Packers prospect: Greg Olsen

Tight end best among peers at combine, but is worthy of first-round pick?

There is no question that the Green Bay Packers are in need of a tight end, and general manager Ted Thompson is expected to select one in the upcoming NFL Draft. But who, and which round are the big questions?

If Thompson follows in the footsteps of former Packers general manager Ron Wolf, he may go with a tight end in the first round (16th overall), just like Wolf selected Bubba Franks 14th overall in the 2000 NFL draft.

University of Miami (Fla.) tight end Greg Olsen may have vaulted himself into the first round with his strong workout Saturday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Olsen, according to insiders at the Combine, was the best performer of the day among tight ends. He was clocked at 4.51-seconds in the 40-yard dash, two tenths of a second better than the next fastest tight end and displayed soft and strong hands, according to reports.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy has made it no secret this off-season that the team must be better in the "red zone." Improvement amid the team's group of tight ends is a must. Bubba Franks appears to be on the downside of his career, and is coming off his worst season as a pro. The Packers are not expected to re-sign oft-injured David Martin. The Packers recently re-signed veteran Donald Lee to a one-year contract, but he is not projected to be the savior at the position, and neither is Zac Alcorn.

Olsen, a junior eligible who some have compared to the New York Giants and Hurricane alum Jeremy Shockey, led his team in receiving during the 2006 season. He hauled in 40 passes for 489 yards (12.2 avg.), but managed only one touchdown. He also posted two tackles on special teams, and earned First-Team All-ACC honors.

Olsen started 26 of the 33 games in which he played for the Hurricanes. He totaled 87 receptions for 1,215 yards (14.0 avg.) and six touchdowns. He also recorded four tackles (two solo).

At 6-foot-5 7/8 and 258 pounds, he certainly gives Brett Favre a big target. Can he step in and make an immediate impact in 2007? Probably not. Franks had 34 catches and one touchdown while starting 13 of 16 games as a rookie. Olsen, a former state defensive player of the year while at Wayne Hills High School in New Jersey, will have to learn how to block in Green Bay's zone-blocking scheme, and adjust to Favre. That takes time.

However, can Olsen eventually be the player that Franks was between 2001-04 when he caught 27 touchdowns, many which came when the team was inside the opponents' 5-yard line? Definitely, and that makes him worthy of a first-round selection.

Keep Olsen's name circled as a potential top pick by the Packers in the upcoming draft.

Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of and Packer Report. E-mail him at

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