May 26, 2024

The Packers’ Future At Tight End Is Here

Many experts in the NFL believe that transitioning from college to professional football is particularly challenging for tight ends, with a learning curve that rivals that of quarterbacks. Mastery of both run- and pass-blocking concepts, understanding passing-game strategies, and seamlessly transitioning between the two during audibles and line-of-scrimmage checks are essential. The Green Bay Packers began the season with Josiah Deguara, a fourth-year player, as the veteran in their tight end group, flanked by three rookies—Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft, and Ben Sims. Consequently, some rankings placed the Packers’ tight ends unit as low as 28th in the league before the season started.

Despite the ups and downs, Musgrave, Kraft, and Sims have all demonstrated potential, hinting at a bright future for the Packers’ tight end position. Musgrave initially impressed with his passing game skills and resilience in overcoming an early-season ankle injury, earning praise from Coach Matt LaFleur. Unfortunately, Musgrave has since been sidelined due to a lacerated kidney. Nevertheless, his explosiveness and toughness have endeared him to both fans and the coaching staff.

Tucker Kraft learning the ropes early in rookie season with Packers -  Mitchell Republic | News, weather, sports from Mitchell South Dakota

In Musgrave’s absence, Kraft and Sims have stepped up, showcasing their talents in recent games. Kraft executed a notable block-and-release play against the Detroit Lions, contributing to a touchdown throw by Jordan Love. Sims replicated this success with a run-pass-option play against the Chiefs, creating a favorable passing opportunity for Love.

The advantage of having multiple young players in one position is the opportunity for competitive practice reps, fostering confidence and skill development. Kraft, reflecting on his progress from Week 1, highlighted the importance of repeated practice in building confidence and execution ability.

Kraft’s growth is evident on the field, especially when comparing his early-season performance against the Bears to a recent play against the Chiefs where he effectively blocked for A.J. Dillon’s solid run gain. Sims, though perhaps overlooked by some fans due to his blocking specialization, has demonstrated his value, showcasing blocking prowess even during the preseason and contributing with a touchdown catch.

Each tight end—Musgrave, Kraft, and Sims—brings a unique skill set to the table, with Musgrave excelling as a flex tight end and passing game weapon, Kraft being a true hybrid tight end effective in both run and pass offense, and Sims primarily contributing as an inline blocking tight end. The exciting prospect lies in their complementary skill sets and the fact that they are all on rookie contracts, encouraging healthy competition and rapid development. This competition among them promises an exciting future for Packers fans.

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