There was not much to love from the Green Bay Packers 24-22 loss to the New York Giants on Monday night. Jordan Love and the offense looked disconnected and sloppy for most of the game, Matt LaFleur and Joe Barry made numerous questionable play calls from start to finish, and the special teams continued to be among the worst in the NFL.
That being said, there were a few things that stuck out as positives for the Packers despite the loss. AJ Dillon continued to prove that he is built for late season football and that Green Bay should strongly consider giving him a second contract after the season ends. Young second-year tackles Zach Tom and Rasheed Walker also played well, showing that the future of the Packers’ offensive line is bright.
Perhaps, though, the player that stood out the most in a positive way was rookie tight end Tucker Kraft. He finished the night with four receptions and a team-leading 64 receiving yards. Additionally, Kraft played well in both run blocking and pass blocking schemes.
Of course, Kraft was not the first tight end that the Packers took in the 2023 NFL Draft. That was second round pick Luke Musgrave who was on pace to have an historic season for Green Bay before he went down with a lacerated kidney. Kraft has done an exceptional job filling in for Kraft and, perhaps, may break the infamous third round curse in Green Bay.
Could Tucker Kraft Break the Green Bay Packers’ Third Round Curse?
Now, this may be a bit of an overreaction given the fact that Kraft has only received more playing time and targets in the passing game over the last three weeks. Indeed, he is more unproven than Musgrave in terms of whether or not he will be able to be a serious weapon on offense.
That being said, Kraft’s athleticism, pass catching, and blocking have been just what the Packers needed when Musgrave went down. On the season as a whole, Kraft has 14 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. 12 of those receptions and 110 of those yards (and his lone touchdown) have all come in the last four games. Over a 17-game season, these numbers would equate to 51 receptions for 467 yards and four touchdowns.
These are not otherworldly numbers, but they would have broken the Packers’ rookie record for receptions and receiving yards for a tight end.
In other words, Kraft has been just as good as Musgrave in the passing game and arguably the better blocker in the playing time he has received.
The Green Bay Packers’ Third Round Curse
Up until Kraft was taken in the third round this past year, the Packers had missed on every third round pick they had since Morgan Burnett in 2010. The list of players Green Bay took in the third round up until 2023 includes some pretty devastating busts:
- 2011- Alex Green
- 2014- Khryi Thornton and Richard Rodgers
- 2015- Ty Montgomery
- 2016- Kyler Fackrell
- 2017- Montravius Adams
- 2018- Oren Burks
- 2019- Jace Sternberger
- 2020- Josiah Deguara
- 2021- Amari Rodgers
- 2022- Sean Rhyan
Green Bay did not have a third round pick in 2012 or 2013.
Of all the players listed above, only Rhyan and Deguara are still on the Packers’ roster. Green. None of the players listed earned a second contract with Green Bay.