The Green Bay Packers are set to open training camp later this month. This is the next in a series of articles previewing the Packers position by position, analyzing the talent on the roster and discussing key questions that are facing the Packers as they begin preparation for the 2022 season.
Today we look at the tight ends. For our look at the quarterbacks, click here and for running backs, click here and for wide receivers click here. We will examine another position each day until the start of training camp.
- Robert Tonyan
Tonyan had a breakout season in 2020, catching 52 passes for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns. His production fell off in the first half of 2021 before he was lost for the season with a knee injury. Part of the reduction in productivity was due to increased blocking assignments when both David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins were not in the lineup.
The Packers are hoping Tonyan is ready to start the season as he is the team’s best downfield receiving threat at the position.
A solid return by Tonyan, who signed a one-year, prove-it deal to return this season, would be a big boost the offense.
- Marcedes Lewis
Lewis will be 38 this season and he’s the oldest tight end in the league. But “Big Dog” remains a tenacious blocker and a dependable pass catcher even if he no longer has the ability to stretch the field.
The former UCLA star is also a leader in the locker room and a player everybody respects and looks up to. The Packers are hoping for another productive season from the veteran who wants one more shot at winning a Super Bowl.
- Josiah Deguara
Deguara can be used in a variety of ways but is likely to see most of his action as an H-back. He is a reliable receiver although he lacks the speed to stretch the field. He is also a willing blocker who can line up at a traditional tight end spot, at fullback or at H-back.
In his second NFL season, the former University of Cincinnati star caught 25 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
Matt LaFleur loves his versatility and the team is hoping Deguara takes a step forward in his third NFL campaign.
- Dominique Dafney
Dafney saw action on special teams and played 167 offensive snaps last season, catching two passes for 34 yards.
His biggest strength is blocking and contributing on special teams. Dafney will be fighting for a job this season with the crowd at tight end on the roster.
- Tyler Davis
Davis played in 14 games last season and caught four passes for 35 yards. He also saw action on special teams.
The Packers coaching staff has been hyping Davis this offseason and feel he has the potential to play a similar role to Tonyan as a receiving tight end. The Georgia Tech alum still has to prove he can get the job done consistently at the NFL level.
All eyes will be on Davis who has a chance to carve out a bigger role for himself this summer.
- Alize Mack
Mack has bounced around the NFL since 2019 when the former Notre Dame star was drafted in the seventh round by the Saints. He has been on the practice squad with the Saints, Steelers, Chiefs and Lions but has yet to play a down in a regular season game.
This may be his last chance to prove he can be an NFL player. At 6’5” and 247, he has the size scouts covet. Special teams may be his ticket to a roster spot or even a berth on the practice squad.
- Eli Wolf
Like Mack, Wolf has bounced around the league since coming out of Georgia in 2020. He has spent stints on the Ravens and Colts practice squad but has yet to play in a regular season game.
Wolf is a long shot to make the roster but could get the attention of the coaching staff if he shows the ability to excel on special teams.
Three Key Questions
- When Will Tonyan Be Ready?
Tonyan was injured at the end of October. The coaching staff has said they believe he will be ready to start the season in September but will he be ready and if he is, will he have the same form he had before the injury?
Having Tonyan in the lineup would be a big addition for the offense and gives the team additional options and ways to throw the ball downfield.
Tonyan bet on himself by re-signing with the Packers on a one-year deal so he has every incentive to excel this season.
- Will Tyler Davis Live Up to the Hype?
The coaching staff said Davis has the potential to be a similar player to Tonyan and indeed, both were college quarterbacks who converted to tight end.
If Davis takes a step forward and can become a consistent receiving threat, it gives the Packers insurance if Tonyan struggles and add another weapon to the arsenal.
Davis looked good in OTAs but that is without contact and without pads. Now he must show what he can do in training camp and preseason games.
- How Many Tight Ends Will the Team Keep?
The Packers have usually kept four tight ends under LaFleur and they will likely keep one or two more on the practice squad. Tonyan is a lock if he’s healthy as is Lewis. Davis probably makes the roster unless he really stumbles in training camp. That leaves Dafney and Deguara fighting for one roster spot and the rest of the group on the outside looking in.
If some of the backups excel on special teams, the team could find room to keep them on the roster as Rich Bisaccia will have some say on who earns the final roster spots.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
Click here for more great Packers coverage