The tight end is a different story. The Packers still have Donald Lee, who had a breakthrough year in 2007, plus Tory Humphrey, who was on injured reserve last year, and Ryan Krause. The Packers released longtime starter Bubba Franks this offseason and Franks signed with the New York Jets.
Like usual, general manager Ted Thompson will draft the best player on his board when it is time for the Packers to make a selection. The emphasis will be more for tight ends in this draft because of the lack of depth at the position. However, don't be surprised if Thompson selects a wide receiver as well. And it may not be a name people recognize. How many people heard of Greg Jennings (Western Michigan) or James Jones (San Jose State)? Not many, unless you went to their schools or followed their respective conferences.
Here are players that can make an impact on the team at their respective positions or on special teams. The list is more weighted on the tight end side because of the depth problems:
WR DeSean Jackson (Cal)
Round most likely selected - 1 or 2. Jackson (6-0, 180) is a dual threat at both wideout and returner. Jackson has explosive speed and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Can go get the deep balls, plus can take a wide receiver screen or a quick slant all the way to the house. Also scored six TDs via punt returns at Cal. His stock seems to be falling a little as of late, according to reports.
WR Devin Thomas (Michigan State)
Round most likely selected - 1 or 2. Thomas (6-1 1/2, 220) is a yards after-the-catch type of receiver and very dangerous when he is used on reverses. He also has outstanding kick return ability and has great size.
WR Marcus Smith (New Mexico)
Round most likely selected - 4 or 5. Smith (6-1, 215) had a very difficult 2007 season as his mother passed away. However, Smith still caught 91 passes last year, plus he has the ability to get out of his breaks quickly and has kick return ability.
TE Dustin Keller (Purdue)
Round most likely selected - 1 or 2. Keller (6-2, 250) had a GREAT combine. Not a great blocker, but he can definitely stretch the field, ala Keith Jackson. Although he is not as tall as one would like a tight end, Keller has great leaping ability. He also can run a 4.5 40 yard dash which was tops among tight ends at the combine. Keller also excelled at the combine by posting the best bench press numbers and the best broad and vertical jump numbers.
TE Fred Davis (USC)
Round most likely selected - 1 or 2. Thompson sure is interested in someone at USC. He attended their pro day earlier this month and no doubt watched Davis, who had a great senior season. Davis (6-2, 250) is a natural receiver who can seperate from defenders. Needs to improve his blocking however. The West Coast offense would be the perfect environment for him.
TE Martellus Bennett (Texas A&M)
Round most likely selected - 2 or 3. Bennett (6-7, 253) has excellent size, runs good routes and uses his size as an advantage, and improved every year he was at A&M. Bennett also has the skills and size to be an effective blocker as well. He is not a deep threat, but he has exceptional ability in the middle of the field and is tough to tackle. Would be a threat in the red zone.
TE John Carlson (Notre Dame)
Round most likely selected - 2 or 3. Carlson (6-5, 255) has gone up and down the draft boards, but is projected to be the top TE taken. He is a smart receiver who can find open seams in the secondary and can block well.
TE Jermichael Finley (Texas)
Round most likely selected - 3 or 4. Finley made waves at the combine as it was reported that the Packers seemed interested in the 6-4, 240-pound prospect. Finley is very athletic and is improving on his blocking. Finley has big play potential and he seems to make a lot of acrobatic type catches.
TE Craig Stevens (Cal)
Round most likely selected - 4 or 5. Stevens (6-3, 255) is more of a blocking TE prospect. However, he has the ability to become more of a complete TE, with more receiving potential. Stevens has a strong work ethic and was also named a captain at Cal as a junior.