is no sugar coating it, Gutekunst and the Packers over-drafted tight end Josiah Deguara in 2020. Most NFL Draft experts believed that Deguara would be selected in the sixth or seventh round. Instead, Gutekunst spent a third-round draft choice on the University of Cincinnati product.

Deguara isn’t a true in-line tight end. In fact, he is more of an h-back/fullback. That makes his selection in the third round even more curious. But whatever the case is, Deguara is a Packer, and 2022 will be a big season for him.

His rookie season saw Deguara play in just two games before suffering a season-ending injury. In 2021, Deguara’s play was at best uneven. He finished 2021 with 25 catches for 245 yards with two touchdown receptions. He showed some limited promise. But on the flip side, he also felt the wrath of Aaron Rodgers at times because of mental lapses.

This season will be a vital one for Deguara. The Packers will need production, at tight end and h-back. Gutekunst and the Packers spent a third-round pick on him, he needs to start producing. If he doesn’t, Dominique Dafney might leap over Deguara on the depth chart. Deguara has shown he is a better special teams player than Deguara and is able to line up at multiple positions similar to Deguara.

Deguara, like with all the other returning tight ends, faces a lot of pressure heading into 2022. Without making any moves at the position, Gutekunst has put pressure on the group. But if the players fail, the blame won’t just stop with them. It will also fall on the lap of Gutekunst.