Green Bay Packers

Tyler Davis Is the Forgotten Man In Green Bay's Tight End Room

Photo credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Tyler Davis is the forgotten man within the Green Bay Packers’ tight end room, partly because of his season-ending knee injury during the first preseason game last year. The Packers are also returning three second-year players at the position, all of whom had impressive rookie campaigns and should continue to improve entering Year 2.

However, nobody should overlook the impact that Davis can make this season. One of the weaker areas of the team last season was the bottom of the tight end depth chart after Luke Musgrave missed five games with a lacerated kidney he suffered during the Week 11 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Green Bay received subpar results from others who tried to fill in, including undrafted free agent Henry Pearson, a FB/TE hybrid, and former third-round pick Josiah Deguara, who is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jacksonville took Tyler Davis out of Georgia Tech in the sixth round of the 2020 draft, and the Packers signed off waivers shortly into the 2021 season. However, Davis couldn’t find much of a role on offense beyond the 1-2 duo of Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan. Still, he hauled in four receptions on five targets for 35 total yards in 14 games. Last year, Davis’ receiving stats were almost identical to his 2021 stats: four receptions on seven targets for 26 yards and a fumble.

Davis was far from a team leader in any category, but he was able to stay on the field. He played in every game after joining the Packers until his unfortunate preseason knee injury in 2023. Considering the lack of depth last season after Luke Musgrave‘s injury and Tucker Kraft missing all of OTAs and minicamp due to a torn pec, the Packers need a reliable option outside of Ben Sims. Davis totaled 121 and 174 offensive snaps in 2021 and 2022, respectively – not bad as a team’s fourth option. His familiarity with Green Bay’s playbook and scheme makes him an instant option to step into a larger role offensively at a moment’s notice.

Davis made his mark on this team by playing a key role on special teams. He logged significant snaps on all five special teams units throughout Davis’ first two seasons with the Green and Gold. During the 2021 season, Davis played 232 special teams snaps, which was good for 64% of the overall snaps on teams. That number jumped significantly during 2022 when he played 344 snaps on special teams, good for 81% of the overall snaps and No. 1 overall on the team.

He was so crucial to the unit that special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia said losing Davis would be a significant detriment to the unit’s success. “I feel like, to some degree, we lost our right hand, you know?”

Bisaccia mentioned how Davis is an exceptional special teams player due to his ability to play multiple positions. He has all the core elements — the body type, running ability, and tackling ability (double-digit tackles on teams in 2022) of a successful special teamer. With the change in kickoff rules in 2024, having a trusted and reliable player out there will be critical to keeping points off the board and winning the field-position battle.

While Green Bay’s top two tight ends, Kraft and Musgrave, are undoubtedly willing blockers, I don’t think anyone would mistake them for a modern-day Marcedes Lewis. That leaves Green Bay without a clear blocking tight end. The Packers have long valued tight ends who can contribute as blockers and have traditionally always carried a “blocking” tight end on the roster.

During Lewis’ five years in Green Bay, they often used him as a sixth offensive lineman and designed run packages to fit this formation. While Davis is no Lewis, he is a more credentialed and effective blocker than any of the other three tight ends currently on the roster. When the draft came and went without the Packers adding anyone of significance to the room (outside of the undrafted Messiah Swinson), I thought of this becoming Davis’ role within the offense.

It’s no secret Green Bay struggled in the run game last season when everyone not named Aaron Jones carried the ball, mainly due to the blocking up front and opening lanes. Getting someone like Davis back onto the field in those situations in place of Deguara and Pearson as the lead H-back or in line as a tight end will only help.

Davis can potentially be a valuable contributor for the Green Bay Packers in 2024. As a reliable blocker, core special teamer, and experienced player within this system, he’s a great resource for Matt LaFleur’s squad. He is also on a team-friendly deal, costing the Packers just over $1 million on the cap.

As he continues to develop and carve out his role on the team, Packers fans should keep an eye on him as a surprising key player. If he can reach his full potential, his addition will give Green Bay one of the best tight end rooms in the NFL, helping stabilize a shaky special teams unit. He could be a missing piece to an already dangerous offense.

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