Camp Preview: By Numbers at TE

We look at one key player, one darkhorse contender, one on the bubble and one new face, plus provide some numbers you might not know about the Packers' tight ends.

One key player: Jermichael Finley is an impossible matchup. At 6-foot-5, he's too tall for a defensive back, and he's too fast for most linebackers. He's great and he knows it — but that ego doesn't get in the way of his superb work habits. Tight ends coach Ben McAdoo would talk about Finley's passion and energy as much as his talent. As good as the Packers' offense was down the stretch last year — they averaged 27.8 points per game in their final 12 games (playoffs included) — Finley's ability to move the chains and stretch the field is practically without parallel in the entire league.

One darkhorse: Ryan Taylor played some tight end, some h-back and some linebacker for North Carolina. As a senior, he caught 36 passes, including 20 in the final three games. He wasn't drafted for his pass-catching skills, though. "What gives him a chance to make it is his play on special teams," director of college scouting John Dorsey said. "He was the special teams player of the year his last three years. He's a different type of tight end than D.J. Williams. D.J.'s value is his athleticism and ability to stretch the field and catch the ball. Ryan's value to a team is his ability to play special teams and be that all-around tight end — catcher, blocker, do all the dirty work sort of stuff. He's going to make his mark as a special teams player."

One on the bubble: Spencer Havner, with his ability to play tight end, linebacker and special teams, was a surprise release when the Packers made their final cuts last season. Havner returned at midseason, played in just one game before going on injured reserve and is the longest of long shots given the young talent at the position.

One new face: D.J. Williams is 3 inches shorter than Finley but possesses the same kind of skills. With 152 career catches at Arkansas, he's the potential steal of the draft. "What you see in guys like D.J. Williams is you see the tight end position transforming over the last couple of years," Dorsey said. "It starts with the Jermichael Finleys. They are more soft-handed receiving threats and a bigger receiver who are able to stretch the field to create mismatches. Our head coach and offensive coordinator do a great job of using guys like this. I would have thought he'd be gone by the fourth round. He's a pretty good player."

1: The yardage gained by Tom Crabtree on his one reception in the Super Bowl. It was a big one, though. Had he not made that diving catch on the Packers' last scoring drive, the Steelers would have taken the ball with about 2:45 remaining with one timeout and the two-minute warning. Instead, they got the ball with 1:59 to go with just the one timeout.

7: Number of catches of 20-plus yards by Finley in his four games last season. Detroit's Brandon Pettigrew and Minnesota's Visanthe Shiancoe led NFC North tight ends in that category — with eight apiece.

21: Number of catches by Finley in the first four weeks of last season. Added up over 16 games, that would equal 84 receptions. That would have ranked second in the NFL behind Jason Witten's 94 catches for Dallas.

33: Number of catches by Packers tight ends after Finley was lost for the season on the first series of the Week 5 game at Washington.

80.8: The percentage of targeted passes (26) that Finley caught last season. That includes catching all nine passes thrown his way in the Week 3 game at Chicago. Only Colts receiver Austin Collie (81.7 percent) caught a higher percentage last season among non-running backs.

301: Number of receiving yards in four games by Finley. Added up over 16 games, that would equal 1,204 yards. Only Witten, with 1,002 yards, topped the 1,000-yard mark among tight ends.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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