The Green Bay Packers tight end position is certainly one to watch going into the 2023 NFL season. After several seasons with veterans Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis as their two top tight ends, Green Bay is entering the year with two rookies projected to take most of the snaps.
In the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Packers selected Luke Musgrave out of Oregon State. In the third round, they took Tucker Kraft out of South Dakota State. Musgrave had a 79.2 receiving grade per PFF and Tucker had a 76.6 receiving grade.
By comparison, Lewis had a 51.9 receiving grade and Tonyan had a 60.5 grade. In other words, the Packers upgraded mightily in the tight end position when it comes to receiving ability (blocking is another story). If Musgrave and Kraft are as good as the team believes they can be, they could do something no other tight end in the history of the NFC North has done.
Green Bay Packers Tight Ends Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft Could Be the First NFC North Tight Ends to Reach 500 Yards as a Rookie
In the entire history of the NFC North, no tight end has ever reached 500 receiving yards as a rookie. If there were ever two candidates to do it, Musgrave and Kraft are the ones to bet on. They are both entering the league in an offense that is wide open.
Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are a dynamic one-two punch at the running back position, but the wide receivers and tight ends are all either rookies or second-year players. Love mentioned earlier last week that there is no “go-to” pass catcher right now. That indicates that he will be looking to spread the field and get multiple players involved.
Perhaps the biggest key to the two achieving this milestone, however, is the quarterback himself. Rodgers frequently refused to use the middle of the field last season, which took Tonyan and Lewis out of the passing game. If Love isn’t afraid to throw in the middle, Musgrave and Kraft could both be highly successful in 2023.
Notable Green Bay Packers Tight Ends in Their Rookie Seasons
As mentioned, no NFC North tight end has ever had 500 receiving yards in their rookie season, let alone rookie Packers tight ends. For reference, here are some receiving stats from notable Packers tight ends during their rookie seasons:
- Paul Coffman- 0 catches, 0 yards, 0 touchdowns (16 games played)
- Marc Chmura- two receptions, 13 yards, 0 touchdowns
- Bubba Franks- 34 receptions, 363 yards, one touchdown
- Jermichael Finely- six receptions, 74 yards, one touchdown
- Josiah Deguara- one reception, 12 yards, 0 touchdowns (two games played)
As seen here, neither Musgrave nor Kraft have an incredibly high standard when it comes to rookie tight ends with the Packers. Hopefully they can reset the standard and raise the bar to a high level of production.
Making history in the process would be cool, too.