WR-Turned-TE Gets Big Chance

Brandon Bostick was a dominant receiver and former basketball player at Division II Newberry. On Sunday, he was one of two healthy tight ends, and the extra reps have given him an opening to push for a spot on the practice squad.

Brandon Bostick was a man among boys at Division II Newberry.

As a 6-foot-3, 245-pound wide receiver, Bostick was practically unstoppable. He ranks among the school leaders with 136 receptions, 1035 yards and 19 receiving touchdowns. Not only was he too big for a small-school cornerback to handle, but he was athletic enough to play on the basketball team following his junior season.

A fan of Jerry Rice as a kid, Bostick dreamed of playing receiver in the NFL. Then came his pro day.

Reality check.

"I was too big for receiver — I was around 245 — so they asked me to put on a couple pounds to play tight end and I was up for it," Bostick said on Sunday.

Not surprisingly given the position switch and level of competition, Bostick wasn't drafted and wasn't signed. He earned a tryout at the Packers' rookie camp but didn't sign then, either. Only at the end of May, during the second week of organized team activities, did Bostick get a contract.

(Interestingly, two hours after the Packers asked Bostick to sign, another team wanted him under contract.)

The transition would have been difficult even under the best of circumstances, but the timing didn't help.

"I trained all receiver (before the draft)," Bostick said. "I didn't do anything tight end until that first day of minicamp here. At first, it was pretty tough with the blocking. My coach, Jerry (Fontenot), has been working with my on my blocking every day when we do individual drills. I think my blocking's improved — definitely improved from the first game."

Now up to 253 pounds, Bostick is an intriguing developmental prospect. He ran a 4.56 at his pro day and he had a private workout for the Packers, sources told Packer Report. That kind of size and athleticism is highly coveted as tight ends increasingly are seen as potential mismatches against linebackers and safeties.

And now, he's got a golden opportunity with rosters needing to be trimmed to 53 by Friday. With five of the team's seven tight ends sitting out Sunday's practice, Bostick and Jermichael Finley got all of the reps.

With the injuries, Bostick figures to get a lot of action when the Packers close the preseason on Thursday against Kansas City. There's a good chance his NFL career depends on a strong performance.

"I don't look at it like that," downplaying the make-or-break nature of the game. "I just look at it as an opportunity to play. Everyone knows the cuts are coming so everyone is doing the best they can at not stressing over it. If you're here, you're here; if you're not, you're not. It's just reality, you know?"

Still, the injuries have opened a door to earn a spot on the practice squad and grow as a tight end. He'd be an asset on the practice squad, with the size and athletic ability to emulate the likes of Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham on the scout team.

"I don't wish injury on anybody but I guess it's football and things happen," he said. "My chance is now so I've got to make plays and hopefully they like what they see."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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