When the Green Bay Packers made the decision to trade four-time NFL MVP and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers so that Jordan Love could take over as their starting quarterback, many believed it was the beginning of a period of non-competitiveness in Green Bay.
While many still hold to the belief that the Packers will struggle this year, more and more are beginning to realize that they have as good of a chance as any NFC North team due to the relative weakness of the division and the overall weakness of the conference as a whole.
One of the reasons for optimism is the promise that Green Bay’s young pass catchers have displayed during training camp and the preseason. Most notably, tight end Luke Musgrave appears to be the best receiving option at the position that the Packers have had since JerMichael Finley.
No tight end in the history of the NFC North has ever had 500 receiving yards in their rookie season. PFF believes that Musgrave, a rookie the Packers drafted in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, will reach that mark and more.
PFF Predicts Green Bay Packers Tight End Luke Musgrave Will Flirt 1,000 Receiving Yards
In the same article in which PFF predicted that the Packers would have a top-10 defense, they said of Musgrave:
“Rookie tight ends don’t tend to get 1,000 receiving yards, even in this era of 17 games and expansive passing games. It’s happened twice,, and one of them was Mike Ditka in 1961. Musgrave likely won’t surpass 1,000 yards, but he might push it very close, judging by how the team has been deploying him in training camp and his receiving skill set.
“He has all of the physical tools, and the Packers have been using him on things like jet sweeps that typically aren’t drawn up for tight ends. Musgrave averaged 3.4 yards per route run across just two games last season at Oregon State before injury shut him down, but he looked primed for a monster year.”
The other tight end, by the way, to have 1,000 yards receiving in his rookie season was Kyle Pitts of the Atlanta Falcons in 2021.
With such a young group of pass catchers, it is yet to be seen which ones will step up to be focal points of the offense. That being said, having Love as quarterback as opposed to Rodgers does bring some benefits to players like Musgrave.
First of all, Love has spent the offseason building chemistry with his young pass catchers to make sure that they are as prepared as possible for the regular season. This means he and Musgrave already have set a foundation on which they can build this season. Rodgers infamously chose not to work with or get to know his young teammates in Green Bay.
Secondly, Love is going to be more willing to attack the middle of the field with his passes. While this may mean a few more turnovers, it also means more big plays for tight ends and slot receivers that thrive in space.
While Musgrave may not reach that 1,000 yard mark, it is highly probable he sets a NFC North record this year.