We all need a break from Aaron Rodgers speculation. So, what’s the perfect distraction? More NFL Draft talk! We have a little over a month to go before the commissioner is booed across the stage on draft night. Which I might add is one of my favorite traditions in football. Whether it be Day 1 or Day 2 of the draft, I believe one of the Green Bay Packers most important draft needs is Tight End. Top TE prospects Michael Mayer and Darnell Washington are definitely high on everyone’s wish lists.
So, let’s look at the Packers current Tight End room. Yikes.
The only two Tight Ends on the roster with any type of experience are Josiah Deguara, and Tyler Davis. Together in 2022 they combined for an exciting 17 catches for 140 yards. I’m laying the sarcasm down nice and thick there.
In their defense, Deguara has shown some decent flashes in the last two seasons when he has had the opportunity. Tyler Davis has the favor of the coaching staff. Even though we haven’t quite seen it on the field, Davis has impressed the staff enough for them to still rave in his defense.
I hold some hope for Josiah Deguara to make a jump with Jordan Love at the helm. The two seemed to have a connection in cleanup time on occasion in 2022. So perhaps he makes a jump in year 4 of his career.
But make no mistake, this Tight End group needs a boost.
The Michael Mayer Hype
The Tight End out of Notre Dame has received a lot of attention. Many compare him to Rob Gronkowski who is arguably the best Tight End to play in the NFL in the last 15 years. So, of course he’s going to receive a lot of hype with that comparison.
Mayer is without a doubt like Gronk with the ball in his hands. He’s almost impossible to take down as he barrels over defenders. I bet a lot of Packer fans would call him AJ Dillon in Tight End form. But there’s one thing Mayer doesn’t have that Gronk did. Vacuum-like hands. You tossed that ball up to Gronk, he was going to get it. Mayer, he could use a little improvement.
Mayer is also a decent blocker, however, many noted that he had a tendency to whiff on blocks often.
I myself was pretty high on Mayer at first glance. However, I don’t see him being the immediate game-changer many believe. Unless Mayer falls into the late 20s or early second round, I’d prefer a different Tight End over him.
At the end of January, I reviewed upgrading the Packers Tight End position. At that point, I had felt that Washington was likely the best bet for the Packers to draft. Here we are two months later, and I feel this even stronger.
And it appears the Packers feel the same way:
Tuesday the Packers had the University of Georgia Tight End in for a pre-draft visit. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but six of the Packers pre-draft visits from last year ended up being part of the Packers draft class. So, I doubt it’s any type of smokescreen as many like to speculate.
In my honest opinion, Darnell Washington is the total package Tight End.
The Packers absolutely loved Marcedes Lewis. He’s a Tight End that could double as an extra offensive lineman when called upon. Although Lewis didn’t show this as much late in his career with Green Bay, he was a great pass-catcher during his time in Jacksonville.
Darnell Washington might as well be Marcedes Lewis Jr. He has the same blocking strengths and almost the same exact size. But Darnell Washington also has some freakish speed for his size. Washington was actually clocked just a bit quicker than Michael Mayer.
Especially given he’s 6’6 compared to 6’4, I believe Darnell Washington could be more of a “Gronk” Tight End than the proclaimed “Gronk Jr.” Michael Mayer.
Washington’s whole profile just seems to scream “Packers!” And that is why, if the Packers are going to take a Tight End in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, I believe it should be Darnell Washington.
Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.