The Green Bay Packers turned over their tight end room over the last offseason. GM Brian Gutekunst said goodbye to a pair of long-time veterans in Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis and selected Luke Musgrave in the second round of the draft and Tucker Kraft in the third round. This new duo potentially gives the Packers their best pair of receiving tight ends on the roster since their Super Bowl winning season of 1996.

Packers Tight End Luke Musgrave Got Off to a Fast Start

Musgrave had a strong training camp and won the starting tight end job early in the preseason. The former Oregon State star showed the ability to get downfield. His speed made him a mismatch with linebackers and his 6’6”, 253-pound frame made him a handful for safeties.

Musgrave played the first 10 games of the season and was productive. He caught 33 passes for 341 yards and one touchdown. Musgrave showed consistency as a receiver. His pass catch rate is 73.3 percent according to

He had trouble with his footwork early in the season but that gradually improved as the season progressed and he got more comfortable with the offense.

Unfortunately for Musgrave, he suffered a lacerated kidney in the Packers victory over the Chargers. The Packers placed him on the IR, and he has yet to return to the lineup.

Tucker Kraft Took Advantage of His Opportunity

While Musgrave got off to a quick start, Kraft took a little longer to learn the offense. Kraft was making the jump from South Dakota State to the NFL, so it wasn’t a big surprise it took him a little longer to adjust to the pro game.

Initially, head coach Matt LaFleur primarily used Kraft as a blocker. He was a willing blocker but far from an elite one. He did improve a bit with each passing game.

But when Musgrave suffered his injury, Kraft assumed a bigger role in the passing offense. He now has 18 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns. His catch rate is 72 percent according to

While Musgrave is a better downfield threat, Kraft specializes in gaining yardage after the catch. This is a skill he showed off in recent weeks.

The duo has not been on the field simultaneously since Musgrave suffered his injury.

The Last Time the Packers Had a Dynamic Tight End Duo

The Packers haven’t had a pair of dangerous receiving tight ends on their roster at the same time for more than two decades.

In 1996, the Packers had two quality receiving tight ends who could make plays. The bigger downfield threat was Keith Jackson. Jackson was a four-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All Pro with Philadelphia and Miami before he joined the Packers in 1995.

In 1996, Jackson was healthy and his ability to stretch the field gave Brett Favre another vital weapon. He finished the season with 40 catches for 505 yards and 10 touchdowns which led the team. He earned Pro Bowl honors and a Super Bowl ring in his final NFL season.

His best individual effort came in the season opener in Tampa Bay when Jackson five passes for 76 yards and three touchdowns including a 51-yard score in the final minute of the half in the Packers 34-3 road win.

Jackson was complimented that year by Mark Chmura. The Boston College alum made three Pro Bowls in his career including the 1995 season. Injuries forced Chmura to miss three games in 1996 but he still caught 28 passes for 370 yards.

Chmura was more of a possession receiver than Jackson, but he had sure hands and provided Favre with a reliable third down and red zone target. He was also a better blocker than Jackson.

Having two tight ends in the lineup that had complimentary skills helped the Packers give opposing defenses a lot to think about.

The Packers Future at Tight End Looks Bright

Both Musgrave and Kraft are still developing their game and have yet to reach their full potential. But because of their size, speed and complimentary skill sets, LaFleur can utilize the duo in many different ways to create mismatches for opposing defenses.

Musgrave can get deep while Kraft can turn short passes into longer gains with his ability to run after the catch. Both tight ends have good hands and are willing and improving blockers.

Moreover, because both are rookies this season, they are under contract through the end of the 2026 season on their reasonable, entry-level contracts.

As a result, Jordan Love could be throwing to both Musgrave and Kraft for years to come. The duo still has a way to go before matching the production of Jackson and Chmura, but the potential is there for this duo to be something special.




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