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Best & Worst Case Scenarios: Tight Ends

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Best & Worst Case Scenarios: Tight Ends

It's time for the fifth annual Best and Worst Case Scenarios for every player on the Green Bay Packers roster, a feature that goes back to the days when Railbird Central had its own domain.

I attempt to take a look at what is the very best possible season a player is capable of producing, and on the other hand, what would happen if a player fell flat on his face (without assuming they suffer a season-ending injury). These are intended to be extreme scenarios on both sides of the spectrum. More than likely, each player is going to fall somewhere in the middle, but every now and then, they just so happen to come to fruition.

As one final note, I also try to take a look at what these scenarios would be from an individual standpoint and not what's best for the team.

Jermichael Finley

  • Best-case scenario: Finley is oozing with talent, anyone can see that. As long as he stays healthy, he's able to have a season that would put him on par with some of the best statistical seasons ever put up by a tight end in the National Football League. Something in the realm of over 70 catches and approaching 1000 yards and double digit touchdowns is not out of the question. Finley was pretty much on pace for that type of season last year through four games when he had 21 catches for 301 yards and a touchdown.
  • Worst-case scenario: Even if he stays entirely healthy the entire year, Finley has a so-so season from a receiving standpoint due to all the other weapons Aaron Rodgers has at his disposal. Once Finley went down last season, Greg Jennings became Rodgers' go-to guy last year, and things kind of stay the same this year. That being said, Finley still puts up a solid season, just not an eye-popping one. Anything less than 50 catches and 700 yards would be hard to fathom if Finley can just stay healthy.

Andrew Quarless

  • Best-case scenario: Quarless isn't able to take snaps away from Jermichael Finley, but he is able to complement him. Whenever the Packers need an in-line tight end, Quarless becomes their guy, from both a blocking and a receiving perspective. He's able to modestly improve upon last year's numbers of 21 catches for 238 yards and one touchdown with somewhere around 25 catches for 350 yards and a couple scores.
  • Worst-case scenario: A number of factors lead to Quarless' demise. He's inconsistent, minor injuries continue to plague him, and perhaps the biggest factor is that the Packers see more in the rookies than they do in Quarless. In perhaps one of the more surprising moves of training camp, Quarless is released on the final roster cutdown and is claimed off waivers by another NFL team.

Tom Crabtree

  • Best-case scenario: Crabtree lives up the billing as the best blocker among all tight ends on the roster, and it allows him to see more playing time than many expect. When the Packers decide to go with only one fullback, Crabtree comes kind of the de-facto backup fullback, lining up a fair amount in the backfield, but playing in-line as well. He doesn't blow anyone away with his receiving skills, but whenever he gets the chance, he makes the most of them by almost never dropping the ball. He's able to reach double-digit receptions in the regular season and score a touchdown or two. He's also a core special teams player.
  • Worst-case scenario: Being a good blocker and special teams player isn't enough for the Packers to keep Crabtree around for 2011. He's the least effective receiving option among all the tight ends. And as far blocking goes, the upside that an Andrew Quarless or a Ryan Taylor brings to the table, makes the difference in their blocking skills almost negligible. Crabtree is remembered for helping the Packers win a Super Bowl and being an engaging media persona, but in the cruel world that is professional football, that's not enough to earn him a roster spot in 2011.

D.J. Williams

  • Best-case scenario: Because he's such a good athlete, has such good hands and is smart, the Packers find ways to get him on the field in 2011. He won't put up the same type of numbers as Jermichael Finley, but he has a pretty good season in his own right by catching 25 or so passes for more than 300 yards and a couple touchdowns, all while playing second fiddle. By also contributing on special teams, his impact on the team is viewed as very positive.
  • Worst-case scenario: Williams has so much potential, they Packers don't want to expose him to waivers because they know some other team will claim him. They find a spot for him on their 53-man roster, but because he's still pretty raw, he's usually inactive on game days and only comes by playing time very sparingly. He might add a handful of catches, but that's about all. His future is still bright, however.

Ryan Taylor

  • Best-case scenario: The Packers find they have quite a seventh-round steal on their hands in Taylor. He begins the season in a special teams role, in which he becomes one of their core players and racks but double digit tackles by the end of the year. But he just keeps developing, and by the end of the year, he's used occasionally on offense as well. He only has a dozen or so receptions, but it's enough of a building block to think that other tight ends might become expendable if he keeps it up.
  • Worst-case scenario: Special teams value alone just isn't enough to make the 53-man roster. Taylor is released on the final roster cutdown date, but is asked to be part of the Packers practice squad. If he's lucky he'll get a mid-season call-up, but if not, it will be a learning experience and he'll attempt to make the team again next year.

Spencer Havner

  • Best-case scenario: Havner might be able to make the 53-man roster if injuries happen ahead of him between now and the end of training camp. But barring an injury, he'll be cut sometime on or before Sept. 3 as he attempts to latch on with some other team in the NFL.
  • Worst-case scenario: With so much depth at the tight end position, the Packers decide they can afford to let Havner go by the first roster cutdown date to 75 players following the third preseason game.
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (5) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

CSS's picture

Going to step out onto a limb and predict Ryan Taylor gets some reps at an H-back, full-back type role before final cut-downs. He's the perfect fit. High football IQ, you can split him to either tackle spot for max pass pro, send him on routes from the full-back position or let him lead block.

The kid may be the most balanced TE on the roster right now.

ACDC84's picture

Really enjoy these articles Bryan, and the MPS Packers annual is great!

Seems like Finley's individual ceiling is much higher than 70 catches for 1000 yards. He would only need to average a little over 6 catches for 75 yards per game to go 100 for 1200 yards, and that's very possible.

norman's picture

Wow, sucks to be Spencer Havner when the best you can hope for is a teammate to be injured or being cut early enough to get picked up by another team!

Not that I'm predicting it, but I think the best case scenario for Havner is making the roster as a TE/LB combo player who can maybe play some fullback too if he has to, allowing the Packers to keep one fewer of each of these positions than they would have otherwise. Hey, can he long snap?

Chris K's picture

Aaron or Brian,
Best chance to make the team of these guys(?): OLB-Vic So'oto over Brad Jones, DE-Lawrence Guy, WR-Chastin West or Tori Gurley for 6th reciever spot?
and who do you see in the lead for the ninth OL spot of G-Schlauderaff, C/G-Dietrich-Smith(third team), or T-Chris Campbell? I know they could use more help on the inside reserves but Campbell looked reallly good b/f injury...

packeraaron's picture

I don't see So'oto over Jones after what we saw Saturday night, but you never know.

I'd be shocked if they kept a 6th WR.

And my guess is Campbell, but there's lots to play out yet in the preseason on all of this.

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