Training camp preview: Tight ends

Lee is the starter, while other four on the roster have zero NFL catches

For a position in which the starting tight end is set in stone, few positions hold as much intrigue as the Green Bay Packers open training camp today.

Donald Lee played so well in his first season as the Packers' starter that general manager Ted Thompson rewarded him with a four-year, $11.88 million contract in November. Along the way, he caught 48 passes for 575 yards and six touchdowns. He tied for 11th among NFL tight ends in catches, ninth in yards and sixth in touchdowns.

The intrigue comes behind Lee. Two-tight-end sets have been a staple in the Packers' offense for years, but there is no proven player behind Lee on the depth chart after longtime starter Bubba Franks was released and signed with the New York Jets.

Tory Humphrey entered the NFL in 2005 but has not caught a pass as a pro. He missed most of 2006 with a hamstring injury and all of 2007 with a broken leg sustained on the first day of training camp. The Packers must have kept him through all of those injuries for a reason, but will he finally stay healthy to put those skills on display?

Still, he's the front-runner to be the No. 2 tight end. No. 3 on the depth chart is rookie Jermichael Finley, who played just two seasons at Texas. At 21, he's the youngest player on the roster, and while talented, isn't anything close to a polished product.

Behind the trio are two intriguing undrafted free agents. Joey Haynos is 6-foot-8 and obviously would provide quite a target. Evan Moore is 6-foot-6 and played wide receiver at Stanford.

Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at

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